But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
There Truly Is Such A Thing As Another Jesus, Another Spirit, And Another Gospel
As you may already know, the word “gospel” comes from the Old English and refers to “good news.” However, today when we speak of the Gospel of Jesus Christ it’s largely become muddied and confused within the contemporary evangelical community. Sadly, through its embrace of the sinfully ecumenical Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church—with its so-called Emergence Christianity (EC)—the mainstream of the church visible is being invaded highly subjective by Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).
It’s simply beyond question that this CSM a la Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster and his spiritual twin Dallas Willard finds its roots in apostate Roman Catholicism. As Apprising Ministries shows e.g. in Richard Foster Forming Protestant Southern Baptist Convention Spirituality no less an authority than EC guru Brian McLaren already clearly told us that Foster and Willard were “key mentors for the emerging church”1; and CSM is their shtick.
How prevelant has this CSM become? Well, it’s so penetrated mainstream evangelicalism that as far back as 2009 Rob Bell, once the Elvis of the EC, could openly preach the foolishness that mystics in every religion aka “The Great Enlightened Ones” Tell Us Man Has Divine Greatness—completely in line with e.g. New Age Priestess Marianne Williamson—and still be considered an evangelical. The point being, through this neo-liberal cult of the EC, there is now considerable debate—even in the mainstream—as to what the Gospel itself actually is.
This is a timid time filled with so many weak-willed ministers jumping headlong into the rapidly growing deceptions slithering around in the visible church, which are largely rooted in the semi-pelagian (at best) Church Growth Movement. Whether it’s the pragmatism of Southern Baptist ecumenicist Rick Warren or the pseudo-Christian spirituality of a most dubious duo of the Emergent Church, “theologian-in-residence” at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis and Fuller Theological Seminary professor Dr. Tony Jones, and his quasi-universalist “pastor” Doug Pagitt.
And because evangelicalism appears to be virtually bereft of leaders with spiritual backbone such as these are quite literally undoing the Protestant Reformation; and are more than ready to affirm the slavery and bondage of the Roman Catholic Church, with her self-righteous sacramental system of works-righteousness, as simply another Christian denomination. For example, consider the AM articles Southern Baptists Assist The Roman Catholic Church To Infiltrate Evangelicalism and Beth Moore And Her Vision Of A Roman Catholic Denomination.
The sad fact is that more and more within mainstream of largely pretending to Protestant evangelicalism will tell us that the Reformation is over. Now you may ask: “Well, has the Roman Catholic Church then altered their views on the Bible and salvation since the time of Luther and the Reformers?” As I point out from their own sources in Has The Roman Catholic Church Really Changed? the answer is absolutely not; through delusions of CSM people have simply decided to “feel” that the Reformation is over.
Beth Moore, the wildly popular Southern Baptist Bible teacher who often functions as an elder now, put it this way in her appearance on the 2006 Be Still DVD; as I showed you in Beth Moore Praises Brother Lawrence And Obscures The Reformation:
You know, one of the things that time gives us is that it erases the lines in between people so many different sections of the people of God. Because many years later it doesn’t matter any longer that this person was of this practice in the Christian faith and this person of another.
Time somehow blurs those lines and we are profoundly moved by the historical narratives of all their lives, of so great a cloud of witnesses; that we can look back on and see what kept them running the race, what kept them running toward the face of Christ at the end of that finish line.2
However, this kind of lukewarm compromise really shouldn’t come as any great surprise because the Apostle Paul warned us long ago about this kind of spiritual treachery when he wrote the text, which I used at the top of this piece, to the church at Corinth — For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
So we can see here God the Holy Spirit does warn us that there is such a thing as another gospel, and it isn’t the only warning of its kind in Scripture, so it becomes obvious that the Christian is to be on our guard about such trickery of satanic forces. Unfortunately so much of the visible church has come under Satan’s spell of a twisted type of love, peace, and tolerance (didn’t we learn anything from the 60’s) that they have simply laid the weapons of our warfare down.
And that without so much as a struggle; sad—very sad indeed. But the Lord be praised, He already anticipated this silly time of sappy sentimentality by preserving the actual Gospel for His Church right within the pages of the Bible itself. Here below, from the Apostle Paul himself, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its beautiful simplicity. The Gospel, I might add, that was faithfully preached by the Apostles and which would cost all but John their very lives to fearlessly proclaim.
The indifference today to proper Biblical doctrine, specifically here in regard to the Gospel itself, sullies the memories of our dear brothers—many of whom would pay the ultimate price for Truth—so that you and I would know this Good News. O how tragic to watch more and more leaders within the evangelical community falling one by one for the ecumenical cotton candy fluff being preached by the likes of Warren, Bell, and Steven Furtick’s Great Man Of God smilin’ Joel Osteen.
The True Apostolic Gospel Of Jesus Christ
Under the direct inspiration of God the Holy Spirit the Apostle Paul informs us:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
In the first two verses Paul tells the church in Corinth that he is about to remind them of the gospel I preached to you. Reading this in the Greek here we would understand Paul to be saying, “I would have you know.” As in “this is a very important matter this Gospel, which I preached to you.” In other words, it’s important to understand that this was not just a little friendly reminder; rather, it’s actually an exhortation that what he is to share with them again is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In stark opposition to the postmodern/postliberalism of the Emerging Church, as well as mainstream evangelicalism’s growing cavalier attitude toward the most important message ever given to mankind, Paul was telling them that this Gospel was not to be taken lightly for it is the very heart of Christianity. The Apostle wanted to make sure they understood that by this Gospel alone you are saved; as it is entirely possible for someone to believe in vain.
Paul clearly elaborated on this truth in Galatians 1:6-9. In the next two verses Paul will pass on what I also received. The words he uses here in the Greek are technical terms; ones which are also used in rabbinical writings. This is why there are many apologists and commentators who will correctly use this passage to link the Apostle Paul with very early Christian tradition concerning the fact of Christ’s literal bodily resurrection from the dead.
However, Paul is actually doing more than merely passing on an early creed of the ancient Church. Look now at Galatians 1:11-12 —For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ (emphasis added).
A careful examination of these verses shows that Paul is actually telling us that no man made up the gospel that was preached by me, and while he was most likely aware of these early creeds that were circulating among the early believers, the Apostle is also informing us that he received the Gospel personally through a revelation of Jesus Christ Himself.
In verse 3 the Apostle begins to tell us what the Apostolic Gospel was/is — that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. And that’s why it is so important to know Who Jesus Christ of Nazareth is. Not just that He died for our sins, but also that Christ is God Himself in the person of the unique (Greek: monogenes) God-Man Jesus of Nazareth (see—Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1, 14, 18).
Then in verse 4 Paul tells us Christ was buried and that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. And therein, we have the Gospel. If there was more to it e.g. some “principles” (as in Mormonism); or, some “sacraments” (as in apostae Roman Catholicism), or, “works” of any kind—here is where Paul would have included them.
You will notice however, that he did not. That’s because there are none attached to what God “finished/paid in full” (cf. John 19:30). And Paul specifically tells the church at Ephesus that there are no works involved in salvation — For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So this is the extra Good News for the regenerated Christian, it is by grace you have been saved — it’s past tense; an event which has already happened. And now we can look at 2 Corinthians 5:17 with a fuller understanding of what the Holy Spirit through Paul is actually telling us — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Can you see the really good news there; this common phrase that we often use — “born again” — is not merely some kind of a figurative statement at all. O no, it is a quite literal and glorious fact. The truth is, we don’t need emerging false prophets in this Emergence Christianity with their panentheistic at-one-ment; and we don’t need Seeker Driven Evangelephants with their people-pleasing pragmatism.
Today is a great day to spend some time in thankful adoration of the God Who loves us so much that the Lord Himself was willing to pay the unspeakably horrific price of the Cross in order that He might simply graciously give to us such a great salvation (cf. Hebrews 2:3) — repentance and the forgiveness of sins in the glorious and majestic Name of Jesus Christ. Soli Deo gloria!
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