Social Gospel

Part 3: Did Jesus come to be a world-changer?

Jim Allen

Part 1: Why do Christian liberals loath Christian Conservatives?
Part 2: Does Social Gospel reflect our deepest held values?

Jesus never issued any call for political change, not even by peaceful means. He did not come to earth to be a political or social reformer. The gospel Jesus preached did not have to do with social reform or social justice or political change. Rather than attempt to change governments and institutions..., Jesus came to change people's hearts and point them to God's kingdom. He preached the saving power of the gospel and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. [1]
In the spring of 2012, critics of "bible theme" productions were surprised by the popularity of The Bible miniseries aired on the History Channel. The critics were at a loss for words to explain its appeal. They did not understand how a biblical story could win over so many people. One viewer said, "It's impossible to put into words the awe-inspiring emotions I felt watching the Bible stories come to life on the screen. The attention to detail is impeccable. The acting is deeply moving. The music is breathtaking. I'm waiting with anticipation to see all the lives The Bible Series will impact. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have given the world a gift." [2]

Burnett began research for the highly rated miniseries by consulting popular theologians from many churches, all having diverse views about the Bible. One group consulted is of the emergent church that allows its enthusiasm for the "all positive church experience" to override discernment for sound doctrine. As a result, this particular movement sweeps indispensable truths about salvation under the rug. One of which, the sin nature, is a turn-off to seekers. Using creative marketing, they replace the word "sin" with seeker friendly words like "wrong choices" and "bad decisions." Burnett's choice of advisors is troubling.

My reason for "truth checking" the miniseries rested solely on Acts 17:11 wherein the Bereans examined every word spoken by Paul (2 Timothy 3:15-16). As foreseen long ago and to combat deception, Jesus inspired the apostle Paul to write, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). My unease about the miniseries surfaced when I realized Burnett's advisors were known for compromising the Gospel in their sermons, speeches, and publications.
As Christians, are we not to be gentle, forgiving, forbearing and accepting of one another? Absolutely! But in the message of the Gospel, there can be no compromise. There are at least 3 reasons why there can be no compromise on the message of the Gospel. First, the Gospel is the core of Christianity, and when it is changed, the change will affect everything else. Secondly, if another Gospel is preached, men and women cannot be saved. Finally, and most significantly, to preach another gospel is an affront to the perfect work of the Lord Jesus Christ. [3]
During the opening scene of The Bible miniseries, Noah gave an account of the seven days of creation while the ark creaked, groaned, and oozed in water from the raging flood. Noah spoke about Adam and Eve's deception and disobedience in the garden, but then implied the flood was the result of wrong choices and bad decisions by men. This scripted phrase by Noah in this particular opening scene was misleading. God destroyed the human race not because of wrong choices and bad decisions but because "every thought and intent" of the heart was evil continually (Genesis 6:5).

Frankly, to say God's judgment on mankind came from wrong choices and bad decisions is a colossal understatement (Isaiah 64:6). The miniseries skims over the wickedness of humankind in so many ways I lost count. The producers made man's depravity seem less grave than it really is; and then suggested we are all God's people. If people are led to "gloss over" their depravity in Romans 3:23 and see themselves as already the people of God, then what need is there for salvation in Romans 6:23.

The social gospel, like the miniseries, is a clever ploy to replace the true Christ with a counterfeit christ sent to redeem society and not the soul. The last three episodes in the miniseries present Jesus as a "world changer" promoting a lifestyle of trusting God and loving people minus all the heavy theology dealing with conviction, justification and sanctification. A gospel production like the miniseries that has no atoning sacrifice for sin is itself a woeful deception. While the social gospel adopted by liberals is partially correct, it too lacks the whole of the Gospel and herein the warning (Acts 20:27).

One of S. Michael Houdmann's conclusions about the miniseries brought forth this point,
...I was most disappointed that the reason for Jesus' death and the meaning of His resurrection is completely and utterly absent. The fact that Jesus' death is the atoning sacrifice for sin is not mentioned at all (1 John 2:2). The connection between the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12) and Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) is not made. The fact that Jesus' resurrection proves His victory over death and sin and guarantees a resurrected eternal life for all who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15) is nowhere to be found in the episode.
And while these omissions in the miniseries are serious, there should be no doubt as to its real source and tether to the social gospel. The social gospel is becoming one of the most powerful end-time deceptions warned about by Jesus, John, and Paul (Matthew 24:5; 2 John 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The risk hidden within this deception is that many people will be led to see their need for a lifestyle change as a way to begin making better choices and avoid bad decisions.

The truth of the matter is that God is not looking for a "life-style change." God is looking for a "heart change" that will result in a lifestyle change (Ezekiel 36:26; Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:10; Peter 1:23).

Next: Part 4: What is the power of liberal theology?

1. Read more: "What is the social gospel?"
2. "Women of Faith Celebrates The Bible Series"
3. Shawn Abigail...Another

Image credit: "The Good Shepherd"; stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales

The Social Gospel; The Series

Part 1: Why do Christian liberals loath Christian Conservatives?
Part 2: Does Social Gospel reflect our deepest held values?
Part 3: Did Jesus come to be a world-changer?
Part 4: What is the power of liberal theology?
Part 5: Is the "Spirit of Unity" Biblical?
Part 6: The End Time Gathering of Souls
Part 7: Too Bad for the Pretenders

TagsBiblical-Salvation  |  False-Teaching  |  Reviews-Critiques

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Published 1-6-14