Social Gospel

Part 5: Is the Spirit of Unity Biblical?

Jim Allen

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?

During Pope Francis' New Year address he said, "We belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny. This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers." [1] On unity, the Pope talked about his hope for a gospel of brotherhood to break down the barriers of division...that there is need for everyone to join in commitment to build a global society that is just and united. These are encouraging words from the Pope. They tug on the deepest longings of the heart. But, are these the words of Jesus? Did Jesus pray for all to be one in the faith or for all who believe in him to be one in faith (John 17:20-23)?

While hope in Christ and unity of the body are scriptural (Ephesians 4:3), the caution must be in whom we place that hope and what does it mean to unify. "The Bible underscores the importance of 'unity' and 'oneness.'...Unity is absolutely essential because the church is the 'body of Christ' (1 Corinthians 12:27), and a body cannot be in disunity or disharmony with itself. If disunity occurs, it essentially ceases to be a body and becomes a disjointed group of individuals. Jesus' plan for His church is for believers to unify in the faith." [2]

Pope Francis is well aware of the need for unity because without "one communal faith" global harmony is an unachievable dream. The Pope and other theologians (those who share the Pope's vision) view factions of differing faiths as the sustaining force behind division, social unrest, and the ongoing obstruction to one global faith. While it is true Jesus spoke of unity, he spoke of "unity of spirit" and never the "spirit of unity." Jesus' prayer was that the Father would give all who believe in him one spirit. There is a huge difference between the two. Jesus spoke of unity but also separation from untruth (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword to divide truth from error, right from wrong, and good from evil, light from darkness, and sheep from goats (Matthew 10:34).

Belonging to the same human family, sharing a common destiny, and joining the gospel of brotherhood are powerful images. The fruit of the appeal is persuasive. The desire to be one in community is a deep longing of the heart.

Yes, unity and good deeds are noble but to what end? Do we belong to the same human family? Do we share a common destiny? Should we seek unity in brotherhood at the cost of compromise? The answer is yes to the first and no to the second and third. In the spiritual sense, we do not share a common destiny nor can we join in social purposes for the sake of unity (2 Corinthians 6:14). Yes, we are to be Christ-like and do good works, serve one another but always as one in spirit.

To stand apart from liberal theology will not be easy. Liberals will frame the true Christian as intolerant, hateful, legalistic and guilty of practicing extremism and obstructionism. After all, was not Jesus reviled for these same things (John 15:8)?

Major players in the liberal and conservative cultures have redefined the Gospel to advance their own self-serving agendas. While liberals push social reform, conservatives fleece the flock with the promise of wealth and health and your best life now. "If history has shown anything, it is that power corrupts...and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A nation or government may kill the idea of God, but someone will take God's place. That someone is the institutions of liberal ideology that have, are, and will continue to broaden their rule over the population to maintain their privileged position at all costs." [3]

The institutions of liberal ideology are the unifying force of the social gospel. Their purpose is to fashion another Jesus without the fullness of His message (John 3:16). Layered between the strata of deception are soothing phrases of unity, global community and brotherly love. Deception always begins with a simple idea that sounds good, appears tenable, perhaps even noble, but if acted upon brings forward dire consequences to the delight of deceiving spirits. There is an old adage that says, "The devil is in the details."

"Roger Oakland writes that the gospel of Jesus Christ is under attack and in exactly the same way the Bible warned two-thousand years ago (1 Timothy 4:1). Deceiving spirits have and will continue to possess impure hearts causing many to abandon their faith to follow after new ideas promoting a bloodless gospel." [4] As a result, many of our beloved brethern (both liberal and conservative) attend churches having drunk and swallowed the cool aide of sweet deception.
Those who adhered to a social gospel sought to apply Christian ethics to social problems such as poverty, slums, poor nutrition and education, alcoholism, crime and war. These things were emphasized while the doctrines of sin, salvation, heaven and hell, and the future kingdom of God were downplayed....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, which are made up of people, 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. [5]
Establishing social justice as everyone's right using biblical principles may appear admirable and even noble. But, in reality social justice is man-centered and a Trojan horse. Social justice is filled with humanist ideas to capture and gain control over the world. To condone, justify, and enter into this error is to become one with them in error.

In closing, the words of the Pope are encouraging. He is loved and adored by many. His words are fluent and tug on a multitude of souls. It would be wonderful if the world could put away its self-serving differences to unite in one true faith. But, the Bible says that day will not come until Jesus returns (John 14:1-3; 2 Peter 3:3-10).

Next: Part 6: The End Time Gathering of Souls

1. Minneapolis Star Tribune...January 2, 2014
2. Got Questions...Church Unity
3. Got Questions...Socialism and Christianity
5. Got Questions...What is the Social Gospel?

Image credit: Time Magazine names Pope Francis 2013 "Person of the Year"

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

TagsCurrent-Issues  |  False-Teaching  |  Theological-Beliefs

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Published 1-15-14