“I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all?) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. This will be hard, you say, and I agree. But frankly, it’s not at all easy to be a follower of Jesus in many ‘Christian’ religious contexts, either.” – Brian McLaren
“…There is no need for help to enter Heaven for you have never left…sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause” (A Course in Miracles, Vol. 2, p. 179 [Sold through Willow Creek Community Church’s bookstore])
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 HCSB)
This Jesus is The stone despised by you builders, who has become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11-12 HCSB)
Brian McLaren. Rick Warren. Willow Creek Community Church. These are the “big names” in modern Christendom today. They shouldn’t be. Men and places like these do not preach the gospel the way the Bible does, and therefore they preach another gospel. Paul has words for those who preach a different gospel. He says,
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9 ESV)
The Bible seems to make it clear that those who preach a different gospel are in some serious trouble. And yet men like McLaren seem to do just that and are widely accepted on the Christian market. This should not be. Especially in light of comments such as:
“I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all?) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. This will be hard, you say, and I agree. But frankly, it’s not at all easy to be a follower of Jesus in many ‘Christian’ religious contexts, either.” (Brian McLaren)
Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. The Bible promises, ‘To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’ Will you accept God’s offer?
First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.
Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! (Rick Warren)
A gospel without the mention of sin and the consequences of it and that doesn’t call for a radical life change is no gospel presented in the Bible.
So why do I rant like this? Well, I rant because I am pissed. Modern Christianity has become much too soft. We have become much too accustomed to being politically correct. We have become much too accustomed to a Christianity that is about pushing political agendas more than it is pushing the saving gospel of Jesus the Messaiah.
What Does the Gospel Really Say?
I know what someone out there is probably thinking. Someone out there reading this is probably saying to themself, “But if what Warren shares in The Purpose Driven Life isn’t the gospel, than what is the gospel?” I am going to answer that question right here, right now. It is high time someone did so. For FAR too long we have let Christianity become a melting pot of whatever is popular and accepted in culture and whatever sounds good and makes us feel good. Christianity has never been about what makes you feel good. I don’t think Jesus was dancing and singing when people were thrashing him with whips and stabbing nails into His wrists and feet. I don’t think Jesus was thanking God for a good feeling when they shoved a crown of thorns into His forehead.
The gospel is not about what is going to make you feel good. The gospel is about the glory of God and the redeeming of particular people from damnation. Feeling good isn’t the point of getting saved.
But this may be seen as my opinion. What does the Bible say on the matter?
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and wretchedness are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10b-18 HCSB)
For starters, we’re all pretty darn messed up. Not a single one of us is good on the inside. Apart from Christ, we can help little old ladies across the street and give money to homeless people all we want, but it’s not gonna get us squat in the eyes of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t care about our good deeds that are done apart from Him. In His eyes, every bit of it is tainted with sin and we are worthy of damnation.
But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:13 HCSB)
God made a way for people to be saved though. Since man is nothing but a sinful mess, God made sure that some would be saved. He did this through something called in theological circles as election. Election, in a salvific sense, simply means God’s choosing whom He is going to save. God has been doing this all throughout redemptive history. In the Old Testament, He chose Jacob over Esau (Malachi 1:2-3). In the New Testament, He does this through divine appointment. This is best seen in the salvation of Gentiles in Acts 13:38. These elect individuals (both Jew and Gentile) became known as The Church.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV Emphasis Mine)
When Christ died, He didn’t die to pay for every single sin of every individual person. If He did, then there would be people in hell who Jesus died for. That would mean that His blood was spilt for those people in vain. Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of His church. Christ death was a final thing. It completed something. Hence why Jesus shouted from the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). On the cross Jesus completed the atonement for His church’s sins.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44 ESV)
The word in the Greek used in this verse rendered “draw” is the Greek word ἑλκύω (helkuo). This word literally means “to drag”. When God calls someone, that call is irresistible. The person is, in a sens, drug to the feet of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. God is no respector of persons, and He is not at the mercy of some supposed “free will” which we posess. He is at the mercy of only Himself and He will do whatever He wants to do and NOTHING we do can thwart that (Job 42:2).
Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. (John 6:37 HCSB)
Once you’re with Jesus, you’re there for good. He won’t cast you out. Some people will try and say that this is true, but we can run away from Him. Ya know, once we’re saved, we can run from Him. But we won’t have our salvation stripped away. We won’t be cast out of His family. Jesus has promised that those who come to Him will never be cast out. Praise God!
Evangelism in our world is tough. We live in a time when things are accepted that shouldn’t be accepted. We have a responsibility to share the truth of the Bible and not just what people want to hear. I pray that God will give us all a passion for His truth and nothing else and that we will go and share it with people who are lost and dead in their sins and going straight to hell.