20 November 2013

Delivering a Distorted Gospel to Congress

The anti-poverty group 'Circle of Protection' has ensured that the false gospel of social justice is disseminated to all members of the U.S. Congress. The Christian Post reports:
Over the course of the 16-day-long government shutdown last month, members of the 65 denominations and relief and development agencies composing the coalition, publicly read the nearly 2,100 Bible verses pertaining to poverty and justice and vowed to reinforce the Scripture's messages to their Congressmen and women.

Beau Underwood, the Director for Campaigns and Advocacy at Christian social justice group Sojourners, said that as the government shutdown looked imminent, many of the Circle of Protection's members began discussing how Christians ought to respond to it.

"All of our organizations are non-partisan and none of us wanted to be seen as really prodding along either political party because that's not what we're called to do—we're called to be faithful witnesses in the public square—and so through those conversations arose the idea of 'What if we just stayed on message?'" Underwood told The Christian Post.

The edition of the Bible the group decided to mail to Congress members highlights each Bible verse discussing justice and poverty. It also includes a 64-page section that profiles the challenges faced by immigrants, refugees, widows, and other oppressed people to whom the Bible calls its adherents to reach out.
The 'Poverty and Justice' Bibles were donated by the American Bible Society, which "finds the edition a particularly helpful tool at reminding Christians that concern and action to help others is a central message in book." As evidenced by the American Bible Society's website for this publication, it has been endorsed by such Emerging Church leaders as Rob Bell and Shane Claiborne.

Good works may be a central part of the Christian life but without the true and saving Gospel, they are nothing (Is 64:6). How unfortunate it is that a group proclaiming to be Christian would desire to elevate a false gospel of social justice and works above the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. How sad it is that their desire would not instead be to share that true gospel with Congress—to remind those men and women that they are sinners unable to save themselves, and to tell them the good news that Jesus Christ the God-man lived the perfect life they cannot and died as the perfect, atoning sacrifice, bearing the wrath of God that men deserve and then three days later rose again demonstrating His power over sin and death.

Once a man is saved, good works flow as a natural response to that salvation. To demand that good works come prior to salvation, or worse, to insist that they come in lieu of salvation or as a means of salvation, is a false and damning gospel. It ignores the reality that no man is good (Rom 3:10) and actually denies the gospel. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that changes sinners, not legislation, not petitions, not defiance of authority.

The actions of this liberal-leaning group do not surprise, but do not let them go unnoticed. All around the Christian swirl messages of equality, justice and peace. These can be good and right in their appropriate context, but they must never overshadow the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only He brings true equality:
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:24–29)
Only Christ administers true and perfect justice as He sits
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:21–23)
And only the Lord Jesus Christ is the true Prince of Peace:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:6–7)
The social gospel sounds right and righteous to the fallen man who fears he must attain eternal life by his own good works. But it is Christ who saves, not man, no matter how noble or genuine his efforts may seem. Be faithful to preach Christ. He is the only One who will bring about true and lasting change.

Further Reading
Strangled and Burned: Remembering William Tyndale
You Cannot Sneak into Heaven without a Cross
Resting in the Immutability of God

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