Monday, August 17, 2015

What In the World Is Going On? Culture Forcing “Unity” - But At What Cost?

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Gal.1:6-9).

I wonder how Paul’s words to the church at Galatia would be received today. Would he be embraced as a pastor or “let go” for preaching so narrow a gospel message? Would he be sought after as a guest speaker or labeled as “too closed-minded for our group”? Would he be welcomed as one who could help illuminate the Scriptures, as given by God, or dismissed as one who takes the Bible way too literally?

Paul was “amazed” (and not in a good way) that those with whom he had, personally, shared the Gospel if Jesus Christ were “so quickly deserting” (literally: departing or turning away from) the one and only God who had “called” them by grace to Jesus, the Savior. It was a remarkably short amount of time between Paul’s first proclamation of the true Gospel to the Galatians and their rejection of it.

Paul’s diagnosis of the Galatians’ problem was that they exchanged the true Gospel “for a different gospel.” And then Paul tells them (and us) that there “is really not another [gospel],” which seems so simple. Paul is telling them, “Listen, there is no other good news about forgiveness of sin and eternal life! Jesus is it!”

The same Gospel that was true back in Paul’s day is still true in our day. There really isn’t any other way to be saved from one’s sin and condemnation other than by God’s gracious calling, through personal faith and trust in Jesus’ payment for the sin of the world, through His death and resurrection.

But there were those who were “disturbing” (literally: to stir up; cause great distress) the Galatian believers and their belief in Jesus. The disturbers were those who “want to distort (literally: to change or turn about) the gospel of Christ.” In Paul’s day, the Judaizers were the one’s who were pushing for the rejection of Jesus of Nazareth and a return to the Mosaic Law.

Fast-forward about 2000 years and not much has changed. Paul’s words are as true today as they were in his day.

Within the last few decades, the cry has been for the Church to drop its rigid stance on doctrinal truths and to embrace everyone --- after all, “God loves everyone” and “who are we to judge?” The proponents of this not-too-biblical “gospel” have succeeded to a great extent in convincing their followers that “we just need to love everyone, that’s all God wants us to do. Let’s not argue over doctrine. After all, who can honestly know what the Bible really means?”

A few quick questions for that “theological” stance:
  1. If the only thing that mankind is supposed to do is to love everyone, then why are the Scriptures so wordy? God could’ve avoided a lot of confusion and time-consuming preservation of His Word by simply saying, “Accept everyone’s beliefs and don’t sweat the doctrinal stuff. All roads lead to heaven anyway.” But He didn’t say that.
  2. If ecumenism was what God had in mind, then why did He tell us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) and that “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14)?
  3. If “unity” was the main goal, then why did Jesus say “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Me”? He, most certainly, was exclusive of any, and all, “other gospels.”

What’s happening today is nothing short of “amazing” (in the same sense of the word that Paul meant it in Galatians 1:6). We’re witnessing many well-known pastors and church leaders promoting a “unity” message that is embracing the Roman Catholic Church and some of its theology including the eucharist, the papacy, and other exclusively Roman Catholic teachings and traditions. Some pastors and leaders of today’s church are inviting Islamic Imams into their pulpits in spite of the fact that Islam clearly teaches that Jesus, though considered a prophet, was not as great as Muhammad, nor was He the Savior, nor was he really crucified.

As Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatian church, there really isn’t another gospel; there really isn’t another savior; there really isn’t another way to the Father.

Galatians was written to correct a desperate situation. It was written to call the Galatian believers back from the Mosaic Law to grace, from legalism to faith. It is an emphatic statement of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone and apart from works and it is as relevant today as when it was originally penned.

Today, there are some who are “disturbing” (stirring up) the Church. There are some who are “distorting” (changing or turning about) the true Gospel of Jesus. This theology of “unity” is nothing new. It is also known as “ecumenicalism” and its premise and purpose is the same.

It’s important for us to remember what is written in Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” All that has been recorded in the Bible is true. To diminish the doctrines found in Scripture for the purpose of “unity,” (in spite of clear non-biblical teaching), is to “desert” the true Gospel and chase after a false one. It is to “disturb” the Church and create division and strife. It is to minimize the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

God’s Word is true and trustworthy, from Genesis to Revelation. Don’t let the ever-changing whims of culture or political correctness take the wind out of your sails. Don’t allow the “disturbers” to knock you off your course or to embrace “another gospel.”

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful,” (Hebrews 10:23).

By His Grace,
Dr. Gary T. Dromi