Last week in a book review of Radical, I made a statement that author David Platt perhaps had an “overemphasis” on the ‘Great Commission’ and because of that he should have developed his idea further, giving readers direction and guidance on how to proceed in this biblical mandate. A point of clarification: in stating this as an example of ‘Great Commission’ overemphasis what I meant was that it seems a common practice these days among evangelicals to latch on to a verse in order to form support for a movement, mission, agenda, etc. This is often done to the neglect of the remainder of the Bible and as such tilts the scales in living a biblically balanced life. The ‘Great Commission’ is such an example because it is often used as a platform to promote missional agendas, social work, or political action, as we looked at yesterday in “Is Social Justice Biblical?”, and doing so can actually cause us to miss the passages meaning entirely.
In this brief video, Pastor John MacArthur provides a clear answer as to what the ‘Great Commission’ (Matthew 28:16-20) is about and how we as Christians are to implement it.
This past weekend marked the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and “coincidentally” was chosen as the weekend for Glenn Beck’s “Divine Destiny” and “Restoring Honor” public gatherings in nearly the same location as King. I’ve been warning about Beck and these meetings repeatedly on this site by defining the Political Gospel. While the population estimates for these events have ranged anywhere from a conservative 87,000 to an inflated 1,000,000 the issue here remains. This was less a political rally and more an introduction of religious ecumenism or perhaps more accurately stated interfaith pluralism. Somewhere along the last year or so Beck has transitioned himself from a political analyst/talk-show host/history buff into a religious zealot intent on using God as a platform for a political cause. As has been mentioned before, the problem with this strategy is that as a self-professing Mormon, Beck’s god is not the same God as that of the Bible. Likewise, to use politics as an avenue to draw in people of varying faiths, including Muslims and Jews whose roots can both be traced to Abraham, and link of all them to God is quite simply unbiblical. Or as one commentator stated Beck’s “conversion into a televangelist” seems more for the cause of promoting “God as a political savior.” Dr. Russell Moore, from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary offers this statement, “Too often, and for too long, American “Christianity” has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it” and describes this weekend’s events as follows:
“A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that they’ve heard the gospel, right there in the nation’s capital. The news media pronounces him the new leader of America’s Christian conservative movement, and a flock of America’s Christian conservatives have no problem with that. If you’d told me that ten years ago, I would have assumed it was from the pages of an evangelical apocalyptic novel about the end-times. But it’s not. It’s from this week’s headlines. And it is a scandal.”
Comments from Beck hide the dangers of such an unbiblical spiritual alliance, “When people came together of different faiths in the Spirit of God … the first thing they did was pray together.” This sounds great when you hear phrases like “Spirit of God” and even one speaker at the event, Pastor Paul, who declared, the “gospel of Jesus Christ should be the central focus of every settlement.” I agree, the Gospel of Jesus Christ should be the central focus, however, Mormons don’t believe in that Jesus, Jews don’t recognize Jesus as the Son of God, and Muslims believe Jesus to be a prophet, but in the middle of this crowd are the undiscerning “Christians” who think everyone is talking about the same God. One such person was interviewed by the Washington Times and offered this statement, “I’m all for everything Glenn Beck stands for — I’m for God. I believe that we as a Christian nation have dismissed Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. If we don’t get back to God in this country, then we are in big trouble.”1 And she is absolutely right we have dismissed Jesus Christ (though are far from a Christian nation), but Beck, et.al, do not recognize the same God or the same Jesus, so to follow Beck and think that everyone is talking about the same idea is pure ignorance. It all sounds great, but it’s just not truth.
Observe the following comparison:
Mormon founder Joseph Smith stated, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).
Isaiah 57:15 reads, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Additional Scripture proofs are Psalm 90:2, 102:27, 1 Timothy 1:17)
Unmistakably 2 different ideas about who God is.
Pastor Ken Silva, of Apprising Ministries, describes the “Jesus” of Mormonism as follows:
I am the Jesus Christ of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). My original Church went through a total apostasy and I took the Priesthood from the earth. In 1820 by one account—as there are nine different accounts—I appeared, with Heavenly Father, to Joseph Smith who would be the prophet to restore my Church. I told him that everything the historic Christian Church had taught was an abomination in my sight and that all who believe in those doctrines are corrupt. I am the spirit child who was born first to Heavenly Father, whose name is Elohim, and who has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.
Elohim was once a man who lived on the planet Kolob. He died and was resurrected by his father—after earning his way to godhood—as did his father before him, and so on back. Heavenly Father pro-created all of us through sexual relations with one of his celestial wives, and we are all his spirit children. I was born first; next was Lucifer, and then on down the line comes you. When the head of the gods—of which there are countless numbers—called a council of the gods I came up with a better plan of salvation than my brother Lucifer did. So I became the Savior for Heavenly Father’s children on earth. I was conceived for my earthly mission when Heavenly Father came down and had sexual relations with his daughter the Virgin Mary.
I sweat great drops of blood for your sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then on the cross I finished my work; and because of that atonement, all persons on this earth are going to be resurrected. And so now you have a chance to earn your way to becoming a god, just like me, by working the Gospel Principles taught by the Mormon Church. But be careful because my blood was not sufficient to cover some of your sins as my prophet Brigham Young once taught for me. He said, “There’s not a man or woman who violates the covenant made with their God that will not be required to pay that debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. [And y]our own blood must atone for it.”
Clearly this description is contrary to Jesus Christ the Son of the One True God who stated the “gates of Hell” would not prevail against His Church. This is not the Jesus Christ who has always been with the Father, John 1:1-3, who was a born of a virgin, Matthew 1:23, a product of Divine conception of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 1:20, made himself nothing to live as a man, Philippians 2:5-11, who endured the cross, Hebrews 12:2, to be a propitiation for our sins, 1 John 4:10, and rose again now seated at the right hand of the Father, Hebrews 1:3. Christians THIS is who Jesus is, not the “Jesus” that Glenn Beck or Mormonism proclaims. The Apostle Paul specifically warned of how easy it is for people to follow those who teach false Christ’s in 1 Corinthians 11:4, “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” This is precisely what is happening today in America and specifically at the events from this past weekend. And all who proclaim this false gospel will be accursed, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 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 1:6-9
PLEASE take time to watch the video below to see further evidence of the blurred lines that Mormons make between their religion and Christianity by Dr. James White.
If you’ve been following along with me on this blog for any time now, you’ve likely seen some posts regarding the social gospel, a wing of the Liberal Emerging/Emergent church that promotes social well-being and improving people’s lives here on earth with a dominionistic, kingdom-now philosophy. What this says is that we can establish Christ’s kingdom here on earth through a “missional” approach to meeting peoples felt needs. This is contrary to the Great Commission that Jesus laid forth to His disciples which is to go and make disciples of all nations and teaching them what Jesus commanded. Today however I want to introduce another “wing”/offshoot/ false gospel that has been cleverly masked as the real Gospel.
You may have read Liberty University: An unbiblical alliance with the world the post I wrote that covered Liberty University’s decision to invite political commentator and noted Mormon, Glenn Beck, to deliver their recent commencement speech. It was a post I took some heat for and one that quite frankly surprised me as God allowed several national websites to link and quote that post. In that post I stated:
“This announcement is further evidence of the ongoing ecumenical shift taking place within the Church body. Alliances such as these are not glorifying to God, in that what association has God with false religions? The tangential dangers when the evangelical community unites with the secular world for the sake of social or political agendas are numerous because it leads to a dilution of truths from the Word of God, opens the door to give credence to non-believers within evangelical circles and ultimately leads to the eternal destruction of lost people.”
This wasn’t limited to Liberty only, as I stated it’s exactly what is happening within the Church today among self-professing Christians. The political gospel has infiltrated and become the focus of many, many self-professing Christians and most do not even realize how harmful and dangerous it really. The political gospel plays on the emotions of concerned citizens in America but instead of simply taking a political stance, it disguises itself by using words like “God”, “faith”, even “Jesus” making it sound even more appealing to the Church. All of these are words that the undiscerning ear hears and assumes to be the truth because they “sound Christian” and because they are in fact the same words that we read in the Bible and apply in our Christian walk. However, in 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 the Apostle Paul writes:
“And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
Let’s stop and think for a minute about what Paul is saying here. Paul is continuing to write and preach the truth such that he undermines the false teachers invading the Church. He states that their claims of truth appear similar and that these false prophets would claim to have the same mission as genuine Bible teachers/ Gospel proclaimers. Paul then calls them out for who they really are, false, deceitful, and disguisers, which should come as no surprise since Satan himself disguises as an angel of light. Therefore, Paul continues, these servants of Satan also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. With that context of Paul’s letter, let’s now return our focus to the political gospel.
Many people follow political voices like Glenn Beck because they have a national platform which can appeal to the masses. When we look around and see the destructive path that this nation is on, these national voices grab our attention because they recognize the same things that we see. But instead of pointing us toward the One True Gospel of Jesus Christ, all of that gets lost in political, social, and cultural talk. When they mix in words such as those we mentioned earlier like “God”, “faith”, and “Jesus” it sounds like “church” words so they then garner our full attention and become a rallying voice for political change. But these words are a disguise, just like Paul mentioned in Corinthians and they lure our focus away from the One True God and away from trusting and relying on Him as a solution to the mess we’ve created.
Watch the following video clip from last week featuring Glenn Beck on Bill O’Reilly’s show and you’ll see what I mean.
In that video we’ve got a lot going on, but it gives a bit of insight into the motives taking place within the political gospel. What we immediately heard are the “culture war” topics like homosexual marriage and abortion. This is the first problem; the culture war is an illusion. We are in a sin war. The political gospel fails to recognize this “culture war” nonsense as sin. It is sin and it is offensive to THE Holy God. But it’s never called that because when you politicize these issues it makes them more palatable and debatable, versus saying they are sin, which sounds far too judgmental and harsh. The second problem is you heard Beck use one of our buzz words from earlier, “faith”. Only listen to his context, “general faith”, returning to our “churches, synagogues, and mosques”, and then a second of our words, “getting back to ‘God’”. Christians wake up! This is universalism. This is the classic all paths lead to God language and it is anti-Biblical. Yet these are the words that are used to lure you into following this political gospel. These other religions are false. There is only One God and He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus clearly states He is “the way truth and the life and NO MAN comes unto the Father” but by Him. But the political gospel dresses up their language to make it sound churchy. You’ll even hear them talk about Jesus, sin, and His death, but in another breath they promote a different God, a different Jesus and it is a lie and truth is not in them. You cannot believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, trust Him as Lord and Savior and then talk about Christians, Jews, and Muslims all getting back to God. That is an antithetical, or opposing, statement yet it is typical bait for the political gospel peddlers.
The third point from this video is the statement Beck makes of ignoring the “decisive things” such as gay marriage, because we have “bigger fish to fry.” Sir, I must ask what is bigger: offending an infinitely Holy God by ignoring sin or solving the financial problems of an increasing godless country? The reason to return to our churches, namely those that preach only Christ and Him crucified, is to repent of the sins that we have committed and beg God for mercy, not because “the country is burning.” On a side note, listen to 1:58 in the video where Beck offers O’Reilly “a little Jesus” in a mocking way. It’s almost as if he knows using “Jesus” is a buzz word to gain a following from the Christian community, but this cavalier, mocking usage here begins to reveal the wolf hiding under the sheepskin. The fourth and final point is the quote by Thomas Jefferson, “If it neither breaks my leg or picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?” Think about what the Apostle Paul said earlier, “And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do.” Paul was teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ while at the same time battling those who taught anything contrary to it. What if Paul had said like Jefferson that if it doesn’t hurt me or cost me money then I don’t care? This language takes the focus off of God and places it on self, typical of the man-centered political and social gospels. Instead Paul preached the message that Jesus taught of denying oneself, picking up your Roman torture device, i.e. cross, and following Him, a substantially different message than either Beck, O’Reilly, or Jefferson would state.
So what do we make of all this? First I would like to remind you that as Christians, this world is not our home. We are dual citizens, but our permanent home residence is with Christ and His Kingdom. As such, our focus should be on where we will spend eternity and not on a fallen, deceitful, and sinful world, whether that focus is America or not. Secondly, let’s address these common “church” words that we are hearing tossed around. In the verses that immediately precede those we read earlier we see Paul’s staunch warning, “But I am afraid thatas the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughtswill be led astray from asincere andpure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accepta different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 Paul is warning the Church about those who will come and preach another Jesus and a different gospel, note he says here “your thoughts will be lead astray.” Additionally, Paul writes a warning to the Church at Galatia, but steps up the intensity a bit, “I am astonished that you areso quickly desertinghim who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning toa different gospel— not that there is another one, butthere are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we oran 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.” The Apostle states even if he or any of his fellow teachers comes to preach another gospel, even if it’s an angel from heaven then let them be accursed. This gospel and this Jesus that we are hearing in the political gospel is not the same Gospel message of the Bible and it is not the same Christ Jesus the Son of God. Thirdly, why do we associate with the people that peddle this gospel? In 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 we read, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Forwhat partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Orwhat fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial?Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” What business have we following or aligning ourselves, politically or otherwise, with unbelievers? When you follow unbelievers you open yourself up to susceptibility of the lies they teach. Anything other than the truth leads to a path of destruction. That old saying is so true, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Paul’s warnings should stand as a sobering wake up to all of us today. What we hear on the left is the liberal/social gospel and what we hear on the right is the political gospel. Both are lies and both are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unless we return to the True Gospel, the One True Jesus Christ, and His Father, then this country will continue its moral slide and the visible Church will continue the path to apostasy. Wake up Christians! “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for youto wake from sleep.For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11
I Timothy 6:3-5 “If anyoneteaches a different doctrine and does not agree withthe soundwords of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teachingthat accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit andunderstands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving forcontroversy and forquarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among peoplewho are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth,imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”
Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"