I agree with EvLife. You are right on target.I'm curious about whether or not my experiences with the social gospel are similar to that of anyone else here.
This is anecdotal to my experiences and not a blanket condemnation of any sort of any particular group/sect but that said...
All of my exposure to the mess that is the social gospel has been from two sources;
1 - Back in the late 80's thru the mid 90's it was pushed into the church I attended through the seeker-friendly movement, Hybels/Warren/and their ilk. It was blatant, obvious and should have been easily spotted, rooted out, confronted directly and or avoided by Bible believing Christ followers. Tragically it wasn't by far too many and it's pretty easy to see the rotten fruit of much of that movement.
2 - Much more recently I've seen it burgeon and expand through the reformed/5-pointer/preterist/replacement theology/covenant theology crowds. This seems to me to be a much more subversive approach. These folks say and do almost all of the right "churchy" things except for a few very glaring categories of omission...no alter calls, no emphasis on hell, no call for repentance, no pivotal moments of accept/believe . My opinion based on observation is that according to this position is that there's no real need for us to do practical evangelism, but rather focus on social "good". Why? Well, as I'm certain the gang here already knows, the eternal appointments have already been made. There's nothing anyone can do at anytime that makes any difference as God has already appointed some to eternal life and others to eternal damnation. This is the horrific danger of the this "small-god" theological trap.
I'll leave off commenting there. I'm really curious to see if I'm off in the dark somewhere on near the target.
Yes, yes, yes!!!! After coming out of a bad religious place as a young person, reading the bible and knowing the bible really saved me a ton of spiritual headaches! That was by God's kind grace in my life.Reading and understanding the Word of God is the best way to fight the infection in all of it's forms. While knowing the sources and dealing with individual sick theology helps, the most important protection is to READ AND KNOW THE WORD OF GOD.
This is a great post.I agree with EvLife. You are right on target.
I'm going to give you what I've seen, naming names and groups that I've watched with alarm.
Satan has a number of methods to subvert the gospel depending on the crowd he is targeting. The older mainline denominations succumbed in the late 1800's to the forerunner of the social gospel called the "higher critics" or liberal theology. The Fundamentalist movement was started to combat that decline. But the infection of the liberal theology and the so called "higher" critics of the Bible affected the seminaries and suddenly all the pulpits were preaching anything but the gospel.
Things gathered steam for years, Word of Faith started up with the roots of EW Kenyon in the early days of the last century and quickly began to infect the Pentecostal and Charismatic groups. Latter Rain came on the scene in the 40's, then followed by the Kansas City Prophets, and that theology was picked up partially by John Wimber with the Vineyard movement.
After Vineyard got going, then came the Toronto "blessing" and Lakeland Florida "revivals, and into THAT heretical seedbed, the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) under C Peter Wagner got going.
The NAR joined forces with the new Spiritual Warfare theology and hyper prayer warrior stuff launched by George Otis Jr and Cindy Jacobs and Mike Bickle's IHOP KC which was also heavily influenced by the Kansas City Prophets (a bunch of really bad people with terrible heresy)
The mainline denominations that remained conservative were easy prey for the Reform theologians, especially the "young restless and reformed" whose demographic also seemed vulnerable to the social gospel. RJ Rushdoony wrote an influential book called the Institutes of Biblical Law that appealed to a lot of Reform minded people and the Christian Reconstructionist movement was born.
The ones that weren't falling for that were invaded by the church growth movement by Bill Hybels and his wife Lynn --a big name in the pro Palestinian Christ at the Checkpoint anti Israel movement within the church, that is designed to move entire denominations into Replacement Theology where the Church replaces Israel.
And of course the Purpose Driven stuff by Rick Warren.
In Great Britain there were some other influential groups including a man called Barney Coombs who I met in Vancouver when I was in my 20's. He was leading a church there called St Margaret's where cousins of mine went who were following Barney closely. That group had some influence in what would become the Toronto Airport Vineyard "blessing". He was part of a movement of restorationists in Great Britain known as the Magnificent 7 later the Fabulous 14 who were a lot like the NAR believing themselves to be modern day apostles and prophets. I remember tracing the influence of that group because it had affected me personally and it was part of why I got into the bad church I got excommed out of in the late 90's.
There are a number of ways that Satan packages his poison for churches but the tentacles of the octopus always trace back to him.
I call it "The Infection" and it's sadly taken down many good seminaries, many good churches and the thing that remains the greatest danger is when people don't read and know their Bible.
Reading and understanding the Word of God is the best way to fight the infection in all of it's forms. While knowing the sources and dealing with individual sick theology helps, the most important protection is to READ AND KNOW THE WORD OF GOD.
Hosea warns of a lack of knowledge of God
Hosea 4:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
and if that applied to the priests of the Old Covenant, how much more does it apply to us today.
I don't mean that God would reject us, that cannot happen, He promises He won't reject a single one who comes to Him and belongs to Him. But we can be hurt by our lack of knowledge. Satan prowls like a lion seeking whom he may devour. Knowledge and understanding of the Word of God is one of our best weapons against that attack. Prayer, remaining in fellowship with like minded believers who also love God and revere His Word.
No you are not mistaken @JSTyler!
Amen!!Good to see you athenasius!
Yes, yes, yes!!!! After coming out of a bad religious place as a young person, reading the bible and knowing the bible really saved me a ton of spiritual headaches! That was by God's kind grace in my life.
It's never too late to start reading and getting more familiar with scripture. I remember feeling kind of intimidated about setting up a bible reading schedule and wondering if I would study "right", but you know, all I had to do was crack it open and ask God to help me understand. Boy, did the Holy Spirit really take over and to this day God's Word is the most satisfying and assuring thing in my life.