Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Kingless Kingdom of the Social Gospel

A Kingdom Without the King

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”[1] That was H. Richard Niebuhr’s lament concerning the rise of liberal theology in early twentieth century America and the social gospel that advanced because of it—a gospelless gospel for a kingless kingdom.

According to Niebuhr, “the kingdom of God” had always been a fixture in the theology of American Christians. But the concept had become increasingly subjective as people re-defined it according to their own needs. For the earliest Protestant colonizers of America, the kingdom of God meant “the living reality of God’s present rule, not only in human spirits but also in the world of nature and of human history.”[2] That view was rooted firmly in the sovereignty of God and man’s complete inability to bring this about apart from God’s regenerative work in the hearts of men.[3] The permeating influence on the surrounding culture would come about through the evangelistic exploits and transformed lives of those already living in submission to His sovereign rule.  

For their evangelical descendants, the kingdom of God was advanced by regenerating society through faith and love. The Roman Catholics erred by identifying the church (as they understood it) to be the totality of the kingdom of God.[4] But as German liberalism crossed the Atlantic, the conversion of souls took a back seat to the conversion of a corrupt society. The liberals, with their limited focus (or sheer unbelief) in eternal life/damnation, replaced the Great Commission with a social gospel. They actually thought God needed them to bring the kingdom by transforming a society full of oppression, injustice, and inequality. They wanted to see the kingdom come through the Christian takeover of society—where they would right all the wrongs through social action and activism.
Alva McClain observes:

According to this emphasis, the Kingdom of God is the progressive social organization and improvement of mankind, in which society rather than the individual is given first place. The main task of the Church is, therefore, to establish a Christian Social Order which in turn will actually make “bad men do good things.”[5]

Pay close attention to that quote. It drives at the grave soteriological error of a social gospel informed by liberal theology. First, they do not see man as “dead in [his] trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1)[6] but rather as someone in need of “improvement.” McLain backs his argument against their denial of depravity by quoting the pioneer of Christian social activism in America, Walter Rauschenbush—“bad men do good things.”[7]  

Second, their view of the kingdom collectively rather than individually is reflected in their view of sin. As you read this paper you will notice that the social justice advocates quoted never refer to individual sins such as lying, sexual immorality, and blasphemy. They always define sin as something corporately enacted on the oppressed—institutionalized sins like racism, exploitation, pollution, not being environmentally friendly, and paying employees low wages. Thus they veer away from Christ’s atoning work as the solution for sin, and seek a remedy through social activism. McClain goes on to say:
The Kingdom of God became a “democracy” in which man and God (if there is a God!) struggled together for the social redemption of mankind. The Social Gospel thus developed may be traced back to a number of religious and philosophical tendencies: First, an unwarranted belief in the inherent goodness of man who, it is assumed, will do right if only given the right kind of social environment. Second, an almost exclusive emphasis immanence of God which  . . . proceeded to strip religion of supernatural elements, and more or less came to identify God with the “social consciousness” of humanity. Third, a politically naïve acceptance of Socialism as the best theory of government . . . by means of rigid social controls. Fourth, a critical attitude toward the Bible, highly subjective . . . as might more easily lend themselves to strictly social interpretation. Fifth, the diminishing of essential theology to an alleged universal Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.[8]
Niebuhr was accurate when he described the soteriology of the social gospel: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”[9] They were his soteriological enemies, but he also realized that they were his eschatological cousins.

The Eschatology Factor

Postmillennialism was the prevailing eschatology of the nineteenth century. It informed Christian missiology and led most churches into the twentieth century. It would take two world wars to kill off the unrealized postmillennial optimism for a world increasingly conformed to the transforming power of the gospel.

The theological liberalism that took root in America at that time, while rejecting the evangelical gospel, still held to the same eschatology, and flourished in that postmillennial climate—at least in the concept of a temporal world constantly improving under the advancement of God’s kingdom.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), widely regarded as America’s greatest Christian theologian, was famous for his thundering sermons on God’s judgment. But he anticipated that the millennium would begin in this world, around the year 2,000, before the final return of Christ. He saw this time preceding Christ’s return as an era of peace and well-being where learning and wisdom would increase. He foresaw new methods of global communication giving people more time to savor “divine things.” Religion would be the chief concern of all people and Christianity would spread far and wide. From his vantage point at mid-eighteenth century, Edwards calculated that about two hundred and fifty years were needed to convert the nations to faith in Christ.

Edwards took his calculations seriously and derived them from the following estimations: fifty years for Christianity, “in the power and purity of it,” to win over the Protestant world, fifty more years to gain the ascendancy over the Roman Catholics, a further fifty years to subdue the Islamic world and usher in the Jewish nation, and an extra hundred years to completely evangelize and convert the heathen world—250 years beyond his own lifetime.[10]
By the time of Edward’s death in 1758, post-millennialism was growing and morphing with ever-closer links to the realms of politics and nations. For the new emerging revolutionaries of that time, the antichrist was no longer the pope but rather tyrannical earthly governments (although the pope qualified for that realm as well). The Puritan preaching of New England became heavily invested in the hostile rhetoric against Britain that fanned the flames of revolution.[11]
 Edwards would have detested liberalism and their agenda of a social justice kingdom advanced by human means. But his eschatology provided the fertile soil out of which another gospel would emerge.[12] Indeed Niebuhr identified the rising social gospel strain of liberalism as the direct descendant of a postmillennial genealogy.[13]

Is the Kingdom Presently Within Us?

One of the key biblical texts that social gospel advocates appeal to is found in Luke:
Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:20–21)

Social justice advocates see the phrase as proof of the kingdom of God being a present reality indwelling God’s people. But could that be the case considering that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees whom He had elsewhere rebuked and refused entry into the kingdom (Matt 21:43; 23:13)?
While in koine Greek, entos humon does translate as “inside of you,” it often carries the meaning of “within reach.”[14] But the “in your midst” or “among you” renderings are more faithful to the surrounding context of the passage. The kingdom of God was present among the Pharisees because Christ was present among them. Also, the later passages of Luke 19:11–27 and Luke 21:31 reveal a kingdom that awaits a future arrival.

Michael Vlach explains: “Jesus’ bodily presence carries with it a presence of the kingdom. Yet there are consequences for when He leaves the earth for a while. While He is physically removed from the earth the kingdom is not present but will come in the future.”[15]  John MacArthur adds that the kingdom, in its present form, is a “spiritual dominion” and not an “earthly geopolitical realm”:
Jesus described the current state of the kingdom as intangible and invisible: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within [or among] you” (Luke 17:20–21 NKJV). He also said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36 NKJV).[16]

No Gospel, No Kingdom

Without doubt, the most devastating error of the social gospel is its eternal ramifications. Kevin DeYoung does well in articulating the heinousness of the crime:

To proclaim the inauguration of the kingdom and all the other blessings of God without telling people how they may become partakers of those blessings is to preach a nongospel. Indeed it is to preach an antigospel—bad news—because you’re simply explaining wonderful things that your sinful hearers will never have the opportunity to be a part of. The gospel of the kingdom—the broad sense of “gospel”—therefore, is not merely the proclamation of the kingdom. It is the proclamation of the kingdom together with the proclamation that people may enter it by repentance and faith in Christ.[19]

Cultural Restoration vs. Gospel Proclamation

Tony Campolo argues that Jesus first and primary message was not about sin but to inform people that “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt 4:17; Mark 1:15).[20] What is so deceitful about such a contention is that Campolo makes no mention of Jesus actually preceding that statement with the call to repentance: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). By ignoring (or concealing) such critical detail, Campolo is able to then persuade the reader further based on his own definition of God’s kingdom.

And that is exactly what he does: “God wants this kingdom to become established on earth, now! . . . God’s kingdom is a new society that Jesus wants to create in this world—within human history, not after the Second Coming or a future apocalypse or anything else. But right now.”[21]

Pay special attention to that last quote. Any lengthy reading of social gospel activists like Campolo will regularly encounter the phrase “God wants” or “Jesus wants.” Such phrases implicitly impugn God’s sovereignty by suggesting that God needs human agents to help Him bring about what He desires but cannot quite bring to pass. 

While Campolo concedes ultimate fulfillment awaits Christ’s return, he still sees God’s kingdom being expanded “through faithful servants, both inside the church and outside the church, bringing hope to the poor, liberation to the oppressed, and the creation of a new society in which love and justice reign.”[22] Campolo continues in that vein: “Remember: the whole creation is waiting for us to be instruments of God, through which it will be delivered from its present tragic condition.”[23]

If you are wondering what he meant by “faithful servants, both inside the church and outside the church,” Campolo makes it pretty obvious: “Believe it or not, U2’s lead singer Bono is using his wealth and celebrity status to do just that: increase the kingdom of God in the here and now.”[24] So, according to Campolo, not only is kingdom expansion achievable by Christians, unbelievers are also growing its territory.

Kevin DeYoung repudiates such theological delusions of grandeur. Since the kingdom of God is not yet physically present on earth it cannot be physically expanded—especially by well meaning social workers: “The kingdom isn’t geographical . . . and therefore you cannot ‘expand the kingdom’ by bringing peace and order and justice to a certain area of the world. Good deeds are good, but they don’t broaden the borders of the kingdom.”[25]

Brian McLaren tries to conceal his theological guilt by veiling his error in an endless stream of questions. But at times he overplays his hand revealing how he understands God’s kingdom and the human means by which he believes it will be established:
What if Jesus’ secret message reveals a secret plan? What if he didn’t come to start a new religion—but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world? What if his secret message had practical implications for such issues as how you live your daily life, how you earn and spend money, how you treat people of other races and religions, and how the nations of the world conduct their foreign policy? What if his message directly or indirectly addressed issues like advertising, environmentalism, terrorism, economics, sexuality, marriage, parenting, the quest for happiness and peace, and racial reconciliation?[26]
Campolo and McLaren bring nothing new to the table. They are merely echo chambers of the liberals from a century ago. 

Social Salvation vs. Individual Salvation

Reconciliation between sinful men and a Holy God, and the preaching thereof, is simply not on Jim Wallis’ radar when it comes to the core of Christianity:
It’s time to reassert and reclaim the gospel faith—especially in our public life. When we do, we discover that faith challenges the powers that be to do justice for the poor, instead of preaching a “prosperity gospel” and supporting politicians who further enrich the wealthy. We remember that faith hates violence and tries to reduce it and exerts a fundamental presumption against war, instead of justifying it in God’s name. We see that faith creates community from racial, class, and gender divisions and prefers international community over nationalist religion.[28]
Much as Wallis detests the prosperity gospel, his social version is no better. It may land him at the other end of the political spectrum, but it brings him no closer to the gospel faith that pre-occupied Jesus’ ministry—calling on sinners to repent (Matt 3:2; Mark 1:15) that they would be spared from God’s wrath (Luke 13:3, 5). Both those who are wealthy and those who are oppressed will still find themselves shut out from God’s kingdom lest they repent and believe (John 3:36).
Wallis’ delusion and hypocrisy run deeper than that as well. I say delusion because anyone with normal vision should be able to see (and smell) the hypocrisy of calling a Marxist manifesto, “God’s Politics,” while chastising his right wing opponents for their narrow claim that “God is on our side.”[30] Wallis may try to present himself as non-partisan—“God is not a Republican or a Democrat”[31]—but that veneer is already destroyed by the time he gets through his introduction.

It is highly recommended that you have an air sickness bag on hand while watching the following video:

A Trojan Horse in the Reformed Camp

Supposed bastions of Reformed theology have not been immune to its infiltration. The language may now be couched in better soteriology, but its Calvinistic uniform has served as a Trojan horse to ease its infiltration. Tim Keller pastors one of the largest non-liberal Presbyterian churches in the United States—Redeemer Church in New York City. He is a founder of The Gospel Coalition and revered by young Calvinists. But he has also garnered considerable respect in the secular world. The social justice projects of his church have won him plenty of admirers from outside the church. And Keller works hard at phrasing hard-edged biblical truths in a way that is far more socially palatable.
The question that needs to be asked is whether he rephrases, or revises, central salvific truths. In many instances I would argue for the latter. Keller’s use of the term Shalom may differ from Campolo’s “expanding the kingdom” through human effort apart from regeneration, but his description is eerily familiar:
You may find yourself longing intensely for something that your reason tells you is futile or your conscience tells you is absolutely wrong, but you can’t stop wanting it or seeking it. Then you experience an inner unraveling of psychological shalom, commonly given names like “guilt,” “being conflicted,” or “anxiety.”[36]
Conviction of sin, which produces guilt, is a central work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and unbelievers. But Keller’s quote regarding guilt sounds far more influenced by modern psychology and seems to be described in a negative light. But it is in his description of how shalom is obtained that Keller sounds most like an echo chamber of his liberal predecessors from a century earlier:

When the society disintegrates, when there is crime, poverty, and family breakdown, there is no shalom. However, when people share their resources with each other, and work together so that shared public services work, the environment is safe and beautiful, the schools educate, and the businesses flourish, then the community is experiencing shalom. When people with advantages invest them in those who have fewer, the community experiences civic prosperity or social shalom.[37]
Niebuhr’s postmillennial eschatology was not without its problems. But both he and Jonathan Edwards saw no possible advancing kingdom, or shalom, through wedding missionary endeavor with civil/governmental institutions. They desired the transformation of society but only ever saw the kingdom advancing or expanding through the advancement of the gospel. Both Keller and Russel D. Moore may well be emblematic of a growing infiltration of the social gospel into how the evangelical and Reformed movements view the kingdom of God, its timing, its scope, and the role believers should be playing in that.      

The Protest Rally that Jesus Failed to Organize

Two passages of Scripture that rarely, if ever, gets press regarding biblical arguments against the social gospel are in Matthew 11 and Luke 7 when John the Baptist, while imprisoned, sent his disciples to question Jesus over His messiahship.

If ever there was a circumstance for Jesus to enter into robust social engagement of his time, the unjust imprisonment (and imminent beheading) of John the Baptist would have been it. Jesus may have proclaimed John the Baptist to be the greatest of the Old Testament prophets (Matt 11:11), but He also sent his disciples away with a mission field report. Jesus made zero effort to visit John or seek his liberty. Jesus did not arrange for His disciples to picket the prison or make an appeal to the United Nations.

Jesus knew that both He and John were on divinely appointed timetables for martyrdom. As He would later inform Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36).

Does Matthew 25 Argue for the Social Gospel?

You would not tell your children, “Wash always; if necessary, use water.” Nor would you advise a friend, “Be a faithful husband; if necessary, love your wife.” Those redundant instructions defy logic. They also beg the question about what other means you would employ to accomplish those goals. You might as well tell someone, “Stay alive; if necessary, breath oxygen.”
And yet many Christians rally around a similarly illogical statement when it comes to evangelism. “Preach the gospel; if necessary, use words,” is a mantra that is a darling of social gospel activists. 

Tony Campolo is one of the most prominent advocates for the social gospel. His handling of Matthew 25 typifies the wider movement. While not explicitly denying the gospel of grace alone, he argues that it is our treatment of the poor and oppressed that will determine our eternity: “I place my highest priority on the words [red letters] of Jesus, emphasizing the 25th chapter of Matthew, where Jesus makes clear that on Judgment Day the defining question will be how each of us responded to those he calls ‘the least of these.’”[44]

The Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE), of which Campolo was founder and president, clearly defines who he thinks “the least of these” are:
That Jesus was homeless and taught that we may encounter Him in “the least of these”—the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, widow, stranger and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35-40), is the basis of what Tony calls the Whole Gospel and informs EAPE’s[45] holistic ministry. And it raises questions for the Church and every Christian: what should be our response to the homeless and to “the least of these”?[46]
Note Campolo’s use of the term “Whole Gospel.” He is implying that proclamation of the good news is only a partial gospel and must be accompanied by social action in order to become a complete or “whole” gospel. But his imbalanced emphasis betrays his mishandling of Matthew 25:35–40.

Works vs. Faith

The Bible repeatedly teaches that good works are ultimately God’s works because they are the natural fruit of salvation; never the cause (cf. Ezek 36:25–27; Jas 2:14–17). And in Matthew 25 you don’t see judgment based on works, you see works revealing who is truly saved by faith. John MacArthur is emphatic on this point:
The good deeds commended in Matthew 25:35–36 are the fruit, not the root, of salvation. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that they are not the basis of entrance into the kingdom. Christ will judge according to works only insofar as those works are or are not a manifestation of redemption, which the heavenly Father has foreordained. If a person has not trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, no amount of seemingly good works done in His name will avail to any spiritual benefit.[47]
Note also those who Christ condemns were actually surprised that their works did not qualify them: “When did we . . . not” (Matt 25:44).

False Faith vs. True Faith

Another critical issue in understanding Matthew 25 is to recognize that the division Christ makes is not between the church and the pagan world, but between true and false Christians. While the pagan lives in open unbelief, the false Christian is an imposter who has blended in among God’s people. False Christians are the recipients of Christ’s most terrifying judgment:
So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt 7:20–23)
Matthew 25:34–46 makes a similar division between those who have genuine faith and those whose faith is false, according to the evidence of their works. Note carefully that both groups of people think they are Christians because they address Jesus as “Lord” (Matt 25:37, 44). Both groups are also surprised by the verdict. The surprise reveals humility among Christ’s people (“when did we,” Matt 25:37–39) and self-righteousness among those who are faking it (“when did we . . . not,” Matt 25:44).

Citizens of the World vs. Citizens of the Kingdom

Finally, the beneficiaries of these good works are not the disenfranchised people of the world, as Campolo suggests. The word “brothers” (Matt 25:40) is vital to understanding where our benevolence is to be directed. Jesus is saying that the fruit of genuine faith is evidenced in the way we care for fellow believers who are suffering (cf. John 13:35; 1 John 3:10–11). MacArthur brings this point home:
The King’s addressing these people as brothers of Mine gives still further evidence that they are already children of God. . . . Because of their identity with Christ, they will often be hungry, thirsty, without decent shelter or clothing, sick, imprisoned, and alienated from the mainstream of society.[48]
This is not to deny any duty we have to love the disenfranchised people of the world. But if proponents of the social gospel were serious about Scripture, they would target passages that refer to loving our neighbors (Matt 22:39)—even loving our enemies (Matt 5:44). Christ’s words in Matthew 25 have nothing to do with the social justice being advocated by its proponents. 

Incarnational vs. Eschatological

It is after Christ’s return that this great and final judgment takes place. The heirs of the kingdom enter the kingdom of God fully prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matt 25:34) where they will live forever with the King as He reigns on the new earth over His kingdom.

Matthew 25:34–46 was never written as a blueprint for salvation through social work nor should it be employed as such. It is not an argument for preaching the gospel through our actions alone, but rather that our actions authenticate the gospel we preach. And those actions must be prioritized towards our suffering fellow believers. We must care for other believers because Jesus commanded us to. We must also realize that a lack of care may point to a lack of saving faith. And you should always preach the gospel with words because they are always necessary.

Only the King Brings His Kingdom

George Eldon Ladd rightly points out:
Jesus did not expect men to overcome evil by their own power. Nor did He conceive of a gradual conquest of evil by processes immanent within historical and societal experience. It is significant that Jesus said nothing about building the Kingdom or of His disciples bringing in the Kingdom—both being expressions which have been popular in modern theology. Evil is so radical that it can be overcome only by the mighty intervention of God.[52]
And what is that mighty intervention? Thomas Schreiner answers clearly that it all hinges on the person and work of Christ:
How is it that the eschatological promises, the promises of the kingdom, are now available for believers? Paul anchors these promises in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Justification, redemption, sanctification, reconciliation, propitiation, and defeat of the principalities and powers have been secured through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In other words, no one can enter the kingdom apart from the forgiveness of sins.[53]
__________________________________

[1] H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America (New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishers, 1937), 193.
[2] Ibid., 51.
[3] Ibid., 144.
[4] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 863–64.
[5] Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1974), 11.
[6] All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible unless noted otherwise.
[7] Walter Rauschenbush, Christianizing the Social Order (New York, NY: MacMillan Company, 1912), 127.
[8] McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom, 12.
[9] Refer to note 1.
[10] James McDermott, One Holy and Happy Society: The Public Theology of Jonathan Edwards (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University, 1992), 78.
[11] Although I would argue that if they were really serious about a revolution they would have thrown the coffee in the harbor.
[12] It is easy to be an armchair critic of Edward’s eschatology, especially with the extra 250 years of hindsight we now own. But I want the record to show that my criticisms are only for the sake of tracing the roots of the social gospel. Edwards’ burning desire for mission to all people groups cannot be esteemed highly enough and other eschatological persuasions should still be able to extend charity in recognizing the role postmillennial Christians played as pioneers in the realm of global missions.
[13] Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America, 161.
[14] Michael J. Vlach, Majestic Reign: A New Creationst Approach to the Kingdom of God (The Master’s Seminary Course Notes, Kingdom of God Class: Unpublished, 2015), 308.
[15] Ibid., 309.
[16] John MacArthur, Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told (Nashville, TN: Nelson Books, 2015), 40.
[17] Keith Essex, “The Mediatorial Kingdom and Salvation,” The Master’s Seminary Journal 23, No. 2 (Fall 2012), 221.
[18] Robert L. Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational and Non-Dispensational Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993), 101.
[19] Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011), 108.
[20] Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo, Adventures in Missing the Point (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 47.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid., 51.
[23] Ibid., 52.
[24] Ibid., 54.
[25] DeYoung and Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church?, 121.
[26] Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 4.
[27] Walter Rauschenbusch, A Theology for the Social Gospel (New York, NY: Macmillan Company, 1917), 142–43.
[28] Jim Wallis, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (New York, NY: Harper One, 2005), 4.
[29] Ibid., 6–7.
[30] Ibid., xviii.
[31] Ibid.
[32] McLaren and Campolo, Adventures in Missing the Point, 25.
[33] Ibid., 21.
[34] Brian McLaren, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World (New York, NY: Jericho Books, 2012), 157.
[35] John MacArthur, Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994), 109.
[36] Timothy Keller, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just (New York, NY: Dutton, 2010), 174.
[37] Ibid., 175.
[38] Both Keller and Moore are very conciliatory when it comes to acknowledging Roman Catholics as Christian brethren.
[39] Russell D. Moore, The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), 85.
[40] Mark Galli, “Speak the Gospel,” Christianity Today Website, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/mayweb-only/120-42.0.html (accessed October 31, 2015).
[41] Rick Warren, 40 Days of Community: Better Together Devotional: What on Earth Are We Here For? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 61.
[42] Jim Wallis, “Pope Francis’ Message for Washington,” Sojourners Website, https://sojo.net/about-us/news/pope-francis-message-washington (accessed October 31, 2015).
[43] Voddie Baucham, “You Cannot Live the Gospel,” Youtube Website. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Rd2WiYyDxs (accessed October 31, 2015).
[44] Tony Campolo, “Tony Campolo: For the Record,” Tony Campolo Website. http://tonycampolo.org/for-the-record-tony-campolo-releases-a-new-statement/#.Vg4Hbnh7DxM (accessed October 31, 2015).
[45] The EAPE has been recently re-launched as “The Campolo Center for Ministry.”
[46] Red Letter Christians, “What if the Homeless Man on the Bench Was Jesus?,” EAPE Website. http://eape.org/tag/matthew-2535-40-rich-mullins/ (accessed October 31, 2015). Red Letter Christians is another social justice group who have created a canon within the Canon by prioritizing Jesus’ spoken words in Scripture. Not only are they undermining biblical authority and inerrancy, but if they were really serious about the “Red Letters” then they would have a lot to say about hell since Jesus had so much to say on the subject. It just goes to show how little they really care for the Bible whether the letters are black or red.
[47] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 24–28 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), 122.
[48] Ibid., 124–25.
[49] Vlach, Majestic Reign, 339–40.
[50] Refer to note 1.
[51] McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom, 11.
[52] George Eldon Ladd, The Presence of the Future: The Eschatology of Biblical Realism, Revised ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1974), 333.
[53] Thomas R. Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 641–42.

4 comments:

Soldier of Kurios said...

Welcome back Cameron!! What a post!! So much to digest. I would completely agree with you on almost every note!! God's king, Jesus, gathering his people by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the arrival of the new Jerusalem!! While we wait brother, there is much fruitful labour for us do, i.e. loving those who don't yet know Christ by preaching his Gospel!!

May I caution you though, brother!! I have read and listened to much of Keller's work. Perhaps I haven't read what you said perfectly, but as far as I'm concerned, Keller preachers the gospel faithfully! He calls sinners to repent of sin and turn to Christ. I find he does it better than many! His methods tend to be tailored to people who may not be familiar with the Christian lingo. This is essentially what Jesus, Paul and Peter did. Any good teacher does this.

I'll read your post again, but in general, great stuff. Keep staying strong for Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I find it shocking that a man (who claims to be a Christian) could be so negative about social justice.

I pray for u Cameron - turn away from evil before it's too late !!

Soldier of Kurios said...

I may be starting to see what you are saying Cameron regarding Keller.

I have been reading a truck load about the poison of cultural Marxism. Keller was a student of this type of ideology. It is so prevalent; movies, books, newspapers etc.

My previous comments still stand, but I guess Keller is one to continue watching.

Anonymous said...

What a load of crap