A Mis-directed Gospel
Here is a classic example of the new horizontal, relational gospel that is replacing the true (vertical) Gospel. This type of false gospel diminishes Jesus Christ because its focus is man-centered.
A Lausanne Occasional Paper (LOP) No. 38, produced by an Issue Group (Partnership and Collaboration) at the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization hosted by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand, September 29 to October 5, 2004, “A New Vision, a New Heart, a Renewed Call,” states:
"Statement of Intent of the Issue Group participants
"When Jesus was preparing to leave this earth, a key element of His prayer in the 17th Chapter of John dealt with "unity."
"This is familiar to all of us. And our inability to fully realize Jesus' prayer is too. This is why the approach to the Partnership and Collaboration issue group had the following four statements.
"1. The gospel is first Good News of restored relationships. In this context, God considers the restored, open relationship among His people to be the primary sign of His finished work. (John
17:23, Psalm 133, etc.)."
Let us stop right here before we cite the remaining three points. These two verses are widely used to justify the new unity movement in evangelicaldom which has been in rising popularity since the 1990s. However, when one looks at John 17:23 in context, a different picture emerges.
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17:14-23)
For an excellent sermon on this topic, visit http://www.discernment-ministries.org/ArchivedNewsletters.htm and read Pastor John Marston's "True Worship" excerpts in the Nov/Dec 2004 newsletter (also available on tape). A brief excerpt states:
"True worship can only be base upon the truth of the revelation of Jesus Christ. That is why the heart's cry of the Apostle Paul was, 'That I may know him' (Phil. 3:10). The truth worshiper cries, 'O that I may know him, that I may have an intimate relationship with God.' Man was created to fellowship with his God. That fellowship was broken in Eden and ever since man has longed for God--longed to fellowship with Him. But without the knowledge and the revelation of the truth of God, worship is impossible, indeed fellowship is impossible."
The remaining three points of this LOP No. 38 are representative of the gobbledegook of neoevangelicalism which intentionally elicits guilt feelings (emotion) in order to achieve a purported goal (global church networks):
"2. The divisions in the Body of Christ are a primary roadblock to seeing major breakthroughs in world evangelization.
"3. The natural tendency of Christian ministries, organizations, institutions, etc. is toward disintegration and fragmentation. As a result, any effort seeking to encourage collaboration must be intentional and pro-active.
"4. Responding to these realities, it is a primary obligation of those committed to world evangelization to find ways to initiate and strengthen partnerships, networks and other forms of cooperation." [http://community.gospelcom.net/lcwe/assets/LOP38_IG9.pdf, page 6.]
The true Gospel is always vertical, pointing men to Christ. For some biblical sanity:
"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." (Psalm 118:8)