Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Gospel of the Kingdom

"Like Joseph, God's put a dream in the heart of many Christians who have spent years being prepared for strategic influence in society. There are hundred-million dollar deals-in-the-making, righteous officials trying to get elected, musicians waiting to be discovered, books that need to be published, and scientific discoveries about to happen...
"In the past few years, so many have been on the verge of breakthrough, but most have just not gotten there yet! They have fought on, year after year; encountering massive resistance as they seek to pioneer in the area the Lord has called them to.

This is about to change! This is a year the Lord is releasing many into places of influence in the secular arena, and supernatural breakthrough has already begun. Supernatural promotion is coming!"
--Shawn Bolz, "The Promises of God are Finding Substance Right Now," Promo piece for TheCauseUSA's Mountain Mandate Conference Feb. 7-9, Elijah List 1/24/08 [bold in original]

The "do good" gospel talked about by Rick Warren since his recent trip to Davos (see previous post) is another name for the "Kingdom Gospel" which is rapidly displacing the Gospel of Salvation. The quotation above comes from a promo piece advertising yet another "Mountain Mandate Conference," described in mystical terms as:

The Mountain Mandate Conference is about the Marketplace and the Secret Place. In this hour, the Lord is sending us "outward" to go beyond the confines of the church to impact society. He is also calling us "inward" to go beyond the programs of the church to find Him at the deepest levels of our beings.

As we become aware of the mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory, we discover the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places. Encountering the Lord in the inward place gives us the grace and empowerment to live in love and to impact the Seven Mountains of Society (Family, the Church, Education, Arts, Media, Government and Business). [bold in original]

TheCauseUSA, sponsoring this conference, is yet another radical kingdom-building organization, associated with the New Apostolic Reformation and connected with the Kansas City Prophets.

As we watch the 7 Mountain Mandate unfolding, it is important to recognize that this is another gospel. Anton Bosch has written a brief synopsis and rebuttal to this rapidly spreading Kingdom Gospel for our readers' edification:

Recently, someone wrote in saying that we had a wrong understanding about the Gospel and implied that we are spiritually blind. The writer said: “the message of Jesus and the Apostles was the Gospel of the Kingdom, not the gospel of salvation. The gospel of salvation is only a part of the real and 'full' gospel.” [emphasis added]

This view is not that of this one writer only. He fairly represents the view of many churches and preachers today. To them salvation is only part of a bigger picture – and they are partially right. The bigger picture is the Kingdom of God. Again, they are partly right. But what do they mean by the Kingdom of God? To them it is a literal kingdom which the church is setting up here on earth so that once we have taken control and cleaned up this world and set up the “kingdom,” then Jesus will come back again.

Thus, to them, the bigger picture is transforming this world and its systems. This they try to do by gaining political and economic power. In order to achieve this goal, they believe that “Christians” need to be placed in positions of influence and authority and society needs to be transformed through social, political and economic programs.

While this all sounds very noble, it is a million miles away from the truth. The above-mentioned writer quotes the example of a church in a distant nation “that had a significant impact (on) the culture. Some of his members are in parliament, one is a leading DJ; one a beauty pageant winner; another wrote a curriculum used by the state to help alcoholics and children.” Let’s examine the “wonderful” fruit of this movement:

  1. “Some of his members are in Parliament.” Jesus and the apostles never gave a single instruction that we should take over governments. In fact Jesus makes it clear that His Kingdom is not of this world and that His servants would not defend the Kingdom on a human level (John 18:36). Both Jesus and Paul taught obedience to the state, but both were very clear that the Kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God were opposed. Paul is emphatic that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The tools of the politicians trade are rooted in power, self, ego and deception. Is this the place for a believer? I do not think so. All political systems are about a human kingdom which is always in opposition to the true Kingdom of God.
  2. “A leading DJ”: This poses a question: Is sensuality, bad music, drunkenness, drugs, sexual immorality and everything else that happens in places where DJs “perform” good, wholesome and sanctified?
  3. “A beauty pageant winner”: Once again, is the parading of sex, immodesty, seduction and the glorification of the human body evidence of the power of the “gospel”? Maybe I misunderstand Proverbs 31, but I do not see winning cattle parades as a quality of a virtuous woman. God help us!
  4. "A curriculum used by the state": has to be stripped of any reference to Jesus Christ, repentance, being born-again, etc. It is most likely a humanistic 12-step program that teaches children the psychological model rather than the spiritual truth about drunkenness.

The gospel of the kingdom replaces the Gospel of Salvation by teaching men that they can improve the human condition through psychology, positive thinking, group dynamics and spiritual-looking antics. Thus it is teaching that the solutions to sin are to be found outside of the cross. This is at the heart of the false gospel of the kingdom. It is transforming the world on a human level without the true Gospel.

But what is the Gospel of Salvation? Paul defines it thus: “I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand... that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:1-4).

The truth is that the church has no calling to change the world other than through the preaching of the Gospel. Yes, we are salt and light and we have an influence. But we do not change society by changing laws or governments. We change society, one life at a time, as people are born again and begin to be changed into the image of the Son. Anything else is superficial and does not deal with the real problem which is the sinfulness of the human heart. The true Gospel alone can do that.

If the writer had testified that former politicians, DJ’s, prostitutes and social engineers were now in the church and that they were now pursuing honest careers, then that would have been a powerful testimony! Paul testified of the Corinthians: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1Corinthians 6:11). Now that’s a testimony to the power of the Gospel of Salvation!

Furthermore, governments cannot be changed by “Christians” infiltrating positions of power. The kingdoms of this world are irredeemable and will be destroyed when Jesus comes. “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed... it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). What could be plainer than that? It is important to note that He will destroy all the other kingdoms and He will then set up His kingdom in which the faithful will rule with Him. Earthly kingdoms cannot be transformed, changed or sanctified by us. They are part of a system which has to be destroyed and replaced -- by God.

The writer says further that God “wants to redeem the entire earth in all its dimensions.” The kingdom gospel teaches that nations can be redeemed. But this is not biblical. Redemption can only be used in the context of the price that was paid on the cross. “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Peter 1:18-19). Only the saints are redeemed. The precious blood does not redeem the political, economic, social and ecological things of the earth. But rather, they will be destroyed:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2Peter 3:10-13).

That is the truth. Anything else is another gospel!

Sandy Simpson of Deception in the Church summarized the errors inherent in the false gospel of the kingdom his December 2007 newsletter:

Dominionism is taking over the churches worldwide, yet is is an extremely damaging, deceptive false teaching. Jesus Christ is establishing His Kingdom in the hearts of men now. He will establish his physical Kingdom on earth during the Millennium. Our job now is to preach the Gospel and disciple all those who believe till He comes. This does not mean we are to take over the world, save the planet, get control of the business world, Christianize everything, solve the problems of poverty, disease, education, etc. That is not our mandate. The poor we will always have with us (John 12:8). We are to help those we can but, unlike what Rick Warren and other Dominionists claim, we cannot SOLVE those problems, nor should we. That is what Jesus Christ will do when He returns and swords are beaten into plowshares (Mic. 4:3) and the leopard will lie down with the goat (Isa. 11:6). Right now the prince of the power of the air is Satan (Eph. 2:2, 2 Cor. 4:4) and we must stand (Eph. 6:13-14) and resist him (James 4:7) by proclaiming and teaching the Word of God (Phl. 1:17, 2 John 1:9). Those churches and organizations like YWAM that have bought into the Dominionist platform are living in disobedience to the Great Commission. The Gospel is not "in addition" to some other global mandate, IT IS THE CENTRAL MANDATE of every believer! Paul did not spend his time trying to take over the world. He spent his time proclaiming the Gospel. We must do the same to stay away from the sins of Globalism and Dominionism.

The Truth:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1:6-7)