Monday, May 9, 2011

"Second verse, same as the first:" More Social Gospel at a Christian and Missionary Alliance assembly

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:1-4

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 7:21-23

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
John 6:28-29

One of the most insidious trends in evangelicalism in recent years has been the increasing emphasis on Christianity being defined in terms of actions rather than doctrine. In 1980 the World Council of Churches, already hopelessly apostate, defined the Kingdom of God as a social and political kingdom brought in by human effort. Fundamentalist and evangelical churches, if they were paying attention, rejected this view of the Kingdom of God, but three decades later, the evangelical churches are in about the same position that the mainline churches were earlier, and the idea that man will bring in the Kingdom of God is rapidly increasing in popularity in so-called evangelical churches.

Two years ago I posted about the assembly of the Canadian Pacific District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Langley, British Columbia, where Erwin McManus was the guest speaker and the social gospel and postmodernism was promoted. I don’t care to repeat what I said in my previous post (because it’s easier to provide a link), but it’s as relevant today as it was then. Two years later, it’s time for the next assembly of the C&MA’s Canadian Pacific District, and nothing has changed except for the guest speaker.

From the site of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Canadian Pacific District:

"Empowering and Multiplying Missional Communities"
The biennial District Conference and AGM is coming up on May 17-19, 2011!
Registration is starting for your church to send delegates!

The conference will be held in the Lower Mainland at the Langley Events Centre and at Mountainview Alliance Church.

Cost: $175/delegate
This price includes lunch and dinner on Wednesday, all sessions with our speaker and materials, as well as lunch following the AGM.

Our Guest Speaker: Hugh Halter

This year, Hugh Halter, co-author of The Tangible Kingdom will be speaking to us. His newest book "AND" speaks about what it looks like to be the Church gathered and the Church scattered. Along with being a speaker and author, Hugh is a pastor in Denver to a community called Adullam. We are looking forward to having him join us during our District Conference!

As for Hugh Halter, I don't know who he is, but I do know this...I found the following on the home page of Adullam Communities:

Adullam communities are about the transformation of individual lives, local neighborhoods, and ultimately the world. What do we mean by transformation? We believe God exists as the primary protagonist in the unfolding story of creation. Transformation is simply what describes the journey of changing our roles in the story, going from antagonists-driven mostly by personal gain- toward joining a collaborative mission of redemption as God’s fellow protagonists. In doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly together in community we believe that what’s been broken in our lives, our communities…our world, has a chance at redemption.

While we are unashamedly a community of Jesus followers we believe that transformation isn’t about going to church. Actually, in most of our experiences simply "doing church" has often been a major distraction for people, both saint and sojourner, who want to relate to God and live out the Kingdom life. When Jesus spoke of the Kingdom we believe it was an invitation to not only dream of a better world to come, but an invitation to start leaning into and living out of that new world in the here and now.

The Emergingese jargon in this passage may prompt the reader to search for an online translator, but I’ll try to render it in English in one sentence: The Kingdom of God is brought in by human effort. Check out Mr. Halter’s blog, and you’ll find scarcely a mention of the cross of Jesus Christ, and I didn’t see any mention there of His return. The true gospel is a message about what God has done, i.e., sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. As the passage in John 6 cited above says, the work of God is just to believe on the One whom He has sent. The "social gospel," which is not really a gospel at all (see Galatians 1:6-7), emphasizes what man does and must do rather than what God has done for us. Go here for more on The Tangible Kingdom and the movement behind it.

As for the idea that man can usher in the Kingdom of God, I can’t top the words of Malcolm Muggeridge:

To proclaim a kingdom of heaven on earth, on the other hand, is both deceptive and intrinsically absurd. The maintenance of such a notion requires mental gymnastics so extreme and so strenuous that they usually produce dementia.

--from Backward, Christian soldiers!, an essay from Mr. Muggeridge's book Tread Softly, for You Tread on My Jokes, 1966

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