I am concerned about the lack of theological thought presented today. We have allowed the social gospel to take root in our hearts and churches. In an era not that long ago, Pentecostals would have condemned any use to Marxism within the theological process. Today, we are embracing it. This should bother all Pentecostals.
The idea of the social gospel was that Christian ethics must be applied to “social problems, especially issues of social justice such as economic inequality, poverty, alcoholism, crime, racial tensions, slums, unclean environment, child labor, lack of unionization, poor schools, and the dangers of war.”
In its more extreme view, it taught a form of Kingdom Now and Post-Millennialism. Some believed that we must “rid” the world of social problems before Jesus could return to the earth. Those who preached it historically was far left liberal theologians.
The voices of the social gospel is no longer Washington Gladden and Walter Rauschenbusch. They are now Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. The ideals are the same, the false teaching is the same. It just has a different face and Pentecostals at large seem to lack any spiritual discernment or desire to think theologically.
I am required by scripture to blow the trumpet in Zion and sound the alarm on God’s holy mountain about this issue. (Joel 2:1)
D.L. Moody vs the social gospel
I believe that a look at Moody, the great evangelist of the late 1800’s can tell us about something about the social gospel. He preached that the need of the human is not social but spiritual. He believed the answer was purely spiritual. The person, no matter their economical position in life, must received the gospel. In short, that the social gospel only tried to make people feel better before they would hear “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”
There is no use attempting to make a deep and lasting effect on masses of people, but every effort should be put forth on the individual. (D.L. Moody)
Everything with him came down to one core factor: What will you do with this man, Jesus Christ? The answer to the problem were not protests or unions. It was falling on the finished work of Jesus Christ. The solution to every issue, according to D.L. Moody was to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The whole of my early life was one long struggle with poverty; but I have not doubt it was God’s way of bringing me to himself. And since I began to seek first the kingdom of God, I have never wanted for anything.
The problem that faced the people in his day was extreme poverty. He stood up as a voice crying out in the wilderness declaring the reality of the Kingdom of God. He did not change his message to be “empathetic” to the plight of the man. He remained firm in the need for Christ. He would even tell people that poverty was a tool of God to draw men to the Cross.
Al Sharpton and his “gospel”
My ministry’s always been one of social activism. I think a responsible minister must be at some levels involved in the social order.
A “ministry” is not about social activism. We are not to tell people that to feel better until they bust hell wide open. Let me be very clear: a bowl of rice is never a substitute for the Holy Spirit. The end game of every ministry must be the proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ. To say “In Christ alone” is more than just words.
“I do believe the party has moved far to the right. I do believe that the party has a bunch of elephants running around in donkey clothes.”
This is in light of the words of the prophet that the government will be on the shoulder of Christ. (Isiash 9:6) I am not sure that a person believing that the answer is a party to our problems has anything to do with “ministry.” In fact, revivalism has exploded during of the most wicked leadership in American history. (Brownsville was in contrast with Bill Clinton for example)
If we want to get honest, Al Sharpton is teaching Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels more than Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul.
“Leaders need to give a damn about their behavioral morals and behavior–not because of their adversaries but because of who they serve.”
Leaving alone the tone and language here that is not becoming of a minister, the issue of moral and behavioral change is the gospel taking root in the heart. It is not about being a “role model.” We call this sanctification.
A Pentecostal response to the false gospel
We must reject the social gospel historically and we must reject the political gospel preached by Sharpton and company. The core of our message to the lost must be the reality of the sola fide. (Faith alone) If we lose the emphasis on by faith alone, in grace alone and through Christ alone; we have lost the biblical right to exist as blood bought Church.
We are commanded by scripture to address those who preach another gospel (Gal. 1:8) and are false teachers. (2 Timothy 4-3-4)
Paul wrote to the young pastor, Timothy that there would be people who bring other message and tell people what they want to hear to “itch their ears.” They would exchange the truth for myths. This is where we are today with people like Al Sharpton.
As Pentecostals, we must take a stand against the message of the social gospel. We must draw a line in the sand and confront any ministry within our ranks that are preaching this false gospel in love and in the spirit of concern. If we do not, this would become “the new issue” of 1916. The social gospel must be comdemned!
Someone might say “Where is your empathy for your fellow man?” We are not called to be humanist and we have to understand one thing: misplaced empathy leads to false teaching.