by Mike Ratliff
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9 ESV)
The emergent movement and actually all forms of “Christianity” that has a problem with preaching the whole Gospel and the Law in order to “remain relevant” and to “not offend” seekers are, in fact, repeating a very old error. This morning in church, my pastor preached a sermon on Genesis 11. It was as he was showing that the gathering together of all people into one group by the settlers of Babel was disobedience that I saw the parallel with today’s apostate forms of Christianity. God had commanded the descendants of Noah to spread and populate the Earth, but these people gathered together saying, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, let we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4). This was not what God had commanded. God’s plan for man was to continue to spread over the face of the Earth, not come together in one city and defy Him. As my pastor preached through this I began to see the similarities and parallels with the emergents and the purpose driven and seeker sensitive folks and, in fact, any of those cultic type forms of Christianity that seek to gather a people together in as large a group as possible in order to “make a name for themselves.”
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
We are commanded to spread the Gospel across the face of the Earth, to make disciples of all nations. What are we to teach these disciples? We are to teach them to observe all that Christ commanded knowing full well that He will be with us to the end of the age. The push by those who hate the genuine Gospel in lieu of preaching and teaching only what will “draw everyone together” is exactly the opposite of what Christ commanded. The Gospel is divisive. It does not draw everyone together. It divides.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-27 ESV)
The context of this passage is Jesus telling those who are following Him what the cost will be for them to do so for real. Those who truly follow Him, that is, they become His disciples, must understand that they have chosen a way that does not bring everyone together, but actually divides. Those who truly follow Him must be willing to do so even if it divides them from family and friends.
The cry today that Christians should only teach and preach that which will draw everyone together is not Biblical. No, the Word of God tells us exactly the opposite. We must preach the whole Gospel and the Law in obedience to our Saviour that our hearers will be cut to the heart by the convicting power of God when they see clearly their guilt before Him. Then the Gospel, the Good News, is preached and they will be saved as God regenerates them and they believe and repent. This is seen as divisive by the seeker sensitive movement and the emergents because many want to claim that they are Christians, but they will have nothing to do with this repentance stuff or submitting to the Lordship of Christ.
On the other hand, the push in the emergent’s cry for a new reformation based on a social gospel that brings all men together instead of dividing is not of God. The settlers in Shinar did the same thing when they decided to build a walled city and tower to heaven. It is also the same thing that we see today in “Christian” leaders such as Rick Warren making overtures to Islamic leaders seeking a “common ground.” There is no “common ground” in genuine Christianity and any false versions of it or any other religion. No, there can be no compromise between the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and any manmade religion.
God’s purposes cannot be thwarted. Even though the settlers of the plain of Shinar attempted to remain together under one name, God very easily separated them and caused them to settle the whole Earth by confusing their speech. The push in our time to cause unity by eliminating the whole Gospel from our preaching is just as futile and wicked as the building of the tower of Babel. Therefore, let us recommit ourselves to preaching the whole Gospel and not giving in to the pressure to compromise in any way the Great Commission. Many will divide from us for doing so, but that is part of the cost of being a true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria!