What Is The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Supposed To Transform?
Posted by Job on December 23, 2008
Well, the news breaks from Apprising Ministries that James Dobson and Focus on the Family is promoting Mormonism. (And that they also denounce people who oppose Roman Catholicism.) Really, this is no surprise. Allow me to explain why by asking a question: what is the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it to transform lives by saving souls? Or is it to transform nations and cultures by spreading values and norms? Many would say that either/or is a false choice when the answer is both. What those people ignore is that so often those two goals find themselves in conflict, and when they do it is much easier and more expedient to “focus on” transforming the nation and the culture than it is getting people saved. Tending to the nation and culture is far less difficult and produces quicker, more broad based results than crawling on your belly and face over the sharp rocks on craggy cliffsides and through the thick briars and brambles trying to find that one lost sheep, and then discipling that sheep so that he doesn’t run off again. It would imagine that it pays a lot better too, even if Focus on the Family has had to resort to layoffs lately. It is easier to focus on the family than to focus on Jesus Christ and Him crucified, so any offense that results from fighting false cultural battles will be far less.
So, when the time comes that the path to salvation is not through the false gospel of Mormonism or through a Roman Catholic Church that is now teaching religious pluralism, Dobson must stand down and count such people as his allies. Why? Because Mormons and Roman Catholics have good values, and are too useful allies in the culture wars over gay marriage and abortion to turn your backs on. So instead of telling Glen Beck that he needs to repent or spend eternity in the lake of fire, Focus on the Family promotes his allegedly Christian testimony.
So in times like these, the truth be told: it is not the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform the world, which includes cultures and nations. Instead, the purpose of the gospel is to save God’s elect from the world. Evidence of this is found in the very book of Revelation that amillennialists and dominionists love to reject with a “spiritual interpretation.” Even upon His return, Jesus Christ does not transform the world. Instead, He smites it and rules it with a rod of iron. See Revelation 19:15. Why does He do this? Because the world does not submit to His rule. The world is still trying to rebel, still trying to reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the Sovereignty of God. That is why when Satan is released, he has no problem finding allies for his final and futile effort as recorded in Revelation 20:7-9.
Even after the final rebellion of Satan is crushed and this accuser is cast into the lake of fire, Jesus Christ does not set about transforming the nations and cultures. Instead, Jesus Christ judges them, they are destroyed with fire, and there is a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21:1 – “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Now the Roman Catholics have the statement which goes to the effect “world without end amen amen.” But that is not what the Bible says. The Bible clearly states in Revelation and in the other eschatological passages that this world is coming to an end. So why bother trying to transform it? Why polish the brassware of a sinking ship? That would only divert the energies from getting as many people as you can off the ship and into lifeboats. The gospel is the lifeboat. It cannot be meant as both a lifeboat and some attempt to plug the leak in the boat. Why? Because those are two aims at cross purposes. If the gospel was meant to transform the world, there would be no need to save men from it. Also, make no mistake: it was God who put the hole in the boat to begin with. Indeed, it is God Himself that will judge the world for its wickedness.
Also, if the role of the gospel is to transform the world, then the Bible itself would declare the gospel to be a failure. Why? Because the Bible makes it clear: the world is never transformed. It is never subdued. It remains wicked and rebellious to the very end. So if the gospel fails at the goal of transforming the world and the culture, of say, making the government respect the Ten Commandments and making the culture respect traditional family values, then why should the gospel succeed in saving any Christian from the eternity in the lake of fire?
This is not some bold new theological innovation here. Instead, it can be found in a simple Frank Peretti novel “The Visitation.” In it, the protagonist, a burned out pastor, is confronted with his new, eager, inexperienced replacement, and the latter states “we are taking this town for Christ.” To which, the protagonist replied “how are you going to take any town for Christ when not even Christ took a town for Christ. Have you ever asked this town if it wants to be taken for Christ?” Taking towns for Christ was never Christ’s job. Thus, transforming the world and culture was never the job of the gospel or of the church. The very Bible itself declares that the world and culture will not be transformed, so if that was ever the goal of the gospel, then the Bible which declares the gospel would declare that gospel to be a failure, making the Word of God a failure, and Jesus Christ’s going to the cross to be in vain.
The idea that it we should be trying to use the gospel to give life to things that are doomed to die instead of using the gospel so that people could be born again is a great deception. It transforms the unchangeable truth of God into a lie, and takes the all powerful all knowing God and uses His own revelation to declare Him to be weak, a failure, as if Revelation depicts God as destroying the world only after being frustrated by His many attempts to save it; that not even sacrificing His own Son on a cross and sending that Son to Personally rule the world was enough. And what could be more Satanic, more anti – Christ, than that?
So we are left with the truth that the purpose of the gospel was to transform lives, to save souls, and to spare them the judgment that awaits the nations and their cultures. And we should reject anyone who comes promoting a different aim using a different gospel that represents a different Jesus.