Global Activation and Mobilisation Network’s Response to the Church Crisis
The Church is without a doubt embroiled in all kinds of strange ideas and teachings these days. The team of Global Activation and Mobilisation Network will continue to stand upon the Word of God, on the Truth of the Kingdom and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We will continue to uphold the five Solas – Sola scriptura (by Scripture alone), Sola fide (by faith alone), Sola gratia (by grace alone), Solus Christus or Solo Christo (Christ alone or through Christ alone) and Soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).
At one time, Martin Luther nailed his 95 declarations to Wittenburg’s door, which divided the church but attempted to unite theology. More than ever we again need a united theology of foundational truths of God, of the Bible and the Church. It is time for a bold stance, an unwavering response to the crisis facing the Church regarding the true doctrine and the true ways of the Kingdom. Without a doubt, the church has lost sight of Christ, of the eternal Kingdom and the mission of the Church.
In the Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, they write: “Seek Christ, embrace Christ, know Christ, and you have touched him who is Life. And in him resides all Truth, Values, Virtues and Gifts in living colour. Beauty has its meaning in the beauty of Christ, in whom is found all that makes us lovely and loveable.” Oh yes, the Church should all be about Christ (Solo Christo). Our actions are determined by Christ. Our ways, our will, our thoughts and our behaviour should all be consumed and influenced by Christ and Christ alone. Yet we have systematically made it about other things, specifically about us, and thus the Church has lost its way and is proving to be powerless, rudderless and motionless.
Regarding Christianity, the manifesto explains it as follows: “It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology. Christianity is not a philosophy. Christianity is the “good news” that Beauty, Truth and Goodness are found in a person. Biblical community is founded and found on the connection to that person. Conversion is more than a change in direction; it’s a change in connection.” How true. And so at Global Activation and Mobilisation Network, we agree whole heartily we must again live for Christ and Christ alone. We must preach Christ. Teach Christ. Live Christ. Otherwise, how can we truly call ourselves Christians? The Church is sailing in troubled and dangerous waters of heresy, New Age beliefs, and seducing thoughts and doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1) that betray the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus.
As a Church, we need to be aware that the last days will be perilous (2 Timothy 3) and we need to take note of the growing apostasy in the church. Such apostasy is causing widespread disaster, havoc and chaos, and causing the church to become spiritual paralysed or without real influence or power. After all, we sit with churches where deception, spiritual abuse, witchcraft and idolatry are rife. These are all signs of detachment from God and His Word. It also speaks of a worrying detachment from the Spirit of the Living God.
If we truly want to navigate our way back to the living waters of God, we need to reconsider how far we have drifted from the Scriptures, from the Gospel, from Christ and from the mandate of the Church, which is the Great Commission. Global Activation and Mobilisation Network thus calls for a return to the true ways of God (Jeremiah 6:16), for only in Christ can we find and know the path of holiness. How we need to know who God is again. We need to know our place in God. We need to know the Word. We need to know what is Kingdom. And we need to take action, and quickly.
All-sufficiency and inerrancy of Scriptures
Bibliology is the study of the Bible, thus the Word of God. It is of utmost and critical importance that every disciple truly knows the Word of God from the beginning to the end in context, lest deception creeps in. Thus, we need to uphold Sola scriptura. A lot of heresies, false doctrines and ultimately false word is influencing believers and shipwrecking the Church because so many do not know the Word in its entirety as led by the Spirit of God. The Bible is the inspired source of knowledge about God, Jesus Christ, salvation, and eternity. Period.
Without a proper view of the Bible, our views on these and other issues become clouded and distorted. The Bible is truly God’s Word and should shape our lives daily. The Bible is inspired, for the Bible itself claims that every word, in every part of the Bible, is inspired by God (1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible does not contain errors, contradictions, or discrepancies. If one reads the Bible as led by the Spirit, without a preconceived bias for finding errors or based on one’s education or understanding, you will find it to be a coherent, consistent, and relatively easy-to-understand book of God. It is the Truth, and so be our light and lamp unto our feet and path (Psalm 119:105).
The Bible must thus be treated by disciples as all-sufficient and inerrant (without error) to lead us, guide us, teach us and show us the way and the will of God. Thus we need to AGREE with the Bible and stop trying to twist and distort Scripture to justify an agenda or a point of view. A huge problem in the Church is that we are no longer taking Scriptures at face value and agreeing to it. For some time now and of great concern is that it seems for many in the church the Bible is not all-sufficient. The church has brought in every so-called social science and cultural study to mess with the ways and the will of God. We have added worldly culture, ideas, thoughts, teachings and philosophies to the Church and the believers’ life, thus it has taken precedent over the Word of God. Thus, the Bible is no longer sought as the only and true wisdom of God, but the wisdom of this age and scholars have been added to our Christian understanding and perceptions. It has crept into our Church, our evangelism and our missiology that you can barely call what we are doing Christian anymore. Psychology, anthropology (theory of evolution) and sociology for example have become primary influences in the Church.
All the activity in our church and the activity thus of the believer must be based solely upon the Word of God. Everything we ought to do should flow from the Word of God so that when we open the Bible our first reaction should be, “what is thy will, oh God?” It is because we have added so many ingredients to the Church that we are now struggling to walk in the very truth of God, for our theology, our doctrines and spiritual ways are influenced by the carnal, by the devilish and by the worldly thinkers. Once the Bible becomes all-sufficient once again and treated with reverence and without error, then it shall guide the Church and the believer on the right path, and steer it away from deception, idolatry, spiritual malnourishment and carnal delights.
The church has become corrupted and spiritually tainted for the Scriptures alone do not lead us anymore, for we have chosen opinion above truth, and we have chosen man-made ideas, agendas and programmes to trump the Word of God. Thus, the warning of 2 Timothy 4 of the itching ears turning away from God’s Truth. The church is floundering in the muck of apostasy for we abandoned the all-sufficiency of the Bible. This is despite the Lord saying that man should live on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
Sin is sin
Hamartiology is the doctrine of sin. One of the greatest deceptions right now in the Church is a failure to address man’s malady. Without God, we are wicked, cruel and lost. Without God we are subjected to the carnal ways of the world, driven by the lust of the flesh and the eyes. Without God, we are doomed in our pride, arrogance and selfish quests. Man without God will act carnal, no matter the external laws imposed. Yet we have failed to teach and preach Jesus Christ as the only cure to this malady because even in churches we are unsure of what is right and wrong, and we no longer treat sin as sin. It is because we have become so influenced by culture, psychology and carnal desires that sin has become an offence even to believers.
Let us understand the malady of man is his sinful ways and desires that separate him from God. Yet the church is more concerned about man’s physical wealth (thus the doctrine of prosperity is now so popular) and personal happiness (thus we have exchanged emotionalism for the true inner work of the Holy Spirit) instead of saving him from a life of spiritual darkness, corruption, torment and enslavement. Instead of truly addressing with boldness based on Scriptures the moral disposition and condition of man, we have focussed on man’s temporary and selfish needs and wants. Thus, the church remains immoral and bound to sin, for we have failed to address man’s fallen nature. For this reason, Jesus died on the cross so that we may be free from sin and its devouring nature.
Whatever has happened to preaching holiness and purity? We have justified living unjust and even immoral based on skewed doctrines on justification and salvation, forgetting God has called us to be sanctified through the Word of God daily. Jesus prayed to the Father that we may be sanctified through the truth, with the Word being His truth (John 17:17). Thus the importance of Scriptures becoming all-sufficient.
To sin essentially means to “miss the mark.” We all miss God’s mark of righteousness (Romans 3:23). Sin is described in the Bible as a transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Romans 5:12 says “therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” While we may debate the weightiness of sin, every sin will lead to eternal condemnation (Romans 6:23). The church cannot toy with sin. We cannot downgrade it. It destroys and will keep on destroying as long as it is not properly addressed. Yet for the church sin is no longer the real issue. We are more concerned about people finding jobs, and the right marriage partners and accumulating wealth! We have lost track of the Cross, the Blood and the sacrifice of Jesus.
Before we can understand salvation, we must first understand why we need salvation. We are all sinners—by inheritance, by imputation, and by our personal choice. Hamartiology shows us why God must condemn us for our sins. Hamartiology points to the solution for sin—the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When we truly come to grips with our sinful natures, we begin to fathom the depth and breadth of the nature of our great God who, on the one hand, condemns sinners to hell in righteous judgment, then, on the other hand, satisfies His requirement for perfection. Only when we understand the depth of sin can we understand the height of God’s love for sinners. Romans 3:23-24 says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
What is incredibly worrying right now in the Church is that sin is no longer a big deal. If it is no longer a serious issue, then why do we need salvation? If we don’t need salvation, then how do we view Jesus as our Saviour? And this is the strategy of the devil. If you take away sin, you then take away the cross and the shed Blood of Jesus. The power of the Church lies in the Blood of the Saviour who died so that all mankind may be saved (John 3:16). Thus, we are seeing a very worrying trend within the church where the validity of the Blood and the Cross is being questioned and even challenged. This is something that is not new, but an old trick of the devil for the church to abandon the Cross for a journey of personal fulfilment and self-glorification.
If we treat sin with contempt, then there is a very real problem of walking in iniquity, which is when we condone and advocate sin by justifying it. And iniquity has become a very real problem in the Church, for we condone sin by justifying it. In Matthew 7:23 the Lord spoke these words to those who thought they were following Christ in all sincerity: “And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.’ Christ found iniquity among them, which meant sin was allowed to fester and take hold of their lives. They were thus walking in immorality, not agreeing to God’s Word and commandments. Sin has indeed taken hold of the Church!
Sin is no longer sin in the Church because of worldly influences and ideas. This includes the influence of moral relativism, which determines that every person determines now what is right and wrong to them personally. If we do not know Scripture and are led by the Scriptures, we will ultimately not be able to discern truth from lies, the common from the uncommon, the holy from the unholy and the moral from immoral. Thus we condone abortions. We condone same-sex marriages. We condone gender fluidity. We condone all kinds of wicked behaviour. It is because the church is experiencing silence on separation. There is a void of serious teaching about holiness. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “repent” (Matthew 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance. Yet the Church is hardly repenting, simply because we do not see that our actions affront the will, the way and the truth of a holy and mighty God. Thus we are urged in 1 Peter 1:16 to be holy as God is holy.
Salvation is not cheap
Soteriology is the doctrine of salvation. Only through Jesus are we saved, for by His death He secures the salvation of those who believe. In Him and Him alone, we find our redemption, justification, sanctification, propitiation, and substitutionary atonement. Again, salvation boils down to preaching and teaching Jesus and Jesus alone. While a Church should be declaring in boldness Christ, we are still grappling with elementary issues if we are saved by faith alone, or by faith plus works? The reality is, we are saved by Christ, but a truly saved disciple obeys and do as the Lord commands. If we do not do, then are we truly following Christ?
And this is where salvation has become cheap in the Church. Salvation has never been intended to be cheap, yet it has become watered-down, for the Church now presents and offers quick-fix Christianity where you pray a quick prayer and you are saved. Yes, the sinner’s prayer is not even Biblical but has become an evangelical trick to create the illusion of salvation. We have come up with all kinds of gimmicks, ideas, programmes and lists of things to do so that we find favour with God. Salvation became cheap in the early days of the Catholic Church through indulgences, and still remains cheap as the priest has the audacity to think he can pardon sins at whim! Yes, we simply recite a couple of Hail Marys as a petition for purity and other virtues then we think all is alright! How we have made God so cheap!
Salvation is all about laying down your life for God. It is about surrendering completely, and yielding and submitting to His authority, to His glory, to His Kingship and Majesty. Thus, the Church is struggling because we are no longer truly equipping born again disciples, who seek God alone and nothing else. Such disciples seek only God’s ways, His truth and Kingdom above all! The phrase “born again” literally means “born from above.” It is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes—a spiritual transformation. Thus a regeneration, as taught by Jesus so clearly in John 3.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” And also “Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” There is nothing small about our salvation. Nothing cheap. It is something very powerful, for by the power of God we are rescued, set free and redeemed. Titus 3 says “4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Salvation has sadly been watered down to a quick prayer. Salvation now means getting a good job and becoming wealthy and leading a happy life. Really? It is no longer suffering for the Kingdom or fighting the good fight or wrestling with the darkness. We have lost touch with the Gospel and the Kingdom. Philippians 2:12 NKJV declares “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” When has our salvation become completely and utterly disengaged from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit? For this reason, we sit with a Church of little power, for we are not truly led by the Spirit of God (Acts 1:8 – who is the power on High). A truly reborn disciple of God is now a new creation! Such a disciple lives only for the light, seeks only the truth, yearns for God’s will and will not settle for impurity, immorality and anything unholy. A true disciple does not compromise with the world. Never. Or with the devil. Is this the state of the church anymore? No, because we do not even know who Christ is or our place in Christ for our salvation has become cheap. Salvation has become a buzzword. It is supposed to be utterly life-changing!
We need to remember there is a greater manifestation of the power of God in the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit than in the creation of the world, of the universe because he created the world ex nihilo out of nothing. God created man out of a corrupt mass. A truly reborn disciple is supposed to be led by the Spirit of God, thus in the wisdom, in the knowledge, in the power, in the understanding, in the counsel and in the fear of God (Isaiah 11:2). Yet we have lost touch with the importance of Pentecost, and a life daily driven and guided by the Holy Spirit (see John 16), who still convicts us of all things untruthful and wicked. The spirit of man within the Church has become more prevalent in action than the disciple immersed and saturated by the Spirit of God.
Because of contempt for sin and condoning iniquity, the Church has quickly embraced the idea of ‘once saved always saved’. This is a very dangerous doctrine, which determines that we only have to pray and repent once and never again. While our salvation is secure, we have to remember it is secure only in Christ. Yet the Church is drifting further away from Christ, embracing more the world and its depravities. We are in peril of violating the Covenant and giving the devil plenty of room to manipulate us. Make no mistake, a life that drifts further away from God is a life that is eventually engulfed in darkness, and thus a danger of denying Christ’s existence. Salvation hinges on our belief in Christ and thus following Christ, yet if the world becomes our greatest influencer, we face the reality of no longer being consumed by God but by the profane fire of this world. Thus salvation is only secure In Christ (Romans 8:1), which calls for the need for daily sanctification and being led by the Spirit of God.
Scripture teaches us that God alone saves us from our sin and His wrath (Ephesians 2:1-9; Romans 3:21-31). Since God saves us, He is faithful to carry it on to completion and that He preserves us in faith to the very end (Romans 8:28-29; Philippians 1:6). Also keep in mind Hebrews 3:12-14 that says “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” This doctrine of ‘once saved always flows’ flows directly into the doctrine of hyper-grace. While indeed we have been saved by God’s grace, grace in itself is not a license to sin. Yet it has become such a license, and so the Church has become disorderly, lawless and even at times downright wicked because we hold onto the notion we have been saved once a long time ago. A true believer follows God and obeys and yield. Biblical repentance is changing your mind about Jesus Christ and turning to God in faith for salvation (Acts 3:19). Genuine, faith-based repentance towards the Lord Jesus Christ leads to a holy and pure life.
We have thus fallen for the gospel of permissive grace. Oh yes, God’s grace and mercy are incredible, for it has rescued us from a sterile, joyless, and performance-based Christianity. We have been delivered from a life of rules without relationship and outward compliance without joyful obedience. Grace, once understood, is truly amazing, not just for great sinners but also for struggling saints. Sadly, unconditional love that connects to hyper-grace is now interpreted as unconditional acceptance of one’s lifestyle. God does love those who are “in Christ” unconditionally, even as He loves His Son (John 17:20–23). But this does not mean that God is always pleased with our conduct; nor does it mean that God does not discipline us for our waywardness. Although God is kindly disposed to everyone and loves the world (John 3:16), “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). And again, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28–29).
Understanding Biblical Soteriology will help us to know why salvation is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Yet then we need to truly live like His disciples, otherwise, we are hypocritical! No other religion bases salvation on faith alone. Soteriology helps us to see why. A clear understanding of our salvation will provide a “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) because we come to know that He who can never fail is the means by which we were saved and the means by which we remain secure in our salvation. If we were responsible to save ourselves and keep ourselves saved, we would fail. Thank God that is not the case!
When it comes to salvation, the Church is still grappling with the issue of baptism. While baptism is an important step of obedience for a Christian, the Bible is clear that baptism is not a requirement for salvation. Yet, if we are truly saved, we then saved be baptised. It is that simple. Global Activation and Mobilisation Network does believe and uphold and practise the essential duty of being baptised in water and the Spirit of God. Yet this water baptism is not one of infant dedication, but a voluntary decision needs to be taken to serve and follow God. Such baptism is demonstrated in Acts 8. Baptism by water is the act of separation unto holiness, and by Spirit it is the act of surrendering, yielding and submitting the Lordship and Kingship of Jesus Christ.
It is all about Christ
Christology is the doctrine of Christ. A big problem in churches is an ignorance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and even ignorance to who Christ is! We simply do not know the gospel anymore. We have taken the glorious gospel of our blessed God and reduced it down to four spiritual laws and five things God wants you to know with a little superstitious prayer at the end and if someone repeats it after us with enough sincerity we declare them to be born again. We have traded regeneration for decisionism. The gospel we preach is so much about us and so little these days about God.
The gospel begins with the nature of God and it goes from there to the nature of man and the fallen nature thereof. So many people have this romantic, powerless view of the gospel that the Christ is there hanging on the tree suffering under the wounds of the Roman Empire and the Father did not have the moral fortitude to bear the suffering of his Son so He turned away. He turned away because his Son became sin! Sin will always affront God. Thus the Gospel of the Kingdom speaks of a life that is set free from sin so that we are now co-heirs of a greater Kingdom of holiness and purity. The Gospel should be all about Christ’s sacrifice and His resurrection so that we may have a living relationship with a living God.
We cannot teach the proper Gospel unless we know Jesus Christ. Almost every major religion teaches that Jesus was a prophet, or a good teacher, or a godly man. The problem is, the Bible tells us that Jesus was infinitely more than a prophet, a good teacher, or a godly man. Is Jesus God? Did Jesus ever claim to be God? Although Jesus never uttered the words “I am God,” He made many other statements that can’t be properly interpreted to mean anything else. The Bible teaches that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine, that there is no mixture or dilution of either nature and that He is one united Person, forever. Why is the virgin birth so important? The virgin birth is a crucial biblical doctrine because it accounts for the circumvention of the transmission of the sin nature and allowed the eternal God to become a perfect man.
Thus the pure and true Gospel is a belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. It deals with the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. It speaks of the holiness of the Church and the communion of saints. It reminds us of Christ’s second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful. It speaks of a wonderful Saviour who died so that all who may believe are saved (John 3:16).
Paul sums up man’s condition in Ephesians 2:1-3 concerning the Gospel: “2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
The true Gospel is to remind people that without rescue from a mighty Saviour we are dead in our sins, dominated by the devil, and destined for hell. We are lost, sick to death with sin, sabotaged by Satan, and sentenced to hell. This is the Gospel we should be preaching! Two times in this chapter, Paul says we were dead in trespasses and sins. If you were to ask most people, even Christians, why sin is a problem and why we need rescue from it, they would say that sin makes us guilty before God and brings us under condemnation, and so we need a Saviour who can forgive our sins and take away our punishment. And that is right. But that is not the point of Ephesians 2. That is not all we need. The reason we need a Saviour is not just that we are in trouble with God and need to be forgiven. We need a Saviour because we are dead! And the cause of death? Trespasses killed us. Trespasses focus on our actions and their result. We have made a false step, lapsed from righteousness, deviated from the standard set by God. Sins focus on us. We miss the mark morally, are inherently offensive to God, and stand guilty before Him.
Thus, the Gospel needs to focus on both Jesus as the Saviour and on man’s deadness. Only God can truly save us. He is the only one who can make us alive. For this reason, the devil has been trying hard to convince us that the Cross is no longer relevant, or that we do not need to be rescued anymore. The devil wants the world to remain dead, and as long as we preach and teach lifeless sermons tickling ears and pleasing the flesh then people will remain dead! We need to preach the resurrected Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit so that people may come alive!
Oh yes, we need to focus again on Christ for some in the Church today is denying the Virgin birth. Some are denying the baptism of Jesus, some the crucifixion of Jesus, while others argued if He truly stood up from the grave! The Church has thus gotten lost along the way, for if we struggle with these fundamental truths how can we truly have faith in the true Gospel, never mind preach it and teach it!
A Biblical understanding of Jesus Christ is crucial to our salvation. Many cults and world religions claim to believe in Jesus Christ. The problem is that they do not believe in the Jesus Christ presented in the Bible. That is why Christology is so important. It helps us to understand the significance of the deity of Christ. It demonstrates why Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Christology teaches us that Jesus had to be a man so that He could die – and had to be God so that His death would pay for our sins. It is perhaps the most important area of theology. Without a proper understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what He accomplished, all other areas of theology will be errant as well. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, leading, protecting and caring for us as one of His own (John 10:11,14); He is the Light of the world, illuminating our pathway through a sometimes dark and uncertain world (John 8:12); He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), bringing tranquillity into our tumultuous lives; and He is our Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), the immovable and secure base who we can trust to keep us safe and secure in Him.
A great danger to the eternal Gospel is the growing doctrine of modalism, which is the theological doctrine that the members of the Trinity are not three distinct persons but rather three modes or forms of activity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) under which God manifests himself. The Jesus Only Doctrine has been sweeping the Church for some time now. This doctrine is very dangerous, for it denies the simultaneous existence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It thus challenges the entire Bible. Yes, God is ONE but He remains three. It is a mystery we will never fully comprehend or understand, yet it is a reality to those who truly follow the Lord in His greatness and goodness.
Because we are not completely and utterly focussed on Christ – as part of the Trinity – we find the Church is confronted with false gospels, as it was in the first couple of centuries following the death of Christ. Galatians 1 is a stern warning issued by the Apostle Paul: “6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” There is ONLY ONE Gospel. It is the eternal Gospel as taught and preached by Jesus. Matthew 4:23 says “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”
Just as Jesus is the only way to salvation, just so there is no other Gospel. Yet these days we get all kinds of gospels. This includes the gospel of social justice and culture, where many churches left off preaching the cross of Christ and replaced it with “doing good to their fellow man.” It is thus more about the rights of mankind at the expense of God’s perfect will. Social concerns replaced the finished work of Christ who died and rose again to save sinners, and the gospel of God saving us from sin was almost entirely neglected. We are now more concerned about society and how we fit into society than what God says of man in His Word. We are thus more concerned about pleasing man than pleasing God. Social issues such as abortions and same-sex marriages are now driving the church instead of the Great Commission. Thus social issues impacting man has become more important and relevant than what the Word of God says and what God calls us to do according to His will.
We also get the gospel of New Age spirituality. Many younger people are open to seeking spiritual experiences independently of Bible doctrine. Thus, to be more relevant, New Age spirituality, which is widely accepted in our culture, is often taught alongside biblical teaching in churches and seminaries! So many doctrines in our churches have become saturated with New Age teachings! In many instances, the textbooks used for Biblical workshops even contain New Age teachings based on mystical experiences of God rather than the Scriptures. Such books and others like them are popular because they present God as more accessible, more easily experienced without much need for specific Bible doctrines. Oh yes, spiritualism and mysticism have become very popular in our churches, for the church has become about ‘feelings’, ‘experience’, the ‘hype’ and the ‘sensations’, yet it is many times completely void of the Spirit of God or the Word of God. This leads to spooky spiritualism not grounded in the Word of God and can easily lead to the occult. Thus we need to teach that the only sure knowledge we have of God is based on Scripture, which must be believed whether we experience God or not. We might learn some things about God when we experience the world, but only in the Scriptures do we have a reliable guide to lead us to encounter God and salvation. Sometimes we have no experience of God at all but, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Or how about the gospel of ‘my sexual preference’. This is again as a result of the Scriptures no longer truly being all-sufficient. We compromise with the world for the sake of not offending, and to hold onto the illusion that if we just keep on showing love that those who have gone astray will find their way. The church has truly become very silent on what is sin and what is wrong, such as matters of homosexuality and same-sex marriages. It seems the church has concluded that those who become members must join to grow in their faith rather than saying that “membership is not for you.” Churches are reluctant to administer church discipline or upholding God’s Word for they know the power of being shamed, despised, and targeted. They thus don’t want to be accused of being hateful rather than loving, yet they forget the first disciples in Acts 5 said they ought to rather obey God than man! The world is an incredible mess with people now deciding and choosing what gender they want to be and they choose their sexual orientation. Shockingly, the Church is allowing this and even welcoming them, simply because we have lost touch with the true Gospel, the Bible and even God.
The Apostle Paul always stood for the truth, even when his comments ruffled feathers and affronted people. Just read Romans 1:18–32, and remember he was writing to a church within a culture that was rife with defiling sexual sins of every sort. Yet he wrote candidly about God’s view of homosexual relationships, knowing his letter would be read publicly to the congregation. He knew that truth hurts, but it also heals (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
A lot of these false gospels are influenced by the need within the church to be relevant. We are talking here about being relevant in terms of fitting into the world. Yet this leads to a compromised gospel, where we ultimately alter the gospel for the sake of being relevant. You see it every day where the church has become fearful of not being relevant, and so begins to bow the knee to immorality and wickedness for the sake of pleasing society. Christianity is still the primary guardian of morality in this world. Today’s society, however, has decided that the Bible’s morality doesn’t fit in with its selfish, materialistic and post-modern outlook. Yet this doesn’t mean the Bible is outdated or archaic. Christianity is as relevant as ever to the problems of the world, people have just decided they don’t want to listen. The Church must remain true to the Gospel and remain true to God to be an influence in this world. Otherwise, we betray God and become powerless (which is happening more often). A church is never called to change with the times or adapt to society. God is still the same today and tomorrow. What is relevant is the Word of God! Our quest for relevance may cause us to forget that Christ lays claim to every aspect of our lives, and not just popular political issues. An obsession with relevance means that man ultimately shapes the gospel instead of what the Holy Spirit is saying.
There is also the dangerous gospel of interfaith dialogue and acceptance. This goes to the heart of challenging Jesus’ statement that He is the only way, truth and life. The Roman Catholic Church at its birth decided to incorporate a lot of pagan elements to appease the masses, just as Solomon introduced all kinds of heresies into the Israel nation. The Church is not called to embrace and incorporate various cultures and religions. While we are called to preach the Great Commission to all nations, we must be careful that under the guise of tolerance, love, and some would even say, evangelism, we do not allow ourselves to be persuaded, influenced or manipulated by any other culture of religion. God’s Kingdom on earth through the Church must remain untainted, and not saturated with anything else that is not pure and holy. This is the time for us to remember the words of Jesus to His disciples: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
The Church and its Role
Ecclesiology is the study of the church. The word Ecclesiology comes from two Greek words meaning “assembly” and “word” – combining to mean “the study of the church.” The church is the assembly of believers who belong to God. Many people today understand the church to be a building. This is not the biblical understanding of the church. The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but people. Thus we sit with ignorance regarding the nature of the Church, for it has become all about the building instead of the people who form a living organism abiding in God and regenerated by the Spirit of God. God has only one Body through which to work on earth, it is the Church, yet Christ remains the Head of this Body. This Body is ultimately called to be His Bride. 1 Peter 2 says clearly: “4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
The heart of the Church is summed up in Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” As a body of believers, we are called to adhere to the truth of God, to fellowship (with God and each other), and to be faithful to the sacraments of communion and baptisms (of water and Spirit). We are called to work together as a royal priesthood to fulfil the Great Commission of Matthew 28, thus the Great Commission will continue to be the mission and the church of the corporate Church. As a Church, we are called to teach the world all about Christ, His Word and His Kingdom. We are called to be disciples, and to make disciples. After all, a disciple follows Christ, and no man or the world.
And yes, even in this mission and vision we have sadly failed as we have discussed so far. The Church is no longer making disciples, but congregant members. Thus we sit with an inactive royal priesthood, as compared to a thriving and living organism of believers who all act and behave and operate as disciples of God. And such disciples are called to live out their calling and mandate in the Spirit of God, and such calling will always align with the Great Commission. It is not a calling for self-glorification and enrichment, but to see the lost saved and for the world to know Jesus as the only true and good Shepherd of Psalm 23 and John 10.
The church has fundamentally lost its way for us as believers have forgotten that we are the Church. We are called to be light. We are called to be active and mobilised in service to the King. Yet we have become spiritual paralysed and motionless and deactivated because of all the strange and weird doctrines, and because we have lost sight of Christ and the Word of God. We sit with the erroneous clergy and laity system, forgetting Ephesians 4 that makes it clear that the saints of God (those beyond the ascended gifts of the teacher, preacher, pastor, prophet and apostle) are called to be equipped and empowered “13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Thus the majority of God’s ‘army’ on earth – thus the saints to be equipped – are not truly active in establishing the Kingdom throughout the world!
The Church’s role has always been defined by the Great Commission and was demonstrated in the Book of Acts. A Church led by the Spirit of God is a dangerous church (dangerous to the evil forces of this world) that does not compromise or backs down. It stands up for Christ, His Truth and Ways, for in such truth is liberty, hope, and salvation. We are all called to be disciples, worshipping the one true God by one faith and by one truth and by one Spirit. We have unfortunately allowed for many traditions, customs, rituals and a religious mindset to shape and form the church, causing the church to become enslaved and institutionalised by such influences, ideas and philosophies.
The only true answer for the Church to become ‘dangerous’ in faith, in love and hope, and to stay true to God, the Gospel and the Word, is to again reconnect to the Spirit of God. For in the Spirit of God we shall again be led on the true path of God, and in accordance with God’s mission and vision. We need to be thus by the Spirit realign with God’s will, God’s voice, God’s truth and God’s order so that we may declare the true Gospel of the Kingdom (also read John 15). For we are not called to seek Church, meaning not seeking after man-made rituals, customs and rituals, but the eternal Kingdom (Matthew 8:32). For in such a quest by abiding in God we shall truly know God, know the Gospel and act accordingly as disciples who live to the glory of God, in the liberty of the Spirit and faithful to the Covenant and the Kingdom.