DEAR FRIENDS IN CHRIST,
If the purpose of the Church is primarily to feed, clothe and house all people in the name of love, Christ would have done nothing but feed the 5,000, and the 5,000, and the 5,000, and the 5,000… The Social Gospel is steadily eroding the message of the Gospel of salvation within Christianity to the point where concerned believers came together to issue a joint statement to clarify the primary purpose of the Church.
Trying to solve the inequality of poor and rich has been a subject for concerned people since the beginning of time, including the Church. Sin causes social inequalities. They will exist as long as sin is allowed to reign under the Prince of this world, Satan. Only when Christ returns and rules from the throne of the Millennial Kingdom will the earth return to the standards of the Garden of Eden. Only when Christ reigns with the ETERNAL solution to the plight of mankind–the Gospel of salvation by grace thru faith in Jesus Christ–will sickness and starvation be restrained on the earth.
The issue here is what should be and in fact IS the Biblical purpose of the Church until He returns? Is it the Social Gospel or the Eternal Gospel? Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ glorifies His name because salvation is through His work on the cross alone. To bring God glory is the primary purpose of all believers. The primary vehicle to bring Him glory is the transmission of His Word of truth. Christian leaders have taken on the monumental task of clarifying the issue of the social gospel. Yes, it feels good to feed the less fortunate. Yes, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. However food and medicine are only band aids for the human condition. Christ instructed the Church to take the Gospel of eternal salvation throughout the world because salvation is the only means to complete and utter deliverance from sin and all of its consequences. [Matthew 28:19-20]
If Christ had come to relieve the condition of the downtrodden, He would not have chastised the crowds after the feeding of the 5,000 for wanting only a free lunch and not the truth of God’s Word of salvation. When the crowd realized He was not going to provide more free food, they went away. Only the true disciples stayed behind to hear the words of eternal life [John 6]. The signs and miracles Christ performed were selective and chosen to do one thing–that we would believe that He is the Son of God. [John 20:30-31]
The social gospel is appealing to those who are looking for human answers to spiritual problems. The social gospel is also emotionally charged. Who “loves” the lost more? Those who feed them or those who give them the words of eternal life? The Lord had His priorities as the living Word, but He also healed and at times fed the people–but not to the exclusion of teaching truth. His ministry was not even a balanced approach; He taught far more than He ministered to human need. Unfortunately the Jesus who can make life more comfortable is the Jesus preferred by the humanistic church. Does that mean food pantries and back packs for school kids are wrong? No. But acts of charity to the exclusion of the Gospel or devoid of the Gospel is too often easier to do than the Great Commission. Even the Great Commission is being re-defined to acts of charity rather than the dispersion of the Gospel to the world.
[“Lessons After the Storm,” The Heritage Foundation, THE AGENDA, September 17, 2018] In light of the pummeling of southeastern states due to hurricane Florence, I would be remiss not to recognize faith-based organizations that are indispensable in disaster relief. As the Heritage Foundation points out, Christian organizations are often not given their rightful recognition for their assistance.
THE SOCIAL GOSPEL AND SOCIALISM
The spread of the social gospel is also a sign of the times. Churches that are designed to supply the needs of the congregation are popular in a me-centered generation but they lack depth. Because the end times is filled with those who are “lovers of themselves” [2 Timothy 3:2], pews are easily filled by promising health and wealth. As another sign of the slide into human gratification, it is disturbing to see the growing popularity of socialist candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Ocasio-Cortez. Socialism is not the pie-in-the-sky system the entitled believe it is; there is always a price to pay. Taxes are often over 50% of income in nations that have socialistic platforms. When the government takes more and more of what we earn to give to those who are not successful earners, where is the incentive to produce? Eventually it becomes more feasible to live off of the government than it is to work. We can observe this in the spread of the welfare mentality.
What does this have to do with Bible prophecy? The final political platform of the Antichrist will be a One World Government based on “equality” and “fair” taxation, which simply means the rich must pay for the needs of the poor so that everyone has the same. In Antichrist’s system, no one will be able to buy or sell unless they have the Mark of the Beast [Revelation 13], which is simply Satan’s insignia of loyalty, 666. Socialism is a government system whereby the bureaucracy takes from the rich and gives to the poor usually in the form of taxation. As a reward for their hard work, government officials also take quite a bit for themselves.Government produces nothing; any funds it distributes comes from taxation or taking over corporations and businesses in order to extract profits for government use. In a socialistic government, large corporations and utilities in particular are owned by the government. In a communist government, virtually everything is owned by the government. Are companies more productive in private hands where profit is the incentive or in government hands? Swollen and inefficient government agencies are proof that bureaucracies are not cost-effective.
The greed and laziness pandemic in a sinful society is manifesting itself in the movement toward socialism and the social gospel. It is a sign of the times. It is a sign that the world is being conditioned to not only accept Antichrist but to demand his authority over them. It is a sign of the one-world compromising religion and the one-world government. It is a sign that self-gratification is replacing wisdom and logic. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray for the soon return of Jesus Christ.
In Him We Wait, Work and Watch,
Sharon L. Clemens