The Dangers of the Fifth Gospel – Real Christianity is No Buffet
We all know of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but have you heard of the fifth gospel? I used to call it the gospel according to the Americans, but it is becoming a worldwide phenomenon and I have broadened the definition to – the gospel according to you.
George Barna is a prolific writer and statistician who studies the ebb and flow of Christianity with diagnostic surveys now for nearly a half century. Barna’s research has consistently shown that we have a new group of millennial Christians. They often do not stay in a church fellowship or study the gospels and the totality of scriptures in the expression of their Christian faith.
The millennial Christians are those who have shunned what they refer to as organized religion and have moved eclectically through the scriptures extracting those passages, themes and favorite verses that they deem worthy of acceptation while disregarding or discarding the rest as not important or not utilitarian for their own use.
Thus is born – the fifth gospel.
Many millennials gave up most of their faith as freshmen in college. Being subject to intense peer pressure to accept a secularized version of everything, from creation to divinity, they fell like flies.
Trying to fit in and not willing to shun the partying and comraderies of the college crowd finished them off and by the time they decide to re-examine their initial faith, life’s twists and turns have predominated their thinking far to long for a full return to their faith.
It was not much faith to begin with and was no match for trendy, rapidly changing attitudes of the day and the dishonesty inherent in today’s political correctness.
Xer’s were the first to be subjected to the almost subliminal two second graphic messages and sensory bombardments of the digital age.
Millennials are the first to have an entire secular agenda leveled at them by liberal educators, media, Hollywood, political parties and advertisers all at the same time. They are the first casualties of the liberal assault on the minds of an entire generation.
The fifth gospel also emerges as a set of scriptural emphases that are touted and preferred above all of the rest of scripture. The prosperity gospel, name it and claim it and dozens of other movements were born due to overemphasis of certain passages and themes, all while excluding passages that would clarify, and balance the overemphasized passages. Some of these go viral and become cultish and seemingly unstoppable.
The Gospel according to Ecumenicalism
The fifth gospel is also fueled by what is added to the message of the Bible, not as extra-biblical material like the Book of Mormon, but additional material not included in the gospels like Chrislam, and similar elements being stuffed into the message of the gospels as a part of the new ecumenicism.
Almost the entire fifth gospel is a compilation of petted, preferred and eclectically chosen passages or new additions to the gospels. The result is that some people have a caricaturized version of the true gospels that is confused, ineffective and in some cases so perverted that the salvation offered in the real gospels has been overlaid and obscured completely.
The fifth gospel has a ‘form’ and looks very much like the real thing, but in the end it can and does lead the unsuspecting away from the very heart of the true gospel – the salvation of the human soul. Paul warned of it, but like all warnings, especially as we draw close to the last days, it goes unheeded, to wit:
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim 3: 5)
The Gospel According to What Jesus Didn’t Say
Self-justification is as old as man (Pr 12:15) and is limited only by the imagination. In these last days self-justification has reached all new levels of refinement.
The principle is simple; if Christ didn’t say anything about it then it must be OK. Since he did not mention Ponzi schemes, car theft and internet porn, they must all be OK for the believer.
The prime example for today is the argument used to justify homosexuality and so called “gay marriage.” The argument is; since Jesus didn’t speak directly to homosexuality, then he must not see anything wrong with it. This is a classic stretch of the truth to meet the sinfulness of the day.
The Bible shoots down this silly last day’s justification in four simple, but final ways.
1.) Jesus did not speak directly to homosexuality, but he did speak indirectly to it in such a way as to establish forever that it is not what he planned for mankind. It is neither part of nature or of God’s plan for marriage.
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Mt 19: 4-5)
2.) Jesus did not mention the God given law presented in Leviticus 18: 22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination,” because he was actively fulfilling that law with his entire life and ministry. While he came to die for the sins of mankind he also was the first to ever completely fulfill the Old Testament law. Fulfilling the law does not, however, cancel the law!
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5: 17-19)
3.) Leaving behind the apostles to carry on his ministry and clarify every aspect of his message was not a matter of convenience, but it was an act of relegating full authority to them. He clarified this when he told them that whatever they said was the direct equivalent of his own authority. “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” (Lk 10: 16)
When the Apostle Paul detailed the extreme sinfulness of homosexuality in the book of Romans he forever laid to rest any argument to the contrary. Paul spoke under the auspices and full authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If the constable, sheriff or process server shows up at your door with a summons, try telling them that have no plan to respond to the summons – unless the judge comes to deliver it himself. Don’t call me for your bail. Sadly, there is no bail that can deliver us from hell.
4.) The Old Testament Mosaic law was not put in place to drive everyone nuts. It has many purposes among which, is to be our teacher or schoolmarm. It is a reminder and a means of checking our behaviors when questions arise. It is the means by which we can see what God considered to be sin even if his Son did not directly address that particular sin in the gospels.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Ga 3: 24)
We don’t refer back to the Old Testament to make a case against individuals or emerging social groups like homosexuals, but rather we seek only answers from the truth of scriptures.
To reiterate, here is some of that truth.
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Le 18: 22)
Fifth Gospel is Ultimately Destructive
A gospel derived from Jesus’ silence, political correctness and any form of self-justification is doomed, but even worse those that follow it will also be doomed. Wrangling with the scripture to promote our world view of God, sin, and redemption is the game of fools – a very dangerous game.
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Pet 3: 16)
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