|THE NEW JESUS|
AND A LOVE CALLED TOLERANCE
by Paul Proctor
Have you heard? There's a new Jesus in town and he brings with him a NEW gospel message. It is a message that teaches a permissive kind of love...a love called "tolerance"...a love that hears no evil, sees no evil and frankly never brings evil up for discussion lest the offenders become the offended. Discussing the evil in our world, that is the sinful nature of man, is a risky venture nowadays, especially for any Christian or church seeking to be loved and accepted BY that world. But then that's not really the great commission, is it...that you and I go out into the world and seek its love and acceptance in the name of Jesus? No, the bible assures us that because of Christ the world will hate us.
John 15:19 says: "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
We cannot pursue both the love and acceptance of the world and be the "living sacrifice" God calls us to be. That's two entirely different agendas. If we try to carry out both simultaneously the two will eventually conflict forcing us to choose between them. Today's seeker-sensitive church growth movement is, in my estimation, the unfortunate result of such choices. A healthy church simply preaches repentance and faith in Christ and trusts God for the outcome.
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15)
You see the great commission involves a good news/bad news kind of message. To preach repentance we have to make perfectly clear what it is God expects man to repent of. We can no longer assume that the lost know they are sinners, especially among today's adolescents who are growing up in an increasingly scripture-free environment. Yet, more often than not, that is exactly what we do. We forget that today's young are coming of age in a much different world than most of us did...a country where biblical instruction like the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount have been strategically replaced with a multicultural value system. Multiculturalism basically means almost anything and everything is permissible.
So, how can one repent of sin if he or she is never taught what sin is? This is the bad news part of the message we are called to proclaim and more often than not what makes being a faithful witness for Christ in this day and time such a challenge. After all, there's really nothing that dangerous or difficult about telling someone "Jesus loves you", especially if you're talking about the NEW Jesus. But, those who endeavor faithfully to present the bad news concerning "the wages of sin", as well as the good news about "The Way the Truth and the Life", will likely be marked and marginalized as narrow-minded extremists who "promote negativity" and intolerance. Unfortunately, these accusations come not just from secular society but from those who embrace the new Jesus and preach the gospel of tolerance. This, I believe is why the church is in such a decline today, because we don't want our relationships, our reputations and our rosters to suffer over an ugly little three letter word called "sin", even for the cause of Christ.
Unfortunately, without the bad news the good news has little or no effect. That is the primary reason for the Law and the prophets and men like John the Baptist who preceded our Lord's coming with stern and intolerant warnings like, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of God is at hand!" Those warnings and commandments from God were given to prepare a lost world to receive the Lamb of God and must continue to prepare His way in our sermons, our Sunday schools, our bible studies and our personal witnessing so that the Good News of God's forgiveness in Christ Jesus will be recognized for the Amazing Grace that it is. Like my pastor says, "you can't know you're saved until you know that you're lost" and it is those intolerant commandments that have become increasingly ignored over the last half of the 20th century that show the lost just how lost they really are. These divine precepts were specifically designed by God to prick the conscience of fallen man and inform him of his sinful condition under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit so that somewhere down the road of life he might turn to Jesus Christ for a salvation he could not earn. We already know as believers that trying to keep those laws as a means of salvation is erroneous and impossible. That's legalism...the failed religion of the Scribes and Pharisees. However, if the lost are never confronted with God's absolutes how can they know they've erred? How can they understand their separation from Him? It is an exercise in futility to offer forgiveness to someone who is ignorant of his or her own guilt. One cannot begin a relationship with Christ under an assumption of innocence.
This is why we have such insanity in our schools today and why Jesus is mocked by the MTV generation. Young men who commit heinous crimes like those of Littleton, Colorado have no fear of God because the world around them has no fear of God even though the bible clearly teaches that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" and "the beginning of wisdom." So, they act on the values or lack of values that the WORLD has taught them. In most cases, commandments like "Thou shall not kill" are nowhere to be found anymore for young people like these to refer to. The bottom line is; they're simply not exposed to anyone or anything that provides moral boundaries and statutes for them to follow and learn right from wrong, which probably explains why we see so little grief or remorse on their faces when they turn schoolyards into killing fields. Life is just meaningless entertainment to them...an interactive game of mock survival where right and wrong simply doesn't exist.
As most of you know a concerted effort was made decades ago to remove the Ten Commandments from every schoolhouse and courthouse in America? There was an agenda at work. It wasn't to stop legalism or uphold the separation of Church and state. That was merely a front. It was to undermine the gospel and make the grace of God IRRELEVANT so that one day when generation X Y & Z came along and someone from your church walked up to them and said God loves you and wants to forgive you, they'd respond by saying "FORGIVE ME...FOR WHAT? I didn't do anything wrong. I'm no worse than anyone else! You're just being intolerant!
You see, the workers of iniquity who planned this culture of death we now find ourselves in didn't busy themselves trying to rid the world of Jesus back there in the 60's although they did manage to re-fashion him into something of a flower child. They concentrated on getting rid of the word "sin", making it a socially unacceptable word so that eventually our society as a whole would see no real value in the forgiveness that comes through Christ. After all, who needs grace when there is no sin? And if there is no sin, then there must be no Hell. So, if there is no Hell then why should we fear God? As a result, being the "salt of the Earth" is now viewed as a threat to the unity and diversity of our culture...a culture that is drowning in an artificially manufactured self-esteem based on moral relativism. To be intolerant of another's sin is now considered to be the greatest sin of all...if not the ONLY sin. But you see, that's just what the NEW Jesus is all about...tolerance...a tolerance that embraces almost any behavior and lifestyle...that celebrates a diversity of beliefs for the purpose of promoting a convoluted unity that brings anyone and everyone together under a universal god...a god that recognizes EQUALLY, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Isis, Lucifer and even the god of self...whatever might stimulate the senses or stir one's emotions in some meaningful way. Sound good? It does to the carnal man...the man whose passion is peace and prosperity. This is the NEW Jesus and the new gospel called "tolerance". The "old" Jesus...the TRUE Son of God, said, "If ye love me keep my commandments".
We see the new Jesus everywhere. He's on our television set manifesting himself through the feelings, imaginations, experiences and emotions of celebrities, psychologists, talk-show hosts, authors, musicians, spirit guides and psychic readers. He's in the movies sensualizing the faith of Christians with a narcissistic philosophy that re-interprets scriptures like: "I can do all things through Christ" so that it means, "I can do anything that makes me feel good in Jesus' name". This NEW Jesus teaches that the end justifies the means...that whatever we say or do that attracts people to us or our church MUST be God's will...because what's good for the numbers is good for God. So we end up telling the lost what they WANT to hear instead of what they NEED to hear and then call THAT "love".
But, Proverbs 14:12 reminds us: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
Here's what the Apostle Paul had to say about the NEW Jesus in 2nd Corinthians 11:2-4:
"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
You see...Paul was telling them that he was concerned that this NEW Jesus, this NEW spirit, this NEW gospel that some were preaching might actually carry them away. Why would he be concerned? They knew better. Paul taught them better. He was concerned because they tolerated it. They held their peace, listened to the lie, voiced no opposition and took no stand against it. And it is a proven fact that if you lie about something long enough people will eventually believe it, no matter how absurd that lie is. And, I submit to you that many Christians in America today, in our own life and times, are themselves being carried away by a NEW Jesus preaching tolerance.
"...If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:9)