Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Where Does the Social Gospel Come From?

Separating the Goats from the Sheep

“31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them {the sheep} on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren {the Jews}, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand {the goats}, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they {the goats} also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them {the goats}, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these {the goats} shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:31-46).

This is a remarkable portion of Scripture detailing a prophecy by Christ of a future event. It is a prophecy with great detail, yet it is a prophecy that is greatly misunderstood. This is the central text used to establish what has come to be known as the Social Gospel. The Social Gospel is a movement within Protestant Christianity (primarily led by Presbyterianism, but followed by most denominations later, including Catholicism) that began to develop in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It is more of a political movement than it is theological. It might be better called Christian Socialism.

In the context of an Amillennial world view, Liberal Theology began to adopt Karl Marx’s philosophies of Social Economics as its main emphasis in ushering in a utopian kingdom (thereby birthing the Social Gospel). Marx viewed the means of the sociological progression of the implementation of his economic theory through two eyes; sociological revolution and sociological evolution (this is what the word PROGRESSIVE means to a political liberal). Marx viewed society (the Social Economy) in two categories:

1. Proletariat is the lower class of producers; laborers or wage earners
2. Bourgeoisie is the upper/middle class of consumers that take capital or profit from what is produced by the labor class thereby exploiting the labor class for personal gain

Marx’s economic theory was primarily intent on equalizing the distribution of capital (Product) between all classes and thereby eliminating those classes (or equalizing them). Religious Liberals took up Marx’s PROGRESSIVE evolutionary economic theory and adapted it to their Amillennial view. They saw the scientific advances in the world as the means to the end of all poverty and sickness; a utopian Kingdom on earth advanced by humanity (Humanism). A Liberal, Socialist Baptist pastor, named Harry Emerson Fosdick in the Cole Lectures for 1922 delivered before Vanderbilt University (Christianity And Progress; a series of six lectures) said,

“When, then, we find the minds of men first throwing off their intellectual vassalage to antiquity and beginning to believe in themselves, their present powers and their future prospects, it is this new found mastery over nature’s latent resources which is the spring and fountain of their confidence.”
Marx’s REVOLUTION View for social change is known as Communism. His EVOLUTION View of social change is known as Socialism. The Revolution View proposed the radical and violent overthrow of the structure of a society in order to force the institution of this economic theory through a totalitarian governance of that society. His Evolution View (Marxist Reconstructionism) proposed the gradual institution of this economic theory through the Democratic process (Progressive; this is what is going on in Political Liberalism).

From this revelation, the Marxist Revisionism (Reconstructionism) of the late 1800’s began to develop. In the 1890’s Sidney and Beatrice Webb founded the Fabian Socialist Society. This was known as Federalism in Europe and New Dealism in the United States of America. Notice the key terms in their agenda:
“They avowed a NON-REVOLUTIONARY, GRADUALIST policy to attain a highly organized DEMOCRATIC state socialism by way of SCHOLARLY demonstration, brilliant PROPAGANDA, and PERMEATION of established political and influential organization.”

In Religious/Political Liberalism, Secular Humanism (Non-theism) married Marxist Reconstructionism (the evolution of Marx’s socialist economic theory). These two have been made “one flesh.” Religious Liberalism (Socialism) invented the Social Gospel as its means to achieve Marx’s evolutionary view for social change (Reconstructionism and Redistribution). This became a major part of what Religious Liberalism and Secular Humanism have come to refer to as Social Planning. This is progressively (gradually) moving societies toward Marx’s redistribution economic philosophy.

Matthew 25:31-46 has been singled out by theological liberals and misinterpreted to try to give Biblical credibility to this redistribution economic philosophy. Of course, they take this portion of Scripture completely out of its eschatological context in its primary reference to the Jews during the seven year Tribulation on earth.

In order to understand this text, we must see it in its proper timetable of future events. Then, we must identify the characters in the word portrait Christ paints before us. Matthew 25:31 tells us when and where this prophecy will be fulfilled. The timetable for the fulfillment of this prophecy is the second coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom. Therefore, this is not the Great White Throne and there is no resurrection of the dead involved. This is on earth just prior to the beginning of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on Earth. There are five phrases used to define the characters in the scene before us.

1. The Son of Man (referring to Jesus Christ, the incarnate, glorified Son of God)
2. The Holy Angels (the executioners of God’s wrath; II Thessalonians 1:7-10)
3. The Sheep
4. The Goats
5. The Brethren

The subject of the text centers around dividing the Sheep from the Goats by what they have done for the Brethren just prior to Christ’s return to establish His Kingdom on Earth. The world events just prior to the second coming of Christ are the events surrounding the rise of the Antichrist after the rapture of the Church Age saints. This is the seven year Tribulation that begins right after the rapture of the Church Age saints. Therefore, the first thing we must understand is who the Brethren are.

The Brethren could possibly refer to all Jews living during the Tribulation. The Antichrist, as the leader of the New Babylon (Muslim nations), will seek to annihilate the nation of Israel. The Brethren may refer more specifically to the 144,000 Jews sealed by Christ at about the middle of the seven year Tribulation. These 144,000 Jews, along with Christ’s “two witnesses,” will preach the gospel of the Kingdom primarily to the nation of Israel and the vast majority of the Jews will accept Jesus as their Messiah and will be “born again.” The Antichrist will make every effort to have them killed.
“1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (Revelation 7:1-4).

The Antichrist will seek to kill them by keeping them from being able to buy or sell. He will initiate an international identification system where anyone wanting to buy or sell must take a number in their hands or in their foreheads. Those unwilling to take the “mark” of the Beast will not be able to buy food, water, medical care, clothing, or housing/shelter. Those that will not take the mark of the Beast will be sought out to be imprisoned and, eventually, murdered. Many believers from all nations of the world will give their lives to protect these Jews from the Antichrist’s executioners. (Which nations execute people by cutting off their heads?)
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

This text refers to the believers who died during the Tribulation. There will be many Gentile believers during the Tribulation who will somehow survive the last three and a half years when the Antichrist’s numerical system of identification will be instituted. These are the individuals Christ refers to as the Sheep in Matthew 25:33. They somehow will be able to develop some kind of underground networking to get food, water, shelter, clothing and medical care. Yet, even in this extreme situation, they will extend the love of God to the Jews (Christ’s Brethren) by providing them with food, water, shelter, clothing and medical care. Christ spoke of uniting Gentile believers with Jewish believers into “one fold” one day.
“14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

At the second coming of Christ, Jesus will establish His Millennial Throne in Jerusalem. The first event of His Sovereignty on Earth will be the judgment of the nations. This refers to those who survive the seven year tribulation. During this seven year period of time, God will release His restraint upon the forces of evil in the world thereby releasing God’s wrath through this means. The “prince of power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) will use this opportunity to try to annihilate mankind from the face of the Earth. Apparently, God will put His hand of protection around many of both Gentile and Jewish believers. For sure we know that everyone of the 144,000 Jews sealed earlier during the Tribulation are protected because we find them on Mt. Zion with Christ at His second coming.
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1).

In all of this horror, we are reminded of Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3:2, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy." In God’s protection and restoration of the nation of Israel, He certainly does “remember mercy.” Yet, this mercy is magnified by the horrors of His wrath in Revelation 19:11-16 where we find those who have rejected God’s love and grace extended to them in the Gospel of Jesus and who “after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” The “day of wrath” has come for those on the earth who rejected Christ during the Tribulation and who refused to give aid to His Brethren.
“11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).

The Goats will be separated from the Sheep and they will finally taste the wine of God’s wrath. God will separate the Goats from the Sheep and will slay the Goats with the “sharp sword” that goes “out of His mouth.” The Goats will be killed by the spoken Word of God coming from the mouth of Jesus Christ. The “beast and the false prophet” will be cast alive into the “lake of fire.” The Goats will be slain by the “sword” that “proceeded out of his mouth.”
“20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant {the Goats} were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:20-21).

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Christian and Alcohol

I would highly recommend this message by Dr. Chuck Phelps on The Christian and Alcohol.

Dr. Phelps is the President of Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, WI.

We thank the Lord for a man who is willing to be dogmatic about this issue when most of our schools are unwilling to do so. Many of the professed Young Fundamentalists are coming out of our Baptist Bible Colleges with a drink in moderation position.
Click Here to hear the message

I would encourage forwarding the link to others.