Our compassion for the problems and suffering of others can tempt us to disobey the word of God.
It is very possible to think that helping others should take precedence over matters of spiritual truth. And that “love” is not bound by any “law”.
But is that really what the Bible says?
Are we truly showing the love of Christ to others if we disobey His word in order to do something in His name?
Or is this some other kind of love altogether?
A New Kind of Love?
This new “love” is at the core of a new social-engagement movement being promoted by our churches.
This engagement is drawing Christians into a new form of the old Social-Gospel. This trend might also be called the “Gospel-Centered” movement.
Which is really just an attempt to re-define the gospel of Christ.
This re-definition is accomplished by shifting the emphasis of our ministries away from specific faith in the specific truths of the word of God.
This movement is also shifting the focus of our churches toward doing more good works for God. By prioritizing good works. Kind works. Loving works. Works that force us to engage with the surrounding culture. And with the world in general.
Doing the “hard things”. Doing works that get us “out of our comfort zones”. As they like to say.
Which, for all practical purposes, means that our gospel is less about faith in Christ and His written words. And more about “proving” our faith in Christ by our works. With the New Testament book of James used as a kind of proof text for this thinking.
By basically ignoring the context and real message behind James’s words.
The Coming Split
This shift has created a dividing line in modern Evangelical churches. And, as this zealous movement grows, it is forcing Christians toward a “Split” in Evangelicalism overall.
Which is a split long overdue.
This dividing line will force Christians to truly define what they believe.
Or, if they refuse to stand against this, and simply go along with the direction their churches are taking, they will eventually wake up to find very little difference between themselves and the apostasy of the mainline denominations. Whose churches, long ago, abandoned the authority of the word of God and embraced a false gospel of works.
A Carnal Gospel
If we don’t define what the gospel truly is, someone else will. There can be no fuzziness or uncertainty about it.
If I would claim that the church’s emphasis should be on feeding the poor, clothing the naked, freeing the oppressed, and bringing help to the world, the focus then moves away from the desperate spiritual needs of men.
It changes the ministry of the church to the carnal instead of the spiritual.
Frankly, many who are moving us in this direction have very sincere, compassionate, and honest motives. They are deeply moved to help people. And they believe the church should be doing more.
Other texts they use to support this trend are found in the gospels – in the many parables and teachings that Jesus gave to his disciples. With special focus on the Sermon on the Mount.
And, to some extent, their concerns have a degree of merit. We cannot close our eyes to the needs of those around us. We cannot close up our “bowels of compassion“. As the Bible says.
But HOW we conduct our ministries is critical. HOW we actually Do This is unimaginably critical to our faithfulness to Christ and to His word.
Above All Else
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14)
We have not been given biblical authority to make alliances and partnerships to solve the problems of the world. In fact, even in the preaching of the gospel of salvation, we are not given the right to do anything that would diminish the clarity or purity of that message.
Even though more people “are reached”. Even though we will have “greater opportunities to do good” if we compromise the word of God in order to make partnerships, and associations, and coalitions.
Even if we believe that through the performance of our good works the lost will be drawn to hear the gospel. Using that as a means to get their attention and earn their trust.
We are not justified in doing something wrong in order to do something right. Our duties to Christ do not conflict.
The Lord must always be first. With faithful obedience to His words always placed above all else.
We must always be sure that our methods are in line with what the Lord has written in His word.
Because that is when we show true love to others.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay