Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
The interpretation of the Bible has much to do with our outlook on the future, and when I say the future I do not mean just our personal goals and personal timelines. I am referring to our efforts in society in relation to our personal walk with God.
When we see our responsibilities involve molding our society in order to facilitate the kingdom of God and his coming we can become quite radical.
The amillennial approach to Scriptural interpretation which means [no pretribulation
Rapture of the Church to heaven; no literal seven year tribulation period and no physical kingdom of Christ for 1,000 years here on earth, opens the door to a broad misuse of Scripture and even to radical movements. This theological approach to Scripture interpretation leaves broad passages and chapters of Scripture; even entire books of the Bible open to apply to just about anyone. Though there are many believers who love the Lord who follow this theological model, their are as many if not more who follow this model who are not believers who work hard in applying these same Scriptures to support good works opposed to divine justice.
Today the push for social justice, which includes a plethora of liberal agendas, is dismissing prophetic Scripture and a theology of biblical justice; something unfortunately some Christians are doing ignorantly.
Biblical justice promises God’s fair and righteous intervention into the affairs of mankind. It also pronounces the declarations of God upon the sins of mankind; sins which liberal minded folks either support or have no opinion. When a believer shares his or her biblical viewpoints on sin the liberal accuses us of intolerance and bigotry.
The New Gospel
Socialist ideology lies beneath its veneer movement today which has been labeled, liberation theology. This is a view of God from a Marxist perspective. This theology espouses and promotes activism at a grass roots level to rid the world of all inequalities; to bring down the mighty and lift up the lowly. It seeks to strip away all things that inhibit an individual’s personal happiness, even if that happiness is an abomination against God. It seeks the redistribution of wealth not only nationally, but internationally. It seeks a return to pristine environments both ecologically, economically and socially. It seeks to transform the world into a world where mankind lives without labels and conscience; it has become the new morality.
Social justice has become the new gospel. After all who can argue that it is wrong for people to go hungry, or go without medical care? Who can argue that big corporations are overstuffed with wealth and power? Capitalism truly has its downside, but only when the pursuit for things violates the rights of the worker and the public. There are laws to govern this part of society.
Liberation theology seeks more than fairness. Liberation theology’s idea of fairness is equality at all levels of society. However, inequality is a part of life. Some have the means to have more; does that mean they are wrong, or that they are bad? Some have the education to make more money and live in nicer homes and have much of what others envy, is that bad? Some have risen to ranks of power in government because they have the money to run a big campaign, is that fair?
The question is rather, what’s unfair about these things? To have things is not wrong, but to covet what others have is wrong.
Is to covet what others have somehow justified now as a social justice.
Is the sin of covetousness which is idolatry, no longer an offense to God? Is this part of the new gospel where taking away from those who have, to give to those who have not? Is the government only for the poor and uneducated?
Liberation theology finds its source in Latin America. It was spawned by radical Catholic priests and nuns as they saw the injustices of their political leaders. A connection was made by theologians to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the movement took root. They quote the passage from Matt.25:31-46 as the basis for their militant social movements to rid the world of all injustices. The passage is taken out of context and it has become a religious platform for social reform. This is not the first time the Bible has been quoted to start a movement. The Matthew passage listed is contextually argued over by all theologians. With an amillennialist interpretation of this passage these verses unfortunately play into the hands of the liberation movement, and theology.
Supporters of liberation theology see Jesus Christ in the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned, and to help them in any way becomes the path to one being ushered into the kingdom of God, Matt.25:40 and all others are as goats and as such are cast into hell, Matt.25:46. They center their great works and movements around those oppressed and they strain to find a connection and solidarity with the oppressed in this world, yet they quite often ignore why so many in the world are in poverty, Ps.107:10-11, 33; Prov.1:24-32.
From a pretribulation, premillennial, literal approach to Scripture we interpret this passage in Matthew’s gospel much differently both in relation to time and to persons. The time in which we find this setting, which is noted in Matt.25:31 is the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the seven year tribulation period when he gathers all those still alive after Armageddon. The time of this passage is not in this present age, though we should help those less fortunate as noted in this passage, it is still not our gospel. The people being addressed do not live in this present day of the Church age.
In relation to the people addressed in this biblical passage Jesus Christ gathers them and separates them into two classes of humanity, lost and saved. The lost will prove they are lost when they refuse to aid the tribulation saints with comfort and refuge. To aid saints in the tribulation period will bring certain death, and those who refuse to help are lost people are called goats by our Lord.
Souls who are qualified to receive and do receive Jesus Christ during the seven year tribulation period,[which by the way follows the rapture of all born again believers to heaven] ; these folks will assist and help any one in need of comfort including the Jews. To help a fellow believer out demonstrates love of the brethren, a sure sign of one who is born again, I Jn.3:14. During the tribulation period Jesus Christ’s followers will be the objects of attack both socially and politically as they are becoming even today, simply for standing together in the word of God and for standing with Israel.
The unsaved will not stand by Christians nor will they stand by Israel during the tribulation period.
A Theology of Diverse World Religious Beliefs
Liberation theology is mostly a universal theology where different beliefs find common ground in helping the less fortunate. The struggle for the poor then becomes the cause for unity among differing faiths. It has become the new gospel of salvation.
It just so happens that this deceptive approach to worshipping God finds teachings of different faiths to be common.
“In Asia and Africa theologians have paid particular attention to the significance of other religions histories and traditions for Christian church identity, calling in some cases for a new baptismal immersion of Christian identity within the histories of non-Christian religiosities.” Christian Histories, Christian Traditioning, Dale T. Irvin. p.51.
The blending of different faiths leads down the broad path to destruction as a gospel of works rather than a gospel of grace. It becomes a gospel supported by the color green, not the color of crimson red. Large crowds come to listen to speakers lecture on the ills of society, and biblical passages are opened up and the name of Christ is interjected as the cause for their message and movements. But the true gospel with the reason for the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection is somehow lost in translation and a gospel of social activism has replaced it leaving thousands upon thousands still groping in the darkness for eternal salvation. They are still just as lost in sin as they were when they entered the groups and chapels for their meetings. They are led to believe if salvation is possible they must follow the path of Christ in straightening out the crooked generation in which they live.
Their dispensational fix on the passages they preach is skewed to fit their model of Christianity. Their salvation is one of works which eventually blends with other faiths. Sooner or later they will become deluded into thinking Jesus Christ isn’t the only way of eternal salvation, and why? Because if they think He is the “only way” they will be labeled themselves as religious bigots. The last thing they want is to be an outcast among their peers.
Unsound doctrinal and hermeneutical practices of biblical interpretation always leads to distracted motives and worship of humanistic ideals, ideals that isolate men more from God than ever before.
Beware of those who urge a strong commitment to social justice above the message of the cross of Christ. Beware of those who deride Bible doctrine as being divisive to the body of Christ. Those who seek a unity based on the human condition alone will always exclude or at least minimize the authority of God’s word. This can never end well.
The answer is to stick to sound biblical instruction and let God sort out the details. Help those whom you can help, but never scrap the revealed plan of God in the Scriptures to advance the plans of man.