Can The Social Gospel Save American Christianity?
Hello everyone, I’m Hank Wilson and welcome to another episode of Living a True Christian Life. This is a production of the Christian Life Gospel Ministry. Today’s episode is entitled, Can the Social Gospel Save Christianity? Wait What? Why? Is Christianity in danger of disappearing? Well, while it may not disappear completely, it sure is being corrupted into something the early church fathers would not recognize.
This has been heavy on my mind not only recently but also for years, almost since I started sharing the message of the Resurrected Christ. What’s the burr under my saddle, or the pebble in my shoe? It’s how so many people see Christianity, and how so many preach types of Christianity that just aren’t valid. They are in fact, the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. They are actively corrupting the messages of Jesus.
First let me be perfectly clear, I am NOT talking about denominational differences. I am not throwing shade at any of the formal denominations, either conservative or liberal. I am talking about two types of Christianity, which are very popular today and which are mostly spread by independent preachers, who are in it for the money and/or power.
I’m also going to talk about another type that is much closer to the original Christianity and thankfully seems to be growing in popularity and that might be the answer as to how we can save Christianity.
. The first two branches, which produce nothing, but bad fruit are the Prosperity gospel and Christian Nationalism (the lust for power gospel). I’ve spoken about both the prosperity gospel and Christian nationalism and how I believe they are built on misusing scripture. How I believe that those who preach those theologies built their system on taking bits and pieces from the bible that they then twist to fit. They also conveniently ignore the actual Gospels and most often focus on teachings they find in the Old Testament.
I’ve already described the prosperity gospel as one that teaches God is an ATM machine and is part of the false teaching about manifestation. Christian nationalism is something that is also completely the opposite of what Jesus taught because it calls for Christians, especially American Christians, to seek power over others. In America it is a natural offshoot of what is called Manifest Destiny. It is not a theological teaching; it is all about political power and justifying actions and a lust for power and it is not new.
From 1845 to 1865, America operated under the concept of Manifest Destiny put forth by John L O’Sullivan in 1845, in which he writes, “…the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions”. Although written as a defense of admitting Texas into the Union, the article also touched on the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon over all others. It was used to justify genocide against native Americans, discrimination against Mexicans, and slavery. Manifest Desitny is the belief that Americans had a God given right to the country, that God had somehow created the continent that the United States is on, specifically for white Christians to inhabit, regardless of the fact that people had been living here for thousands of years before any of the newcomers arrived. It had immense ramifications throughout the 1800s and 1900s and even in some areas, it reverberates to this day. Whenever you hear a politician talk about how America is a “Christian Nation” and that Americans are the chosen ones, you are hearing someone endorsing Manifest Destiny and using it to justify their mistreatment of those who don’t agree with them or who they believe are not their equals. If we follow this reasoning, then we must believe that Jesus came to establish an earthly kingdom. However, that is directly the opposite of what he taught.
In fact, when He was asked about that very concept, we find in John 18:36, that He replied, “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
Not only did He deny seeking worldly political power, but He also actively taught us not to focus on worldly things. We read in Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” How does this apply to us today? As Christians we have been tasked with spreading the word about Jesus. We are to focus on living a life that brings glory to God. We are to be examples of how to live. Over the years many have distorted that idea into something much like, we must force people to obey, we must tell them that they are on their way to hell if they don’t do exactly what we tell them to do. We must be strict and punish everyone who doesn’t follow along with us, folks that’s NOT what Jesus taught. In Matthew 5:13-16 we read, “13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Let your light shine. Now works alone will not get any person into heaven, good works will however, reflect on you as someone who truly understands that mandate that Jesus laid out for us. There is NO PLACE in the Gospels where Jesus, or any of his disciples, said, that upon judgement, God will ask you how much money you made. He won’t ask you how many cars or trucks you bought. He won’t ask you how big your house was. He won’t ask you how many books you banned. He won’t ask you how high up the political ladder you climbed. This is where the teachings of the social gospel come into play. What God will want to know when we face Him is clearly spelled out in Matthew 25:31-46 entitled The Judgment – “31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”” Think about that for a moment, everything in that piece of scripture, tells you EXACTLY what we, as followers of Jesus, are supposed to do.
We are to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We are NOT to shuttle them aside as if they are so much trash that gets in our way. Remember, He will say, 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
Folks it’s time we put aside all the phonies, all the feel-good theologies and return to the basics. It’s time we got back to being Christians. That’s going to do it for today, thank you for taking the time to listen.
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Until next time, be nice to each other, reach out to those less fortunate and may, God Bless and peace y’all