Dear Lighthouse Trails,
I left my church of 43 years, because they were promoting books like Ruth Haley Barton’s “Solitude and Silence”; they had built a Labyrinth next to the Memorial garden where my parents ashes lay and were performing mystic rituals along with contemplative prayer and Spiritual Formation. Before I left my church, I met with the pastors 3 times to express my concern. The response from my pastors came back to me with the jest of it being, “Everything we have done has been in a Christian context, so therefore it is ok.” When I first starting researching all of this, the Holy Spirit led me to your website, and I am so grateful for all you do. I have always considered myself a Watchman and believe now, that that is what God has called me to do along with discernment. I have spoken to a lot of the people from my old church, because I have felt God placing their names on my heart. I meet with them to try to warn them of what’s going on and have also directed them to your website.
The latest thing that I have come across is the social gospel. I believe that my old church has been into the seeker-friendly agenda and now are tending to head towards the Emergent church and a social gospel. Every week I go online and listen to the sermon for that week from my old church. I feel like I need to know what they are saying and this brings me to the question that I have. I believe that you have talked about the social gospel before, but I was wondering if you could give your readers more info? My old church seems to be very missional, and the topics for the December sermons are the gifts Jesus brings: Justice, Spirituality, Relationships, and Beauty. The first one was Justice, and the pastor quoted N.T. Wright. When I was listening something didn’t sound right. My other question is, do you know who N.T. Wright is and what he stands for? When I looked it up, there was an article I found that linked together Rob Bell, Oprah and N.T. Wright. I also found that one of his books was published by Willow Creek Media. Scary, I thought!
I want you all to know that I am in a very biblically based church now, one that preaches verse by verse and chapter by chapter. I have never learned so much about the Bible in my life and feel that I was asleep at my old church. I am now trying to be the best Berean I can be and pray to God for wisdom and discernment all the time. Thank you for your ministry and for bringing to light all the false teachings that are out there.
In regard to your question about the “social gospel,” we would recommend the article “Sojourners Founder Jim Wallis’ Revolutionary Anti-Christian “Gospel” (and Will Christian Leaders Stand with Wallis?).” Also, these articles should be helpful in understanding what is meant by social gospel:
What’s Wrong With a More Social Gospel? by Paul Proctor
“Contextualization” of the Gospel – A Free-Falling Catastrophe by Roger Oakland
As for N.T. Wright, while we have read some of his writings (enough to know he resonates with emerging church ideas – e.g., kingdom of God on earth now), we do not presently have any material about him on our research site. We do know, however, that leaders in the emerging church are drawn to his writings and glean from his “theology.”