The Tragic Consequences of the
Christian Unity Movement
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
This Commentary May Contain Offensive Material
We make the following statement due to the controversial and emotional nature of this study. Rock of Offence is not a church and does not promote a particular fellowship or denomination. We take a literal view of the Holy Scriptures and embrace the call of a watchman as a responsibility God gives to all ministers of His Word. When studying the New Testament Scriptures, the “good news” of Christ’s freely given redemption is on display for all to see ("freely given" is a term that originates from the word Grace or the unmerited and undeserved favor of God). Yet, for various reasons (none of them good), a shocking number of church leaders and their followers "twist Scripture" (or abuse the context of the Bible), which redefines the salvation of Christ into something that God says He does not honor or respect. Saint Paul condemns this practice and calls the redefined teaching, "a different gospel of Christ". Stop and think about the serious eternal consequences connected to this practice. The authentic, yet divisive salvation teachings from the Bible are often treated as unimportant differences of opinion that should be set aside because they cause division. Yet, God warns that we are led astray in our faith by these erroneous and modified teachings, which are used in their place.
We do not present our Bible commentaries and studies to deliberately offend readers. However, when eternal consequences are involved, sounding a warning, no matter how offensive, is necessary. A person’s spiritual life could unknowingly be at risk. Many people, churches, denominations, movements and organizations that call themselves “Christian” do not represent the New Testament redemptive program of Jesus Christ or our Heavenly Father. As a result, some people won’t learn about their true spiritual condition until it’s too late. Many believe that God has some special obligation to honor their personal religious beliefs just because they appear to be from the Bible. This is a spiritually lethal assumption and will end in disaster for millions of church members. Due to the influence of certain erroneous systems of theology, the Bible is easily misinterpreted and misrepresented. Often this is done to advance the personal agenda of a particular leader (or an entire denomination). It’s been an ongoing problem for hundreds of years. Misleading doctrine and religious deception operates under many different good-looking (and "feel good") Biblical disguises, which crosses all denominational lines. Our Lord Jesus Christ used offensive teachings as a way to get His audience’s attention concerning these dangers, which are skillfully hidden in popular religious doctrine and cultural beliefs. That’s why this website carries the name “Rock of Offence”. It was one of the titles given to Jesus Christ, who is the original "Rock of Offence" (1 Peter 2:6-10).
Most of our readers know that we focus our commentaries on the spiritual threats operating inside the world-wide Christian Church. It’s impossible to cover all of these issues because there are so many. For this reason, we choose to look at a few of the most dangerous. One such threat is corrupting and redefining Christ’s salvation. Saint Paul suggested that this was one of the worst sins committed by spiritual leadership because it brings a curse on their ministry (Galatians 1:6-8). Why? When the principles that govern salvation are changed into something God does not honor, we can be living under the illusion that we possess salvation--when we don’t. We can proudly call ourselves “a Bible believer”, yet unknowingly interpret and believe the Bible wrong. Concerning the Gospel of Christ, which tells us how to obtain eternal life, this is not a trivial issue. Never let anyone tell you that the different beliefs about salvation are only a “difference of opinion” that should be set aside. It’s a matter that involves heaven and hell, eternal life or eternal death.
The most common method used to redefine Christ’s salvation
is through distorting context. The reader can obtain more
information at the following link.
A Warning About Violating Biblical Context
Well intentioned, yet misled leaders within the institutional church are increasing their efforts to grow their numbers. They call it “unity” and openly claim that it’s God’s highest priority. Since the church is now clearly in decline (their wrong teachings played a part in this disaster), certain ministers are getting desperate. We recently learned that a popular Midwestern church leader, who was trying to start a revival, made the following statement to the congregation;
“We must set aside our disagreements over Scripture and come together. Unifying the church is more important to God than doctrine.”
A vast majority of disagreements among professing Christians occur over the true nature of Christ’s Salvation (or the Gospel). Christ’s freely offered blood-bought salvation is the most assaulted truth in the Bible because it’s so divisive and offensive to overly religious people and their leaders. That means it’s a major target of the unity movement, which thrives on eliminating or minimizing the offensive truths of Scripture. The modern church has splintered into many different factions and denominations over this one issue alone. If we are taught a wrong salvation doctrine, it’s possible to miss out on heaven, while sincerely believing that we’re walking in a way that’s “pleasing to God”. This common spiritual condition is horrible and unthinkable. If I attended a church or fellowship that preached such a message, I would immediately reevaluate my involvement. Why? Statements like the one made by this church leader expose the fact that they’re operating in a way that opposes God’s revealed will. You can call it a “revival” if you want. But, it’s not God’s revival. When you set aside doctrine (especially divisive salvation doctrine) to obtain unity, you may no longer have a church by God’s definition. All that remains is a religious social club that makes you feel good, has good worship music, but fails to provide salvation ACCORDING TO GOD’S NEW COVENANT DEFINITION.
The New Covenant is called "the new and living way of Christ" established on His blood (Read: Matt. 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 8:6-13, Heb. 9:15, Heb. 10:19-23, Heb. 12:24).
The Unity movement is also known by other names and labels such as; Church growth, Christian tolerance and being “seeker sensitive”. Some of these names are specifically chosen for psychological reasons.
For example, if you’re a Christian believer and correctly say that Scriptural truth is more important than unity, you’re considered “intolerant” of those who might not agree. If you’re a church member who believes that the Gospel should not be compromised to appease those who are seeking to know more about God, you run the risk of being called insensitive and unloving. Many are enticed to join churches through the practice of removing, hiding or redefining the more offensive parts of the Bible. Jesus Christ and the early church leadership condemned such practices because it distorts a person’s perception of God, which can cause disillusionment in their relationship with Him later on. Spiritualizing, redefining or minimizing the literal truths of the Bible does much harm to the faith of the believer.
The True Gospel of Christ Offends
Religiously Minded People Because
It Only Offers Eternal Life One Way
In his book entitled, “Today's Gospel-Authentic or Synthetic?” Christian writer Walter Chantry offers some insightful comments about this problem.
"Having accepted the theory that unity is all-important for world evangelism, both the Church and the individual must lower their estimate of the value of truth. In a large congress on evangelism we could not insist on a truth of God's Word that would offend any brother evangelical. After all, unity (among Christians) is more essential than doctrinal preciseness."
Chantry continues. . .
"It is for just this reason that the mission boards are hesitant to answer the question, "What is the Gospel?" Thoroughly to answer that would destroy the mission society, which is a federation of churches who have differing answers to that question. To adopt the position of one church would be to lose the support of five others. THE WHOLE SYSTEM BUILT ON UNITY AND GENERALITY WOULD CRUMBLE”
[ End Quote ]
Note: Providing this information on our website
should not necessarily be interpreted as complete
agreement with all the theology, eschatology or
political views of Walter Chantry.
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Christ’s salvation, as revealed through the New Testament gives the following warning:
"I MARVEL THAT YOU ARE TURNING AWAY SO SOON FROM HIM WHO CALLED YOU IN THE GRACE OF CHRIST, TO A DIFFERENT GOSPEL, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. BUT EVEN IF WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL TO YOU THAN WHAT WE HAVE PREACHED TO YOU, LET HIM BE ACCURSED." (Galatians 1:6-8 NKJV -- Emphasis Added)
"You have become estranged (separated/cutoff/alienated) from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; YOU HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE." (Galatians 5:4 -- Emphasis Added)
"For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10)
"FOR AS MANY AS ARE OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW ARE UNDER THE CURSE; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” BUT THAT NO ONE IS JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW IN THE SIGHT OF GOD IS EVIDENT, for “the just shall live by faith.” YET THE LAW IS NOT OF FAITH..." (Galatians 3:10-12 -- Emphasis Added)
"Therefore BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW NO FLESH WILL BE JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT". (Romans 3:20 -- Emphasis Added)
"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: FOR IF RIGHTEOUSNESS COME BY THE LAW, THEN CHRIST IS DEAD IN VAIN (THE WORD "VAIN" MEANS THAT CHRIST'S DEATH BECOMES MEANINGLESS)." (Galatians 2:19-21 NKJV Emphasis Mine)
Once again, we repeat another often ignored warning;
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12 KJV)
This Old Testament Scripture warns us about a universal principle concerning the deceptive nature of religious error--it always carries the illusion of coming from God and His Word. This Scripture from Proverbs accurately describes the current and tragic condition of the modern institutional church.
Does God Always Want To
According to the Scriptures quoted above (and many others) the Bible does not support the ideology of the popular unity and church growth movement. Setting aside controversial and divisive Scriptural truth in order to entice the public, please a congregation and obtain unity IS NOT GOD’S HIGHEST GOAL BECAUSE HE OPPOSES SUCH PRACTICES. There are many toxic church organizations, denominations and movements that God does not want “unified” with His Church. Just because a church or movement carries a Christian name or label doesn’t necessarily mean it comes from or represents the Lord Jesus Christ. It could be representing the worldly career desires of the minister, evangelist, and pastor or leadership team. According to Proverbs, it’s easy to travel on the pathway to spiritual death, while believing you are walking in the ways of God. Jesus called it “the wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction”. But, He also said that “the way to life was a narrow way”. Under the New Covenant, we might look at Christ’s warning like this; the way of obtaining His salvation (eternal life) would not be popular with the majority. It’s unpopular--not because it’s too hard. It’s unpopular because the Bible refers to eternal life as God’s gift (Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 6:23). It’s so simple a young child can easily exercise the faith necessary to obtain this blessing. This Scriptural truth alone violates the cherished yet false traditions of many overly religious people that populate the institutional church. When critics accuse those who seek to walk in the truth of Christ as being “narrow minded”, it should be taken as a compliment.
Many church members claim to be “fundamental Bible believers” yet interpret and believe the Bible wrong. Contrary to popular thinking, GOD DOES NOT HONOR a wrong or out-of-context interpretation of His Word. Just because you (or an entire congregation or denomination) choose to incorrectly believe the Bible according to some popular traditional theology does not obligate God to respect your wrong beliefs. This is a spiritually lethal assumption that millions of professing Christians make. That’s why the apostle Paul’s warning about “testing ourselves” is so important.
"EXAMINE YOURSELVES AS TO WHETHER YOU ARE IN THE FAITH. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – UNLESS INDEED YOU ARE DISQUALIFIED." (2 Corinthians 13:5—Emphasis Added)
This Scripture gives us some uncomfortable things to consider.
It’s possible to be a professing Christian, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
It’s possible to be a good practicing Catholic, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
It’s possible to be a good Protestant, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
It's possible to call yourself an Evangelical, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
It’s possible to call yourself a Bible believer, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
It’s possible to call yourself a Christian fundamentalist, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
It’s possible to call yourself a Calvinist, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
It’s possible to believe in “Historic Christianity”, YET NOT BE IN THE FAITH OF CHRIST.
Do We See A Pattern Here?
According to the New Testament epistles of Saint Paul, understanding the specific truth that keeps us from being cut off from Christ carries God’s highest priority. Having both truth and unity is always desirable. But, if we must choose--and most of the time we are faced with this choice--GOD IS ALWAYS ON THE SIDE OF TRUTH (HIS WORD UNDERSTOOD IN ITS CORRECT CONTEXT). It’s wise to be on His side regardless of who is offended. The New testament is full of stories where a small group of believers correctly stood against a majority of religious people who were offended and enraged at their teaching. Jesus was crucified mainly because He would not yeild to the religious leaders (and their followers) of His day. The New Testament warns that choosing one of the many wrong, yet popular salvation doctrines (or designing a “generic gospel” that everyone can agree on) causes that person or group to be separated (cut off) from Christ WITHOUT KNOWING IT. What good is it--if we achieve unity, yet alienate ourselves from Christ and His salvation in the process? This is the often ignored eternal consequences of the modern-day Christian unity and church growth movement.
More information is available on this emotional
topic at the following link.
False Unity and the Assault
On the Gospel of Christ
We hope you find this material beneficial
in your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
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