Sin 8: False Views of the Cross

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 6, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

When we mess around with what sin is and try to take it lightly, the logical conclusion leads to explicitly false views of the cross. Sin IS a gospel issue, and I would argue that it very well should be considered a salvation issue. If we do not understand the severity of sin, what that means, and who we have sinned again, what part of the “essential doctrines” are we actually believing as the Bible actually teaches? Now to be clear, not all those who have fallen for these false teachings actually believe what these false teachings declare; however, we must warn people of these teachings and what path they take. Why? Because whether the person does it or not, someone is going to take the small step of liberalism and go the distance. Paul said a little leaven leavens the whole loaf and today, I am going to showcase what happens when people take sin too lightly.

Around 15 years ago, Keith Getty and Stuart Townend wrote perhaps is one of my favorite modern “hymns”: “In Christ Alone.” I first heard it at an Intervarsity Chapter Camp around 2008 or 2009. There is a line in the second verse that reads: “While on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” Several churches contacted the Getty and Townend to see if they could change the life from “wrath of God was satisfied” to “the love of God was magnified.” Why would they do this? Because they don’t view God’s wrath as being an actual part of God’s character. Why would they think that? They reject the Bible’s teaching on sin. These are the same people that suggest that John Newton’s line in “Amazing Grace” of “That saved a wretch like me” is misguided. What does this train of thought do? It destroys what the work of the cross was all about, and it is an affront to the character of God. When we take away the seriousness of sin AND God’s holiness, you no longer have the Gospel of Christ; you are only left with a feel-good story.

The Progressive Christians have brought back another false teaching from ages past called universalism. This is the idea that it doesn’t matter what anyone believes, everyone goes to Heaven. The way they go about this is to say that God’s love for ALL of mankind is so great that He sent Jesus to die on the cross, and that would empty Hell. Rob Bell wrote a book called Love Wins in which this is his premise. William Paul Young wrote a fictional book titled The Shack in which this doctrine is taught. I came across a Christian Scientist who believed every path leads to God. All these, whether they directly say it or not, teach that not only is Jesus NOT the only way to the Father (calling Jesus a liar as per John 14:6), but they ALSO admit their own ideology has no weight either. When the Christian Scientists who think that every road leads to God were evangelizing and promoting their events, I wanted to ask them, “Why I should go to this event? If my path gets to God and your path gets to God, why should I change anything I am doing? Why should I go with you?” That is what the post-modernism philosophies have done. They have sought to deny any road of being able to stand on absolute fact, and such a position denies their own position of having any ground to stand on, too. But this nullifies the cross and ultimately denies Jesus of His job and the work He did.

Steven Furtick of Elevation Church got himself into a lot of trouble several years ago when in one of his sermons, he denied the Gospel and assaulted God’s character in the same breath. He proclaimed that the Law did not have enough “leverage” to save people (that never was its intention or purpose), and so in order to save people God had to “break the law” for the sake of love. His example of that was a parent driving over the speed limit to rush an injured child to a hospital. His argument is that you will break the law (of the speed limit) for the sake of love. He failed to see that no one would speed in that situation due to love; it’s rather due to fear. If the parent knew the severity of the wound and what the outcome would be (as God does) there would be no fear and no need to rush. But another problem is that Furtick unintentionally charges God as being a lawbreaker, who breaks His own law, and thus says that God sinned. Furtick holds the Law of God (based on God’s character) as being breakable, and that it really doesn’t matter what we do. God’s love will overcome it all. Again, this is all due to a reduced view of sin, a reduced view of the holiness and righteousness of God, and a too high view of self that “we are too special” for God to send any of us to Hell.

There are some who argue that Jesus only died to give us a moral example of what we should do. This is actually a common false view of the Gospel, that the Gospel is merely Jesus’ moral teachings. So Jesus went to the cross to just give us a visual demonstration of sacrificial love and to fight for causes greater than ourselves? Is that all He did that for? Again, this line of thought comes out of a low view of sin and a low view of the holiness and righteousness of God.

There is another one that keeps showing itself indirectly. It’s the Gnostic teaching that when we have “gained enough knowledge,” we, who were once part of the essence of God, will be rejoined with God and thus become part of the true God, thus becoming gods ourselves. The Gnostics did not teach that sin was rebellion against God, but rather that it was at best a “lack of knowledge,” so we need to pursue knowledge to correct our “sins” rather than need a Savior. Kenneth Copeland appears to believe that if he had enough knowledge, he could have died for ours sins just as Jesus did. Not only does this teaching reduce Jesus to a mere man but elevates man to the “savior” status. Copeland is claiming to be a “Christ” or a “messiah”-type figure. That’s a literal fulfillment of Jesus’ warning against false christs.

We are to have nothing to do with such men and such teachings. Their whole goal is to diminish and change the definition of sin, so that they do not have to be held accountable to the Sovereign God who reigns over all, and so they do not have to depend upon Jesus being their Savior. Any time sin is given this treatment, we have a false teaching on the Gospel, the kinds of false teachings that made Paul so mad he wished any who taught such things to “go to Hell.”

We need to stop taking sin lightly, and we need to stop listening to ANY voice that in any way reduces or marginalizes the nature of sin, the weight of sin, and with that, the price of sin. All such teachings are a direct or indirect assault on Christ and the work of the cross. They may proclaim all the doctrines, but it’s clear from their teachings that said doctrines have no weight, and the only thing we are to do with such people is to rebuke them. Otherwise, have nothing to do with them and give them no place for said doctrines. Next week, we’ll recap what sin really is and what it does.

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