Monday, February 7, 2011

R. C. Sproul: 2010 Christless Christianity Conference

     Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake" (the apostle Paul, Romans 1:1-5).

     Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled" (post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples, Luke 24:44).  Underlines mine.

     Well, today we have our final look at the 2010 Christless Christianity Conference.  In today's video, titled "Back to Basics," Dr. R. C. Sproul presents the antithesis of our largely narcissistic, cultural, and un-biblical view of the gospel.  Sadly, Sproul estimates that maybe 1 in 100 American church-goers even have a passable understanding of the gospel message!  Here is just a sampling of some of our deficient gospel ideas (most are from our pulpits no less) that miss the true gospel completely:
  • "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life"
  • "God saves you because He knows you are broken and wants to give your life purpose"
  • "Follow these 4 spiritual laws then pray the sinner's prayer with me and you are saved"
  • "Jesus came to give you a personal relationship with Him instead of mere religion"
  • "God can change your bad habits just like He has changed mine"
  • "God saves when you make a decision to surrender completely to Jesus"
  • "Faith in Jesus is not enough . . . you have to do your part to be saved"
  • "The gospel is that we need to love God and love our neighbor to be saved"
  • "I knew I was saved when I went forward at VBS my freshman year of High School"
  • "The gospel is better relationships, parenting, friendships, finances, and an abundant life"
  • "The gospel is that God will help me to live the dream and vision He has placed in me"
  • "The gospel saves us, but then we have to do the real work of growing through obedience"
  • "If we act with sincerity on the light and knowledge we have God will save us"
  • "The gospel is meant to restore the earth and make the world a better place"
     Granted, the abbreviated list above (I'm sure we could come up with many more) may or may not include the outcome or fruit of the gospel, but whatever is being conveyed above is not the biblical gospel!  As R. C. adequately points out, the gospel of God is the redemptive story of His Son told in the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.  The gospel always concerns the Person and work of Jesus Christ . . . who He is, what He has accomplished, and how He gives the benefits of His redemption to His people.  What we need to hear most is that our contribution to the gospel is our sin (most self-sufficient Americans frankly do not want to hear such talk)!  Christ's work on our behalf is vicarious meaning that His life, death, resurrection, and return are accomplished on behalf of His people and in spite of them.  Christ, the 2nd or last Adam of Paul's epistles, has accomplished perfect obedience to the law of God in 2 necessary ways:
  1. His active obedience: This obedience includes Christ's sinless life.  As the God-Man, Christ always did the moral will of the Father in word, thought, and deed though He was tempted in all points as us.  His own testimony is that He "always did the will of the Father" . . .  perfect conformity to the law of God!  We as fallen sinners could not accomplish this sinless life that God required.
  2. His passive obedience: This rendering of Christ's obedience is to the penalty for violation and curse of the law . . . namely physical and spiritual death.  Jesus willingly endured the wrath of God in His incarnation, life, arrest, trial, flogging, etc. and especially on the Cross as He "became sin" and a "curse" . . . a perfect sacrifice for sin that propitiates (completely appeases) God's wrath and righteous judgment against sin.  We as fallen sinners could not accomplish this payment for our infinite debt!
     Christ's obedience is what is imputed (given) to us through faith in Him alone.  Therefore, through His person and work alone we become reconciled to God forever and ever!!  Jesus has taken our sin, guilt, and filthy robes and given us His perfect record as a gift now and to eternity!  The price of redemption was His sinless life and precious blood . . . we cannot top this and must not add to this gospel! 
     So, I must ask, is the gospel of God regarding the person and work of Christ from Genesis to Revelation what you are hearing at your church?  Is your understanding of justification/peace with God/the forgiveness of sin grounded in the true gospel or in the Christless Christianity described in this conference?  As I write, every person on the planet stands in his own righteousness or in Christ, so this matter is of eternal importance.  Remember . . . the bad news of our sin and its consequences is really bad, but the good news of Christ's redemption is really, really, really, good!  

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