Apprising Ministries is pleased to present the following in sightful excerpt on this critical subject from What’s So Dangerous About The Emerging Church featuring Phil Johnson and Dr. John MacArthur of Grace to You

 PHIL: Let me…let me give you an example of what you’re talking about here. I’m going to read you a quotation from a book, this actually was published in America by Zondervan. It’s by a British post-modern evangelical author, he calls himself an evangelical. This quote that I’m about to read would really raise a fair question of whether the man is evangelical. The author here is Steve Chalke, the book is called The Lost Message of Jesus, and this book was highly controversial because of what he says about the atonement. And I want to read you just a brief section here and get your response to it. But this…this shows that some of the issues that are questions that are being raised, the doctrines that are being attacked are not just peripheral or questionable issues, but some of the things that are at the very heart of what we believe and proclaim. This raises a fair question about the gospel and what did the cross mean? That’s the very thing he’s talking about here.

He writes this: “The fact is that the cross is not a form of cosmic child abuse, a vengeful father punishing his son for an offense he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement that God is love. If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God toward human kind but borne by His Son, then that makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil.”

PHIL: He’s saying if you believe Jesus died as a substitute for sinners, then that’s a form of cosmic child abuse…his words.

JOHN: God is a bad guy. Jesus is a victim. My response to that is that you couldn’t be a Christian and say that. That’s just…that’s outright heresy. But the…the issue to me is what does this come from? Is this a…is this a…does he find Bible verses, texts of Scripture that led him to that conviction? That sounds like the language of an atheist, doesn’t it?

PHIL: It does.

JOHN: It sounds like the language of a flat-out anti-Christian pagan atheist mocking the cross of Jesus. That’s mockery. That’s…that’s outright mockery. These people…and he thinks he’s really cute and clever, this kind of stuff is going to shock people…and it does, that’s why it stood out when you read it. But this is not even Christian thinking. There’s nothing about looking at the Word of God there. There’s nothing about trying to interpret the Scripture. This is more of what I was saying earlier. Bashing the truth, shredding the truth without having put anything in its place. Being cute and clever and novel and shocking and all of that and leaving people stunned but with nothing else. This is the worst kind of stuff because it sows seeds of doubt in the most fragile. This is a…this is the stuff that victimizes the children who are tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine. But that’s not even Christianity, that is an attack on Christianity so to call yourself an evangelical and attack the heart and soul of the gospel.

But, of course, we would expect this, right? Because Jude says that the sad reality is, he says, “I would like to have written to you about our common salvation,” as he starts his epistle, but he can’t, as hard as he may have tried because he realizes that there isn’t going to be a common salvation, or a common understanding of the gospel and salvation if they don’t earnestly contend for the faith. Because unless you’re going to battle for the truth, you’re going to lose it since, he says, the heretics have crept into the church unawares. They’re embedded, they’re in the church, they’re in the love feast, they’re surrounding you. They’re at the table. They’re right there embedding themselves in the church. And that’s where they do their damage. That’s why he calls himself an evangelical. That’s not an evangelical viewpoint, that’s a heretic. And that’s…and if you have this mass of quote/unquote professing Christian people that make up the large part of the church, the visible church, with no discernment, with no real theological understanding, then this stuff can be very, very seductive to them, very attractive to them. So see, if it’s worded clever…cleverly…that’s what makes Brian McLaren effective. He’s…he’s clever, deceptively clever to the uninitiated and the undiscerning.

PHIL: In a way, do you think there’s an opportunity here though for those of us who love Scripture and are committed to what it teaches and want to proclaim it with clarity if we’re clear in return? For example, the quote I just read from Steve Chalke is practically the polar antithesis of what Isaiah 53 says about the cross, that it pleased God to bruise Him. It was God who put Him to death. And if we proclaim that clearly, that’s just as shocking, really. What Scripture says is shocking also. It’s not the fact that this is shocking that makes it wrong, it’s the fact that it’s wrong. (Online source)