Apprising Ministries is a online apologetics and discernment labor in the Lord and part of my commission as pastor-teacher is to help make you aware of trends within the church visible. I wish I had better news but as I survey the horizon I see a tsunami of apostasy on the way; in large part because spiritually obtuse leaders within seriously squishy evanjellyfish didn’t fight the neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church, but rather, foolishly they would embrace it.

Well after all, they were only following Acts 15:1-2 in their new Missional Bible translation Anything Goes Evangelicalism: How To Make The World Love You:

Some inovative church planters came from Judea and started teaching the Lord’s followers that they could not be saved, unless they were circumcised as Moses had taught. This caused lead apostle Paul and his missiologist bro Barnabas to include them in the next Explosive Growth conference so they share how they had contextualized the gospel.

So it was decided to send Paul and Barnabas and a few others to Jerusalem to have a missions conference with the apostles and the church leaders there to teach them how the missional church planters were engaging the Jewish culture and bringing the church back to her Jewishness.

Now I’ve pointed out before that a core doctrine of the Emergent Church has always been the corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), which numbs critical thinking skills, and is now being perpetrated as so-called Spiritual Formation (SF), e.g. by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin and SBC minister Dallas Willard. Another teaching at the corrosive core of the new big tent progressive/liberalism, they’re calling Emergence Christianity, is the New Perspective(s) on Paul (NPP).

The reason I add the (s) is because there are slightly different variations of NPP, though they’re all virtually the same when it comes down to what’s taught concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And the man who brought this into the evangelical community is the heterodox (at best) “Bishop” N.T. Wright; who gets it quite wrong when it comes to the Gospel, as you’ll see demonstrated by Dr. Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel, in the next three posts here at AM as I republish his excellent three part series on NPP.

After reading it you’ll be better able to see e.g. that, while men like EC rock star pastor Rob Bell may use the language of the historic orthodox Christian faith, the terminology has been gutted of its original meaning and replaced with new definitions. Dr. Gilley will also help you see why it is that social action is so important to adherants of NPP, which you’ll discover preaches another gospel by denying the doctrine of justfication by faith.

You’ll find helpful information on NPP as well in The Doctrine of Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul; however, as Dr. Gilley says in Part Two of his fine series the gospel to N.T. Wright:

is “the narrative proclamation of King Jesus;”[1] [Paul] “is announcing…that Jesus is King, not just of Israel but of the whole world.”[2] Said with greater clarity, “The gospel is the announcement that Jesus is Lord – Lord of the world, Lord of the cosmos, Lord of the earth, of the ozone layer, of whales and waterfalls, of trees and tortoises.”[3] While no thinking Christian would deny the lordship of Christ over all things, nevertheless when the gospel itself becomes the message of lordship rather than the message of redemption and justification, there will necessitate a seismic shift in our understanding of why Jesus came and died and what we are to proclaim as a result.

Wright leaves no doubt where he is headed:

As soon as we get this right we destroy at a stroke the disastrous dichotomy that has existed in people’s minds between “preaching the gospel” on the one hand and what used to be called loosely “social action” or “social justice” on the other. Preaching the gospel means announcing Jesus as Lord of the world; and…we cannot make that announcement without seeking to bring that lordship to bear over every aspect of the world… It is bringing the whole world under the lordship of Christ.[4]

This becomes even clearer when vital aspects of the true gospel are either minimized or eliminated altogether. Thus, my second concern is even more serious, for in elevating the social agenda the redemption agenda is devalued. Take the all-important doctrine of justification, for example. Conservative Christians have agreed that justification is defined as Christ forgiving and taking away our sin and giving us God’s righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). The NPP rejects this definition replacing it with Christ’s eschatological victory for the nation of Israel .

I see many things wrong with this definition of the gospel; two are outstanding. First, it transfers the focus of God’s people from the proclamation of redemption to social enhancement of the planet. For, as Wright points out, His gospel is not merely the announcement that Jesus is Lord (something true before the cross, by the way) but the rallying point from which the church is to “bring the whole world under the lordship of Christ.” Our mandate under the NPP is not to rescue people “from the domain of darkness, and transfer them to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14).

Rather our mandate is to rescue the planet and ultimately to crown Christ as lord over all earthly systems and structures. God’s people are to set up the kingdom which Christ began. This is a clear “kingdom now” perspective found in postmillennialism. That is, we are in the kingdom now and our job is to advance the kingdom to the point where Christ can declare kingship over the earth and ultimately reign in person. For now this shakes out to be a social agenda. (source)


1. N. T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said ( Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1997), 45.
2. Ibid., 53.
3. Ibid., 153-154.
4. Ibid., 154-155.

See also: