Message of Inclusion or Confusion?

And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:11-13

A perfect example of these false prophets is Bishop Carlton Pearson a Pentecostal/Charismatic minister who just released his book “God Is Not A Christian”. Claiming a revelation from God, Pearson’s book is nothing more than the Gospel of Universalism revisited.    He attempts to convince the reader that the death of Christ and His resurrection paid the price for all humanity to attain eternal life without any requirement to repent of sins or to receive salvation.   Salvation is unconditional, granted by God to every human being whether or not you believe in Christ.  

“Christianity centers on the Person and word of the God-man, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The meaning of the cross and resurrection is not only that God loves, but also that He has the power and the will to overcome evil, and bring victory out of what could only be described as eternal defeat.  To believe that such a God could or would permit a single soul He created, to be destroyed, or even eternally separated from Him is a contradiction in terms.  It would also be an inadmissible defeat for God.  If the atonement means the reconciliation of God and man or man to God, then it must end in universal salvation or redemption of  mankind.”

In defining a mature Christian Pearson insists that we must remove the fear tactic used to persuade children or the immature, to eat, drink and obey their parents, or in this case, the Word of God.  Mature Christianity demands mature (perfect) love, the kind that casts out fear, the fear that torments the believer and cripples his trust in God’s ability to love unconditionally.

“The death of Christ not only made it possible for God to accept mankind as totally clean before Him but, more importantly, it demonstrated or proved God’s unconditional love for His own creative handiwork.  As a result whatever separation now exists between man and the benefits of God’s grace is subjective in nature; it is illusionary, existing only in man’s unregenerate mind, his unenlightened or uniformed way of thinking.  The message people need to hear, is not that they simply have an opportunity for salvation, but that they, through Christ, in fact have already been redeemed, reconciled and saved, and that this information frees them to enjoy the blessings that are already theirs in Him.”

You can read the first two chapters of Pearson’s book here.

The Gospel of Inclusion runs contrary to the Word of God.  John 14:6 states that the only path to salvation is through Christ.  And, again in John 3:16-18 it is written that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, and founder of the Hour of Power television program has similar beliefs.  Schuller’s definition of sin is “any act or thought that robs myself of another human being of his or her self-esteem”. In Schuller’s book ‘Self Esteem: The New Reformation’, he said that “the single deepest need in human existence is self-respect, self-esteem, honor and glory in  personhood.”

Schuller’s definition of Hell didn’t come from the Bible – “It is the loss of pride that naturally follows separation from God – the ultimate and unfailing source of our soul’s sense of self-respect.  A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem.”

Solidifying that his self-esteem teaching is truly the worship of self Schuller says “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name’ declares that we are premium persons, not peasants or pawns.  For we are children of God.  We are members of the royal family.  When we are adopted as children of God, the core of our life changes from shame – to self-esteem.  And we can pray ‘Our Father in heaven, honorable is our name’.  So the foundation is laid for us to feel good about ourselves?  The stage is set for important divine marching orders!”

An interview Schuller did with Billy Graham in 1997 also gives one pause.  “. . .I think there’s the body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups.  I think that everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the body of Christ. . .What God is doing today is calling people out of the world for His name.  Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God.  They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they’re saved and they’re going to be with us in heaven.”

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” II Peter 2:1

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