I carve out my thoughts here with the pronouncement that I am writing to those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God. This is not a conversion plea to non-believers, nor is this intended for those who do not hold to the inerrancy of the Bible.
Those discussions; discussions about the reason for my faith or my conviction that God gave us His revelation in a book are worthy discussions. But, for now, the conviction that I hold, that Jesus is who He said He is – that is not my current focus. Rather, I want to speak to my brothers and sisters who have concluded, through their reasoning, these things to be true.
I am in a study on the Book of Revelation. At the same time and for some time now, I have been indignant about the hatchet job a lot of folks continue to perform upon the gospel. No hell. Heaven for everyone, no matter what or in whom you believe (says no biblical text ever). Smuggling new things in. Humanism. Plucking things out or suggesting they are now non-essentials.
And I sometimes wonder, why? Why does my heart get provoked? Well, I’m not altogether sure why I’m more or less inclined to contend for the faith. Indeed, I do have beloved who have been seduced and bewitched by master wizards of spinning the gospel into universalism. However, my heart ached for Jesus and the corruption of His message before any of that transpired. I do know that I am not displeasing God by my conviction. The instruction to contend for the faith and guard against false teachers and prophets is splattered throughout the Word. Thus, I am not in angst about having this proclivity, in and of itself.
The point at which I struggled, albeit briefly, was when I came into the study in Revelation, specifically chapters 17 and 18. Revealed here is Mystery Babylon; a Woman. Whatever Babylon was in ancient text, has now reappeared in the representation of this Harlot. I have studied scholars who have concluded Mystery Babylon is a one world, false religion, as well as those who do not concur with that position. The evidence, for me, is conclusive to state that I conclude that the Mystery Babylon is a one world, false religion.
It’s an incredible privilege for us to go back to the future. But, this all got me stuck for a time. So, yes, we are heading toward universalism. We can see that happening. It’s all in progress. I just didn’t know that God told us what would happen to false religion, in time. And, ultimately, outcomes are not good, in the end, for those who have decided to follow that path of ruin. My question became…well, if it’s going to happen, why bother trying to defend Jesus and the gospel and the inerrancy of the Bible?
Here’s why. I can’t put my mind against the mind of God. I don’t understand how God’s sovereignty coincides with our choices but it’s clear that it does. We are instructed to preach the gospel and be aware of false prophets, even though we know how this all ends. We are given parables like that of the prodigal son. We know the hope remains for the lost or wandering. Therefore, we must persevere, in order to save even one.
One of my most foremost teachers, Westminster Chapel Minister, Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899-1981) was asked to chair the first World Congress Evangelism in 1963 by Billy Graham. Dr. Lloyd Jones told Graham, “if you stop the general sponsorship of your campaigns – stop having liberals and Roman Catholics on the platform – and drop the invitation system (also known as the alter call. It began in America in the early 1800’s by a man named Charles G. Finney) I will wholeheartedly support you and chair the World Congress.” Graham did not accept the conditions. Lloyd Jones did not attend.
That happened not so long ago in history. Billy Graham was on top. The secular media loved him. British Evangelicals held him in high esteem. Billy Graham was a household name and he was sought after by celebrities and royalty. Yet, Lloyd Jones stood by biblical principle and remained loyal to God’s Word, in spite of all of the alluring associations he could have formed.
Things have rapidly changed in that short time. They will continue to change. I honor those who CAN venture into false or watered down versions of the Word BUT CHOOSE NOT to do so. I know the test will just get more and more challenging. But, we must continue to contend for the faith and for the reputation of our Lord, no matter.