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To the preachers of “the social gospel”

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  • To the preachers of “the social gospel”

    William R. Newell 1868 - 1956

    (FYI-->>Newell wrote the beloved Gospel hymn At Calvary!)

    This is the doctrine that Jesus Christ came to reform society (whatever “society” may be!); that He came to abate the evils of selfishness, give a larger “vision” to mankind; and, through His example and precepts, bring about such a change in human affairs, social, political, economic and domestic, as would realize all man’s deep longings for a peaceful, happy existence upon earth, ushering in what these teachers are pleased to call, “the Kingdom of God.”

    1. Now, in the first place, Jesus Christ came to save sinners, not “society.” He said, “The Son of Man hath authority on earth to forgive sins.” Now, sins are individual transgressions against a personal God; there is no such thing in Scripture as these social-gospellers dream of,—a condition of “society” to be “changed” or “ameliorated.” All that really exists is the guilt of a vast number of really guilty sinners. “Society” does got exist before God at all; and it is a vain delusion of the devil that sins are dealt with en masse.

    2. Sinners, having been pardoned, find themselves in a blessed fellowship, a really heavenly thing, constituted by the Holy Spirit, who indwells each of them. But to confuse this fellowship with what these social-gospellers call “society,” is to forget that “except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    3. It flatters men’s vanity, of course, and shelters them from conviction, to be dealt with as “society,” and not as guilty souls needing personal pardon through the shed blood of Christ. Therefore this gospel (which is not a gospel, but a lie, a delusion of Satan), draws together vast concourses of unconverted men and women, “church-members” and “non-church-members.” Its preachers are plausible and popular, for if “society” is going to be saved in a mass, individual repentance need not be mentioned. The Jesus of these men,—the Stanley Joneses, the Sherwood Eddys, the Frank Buchmans, the Bishop McConnells, the Kagawas, and a whole host of drifters and on-the-fencers, is not the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world by an atoning sacrifice, not the One despised, forsaken, smitten of God, of the fifty-third of Isaiah! He is not at all the substitutionary Sacrifice drinking the cup of wrath for man’s guilt! But He is “the Christ of the Indian Road”—or the American road, the Canadian road, the English road, as you please; walking by the wayside, teaching the multitudes, as in the Four Gospels, BEFORE HE WAS REJECTED AND DIED. He is not the RISEN CHRIST, with all power in heaven and earth given unto Him, pouring forth the Holy Spirit and doing mighty works, as in the early church days.

    I affirm that the present day popular preachers DO NOT KNOW what human guilt, before God, is! DO NOT KNOW that Christ really bore wrath under God’s hand for the sin of the world! DO NOT KNOW that He was forsaken of God, as the whole race, otherwise, must have been! I affirm that they are preaching as if an unrejected, uncrucified Christ were still being offered to the world! They preach the “character” of Jesus, saying “nice things” of Him, and telling people to “follow His example”: while the truly awful fact that Christ “bare our sins in His own body on the tree,” that He was “wounded for our transgressions,” that He was “forsaken of His God”; that “God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up,”—and that “for our trespasses,” is never told to the poor, wretched people! Nor are they warned of that literal lake of fire and brimstone into which “every one not found written in the book of life” will be cast, and that forever.

    One look into the lost eternity to which these last-days “preachers” are leading those who follow them, renders even the briefest consideration of these men who dare to call themselves “preachers of the gospel,” beyond all enduring. As Jeremiah cries:

    “Concerning the prophets. My heart within me is broken, all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of Jehovah, and because of His holy words.

    “Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they teach you vanity; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of Jehovah. They say continually unto them that despise Me, Jehovah hath said, Ye shall have peace; and unto every one that walketh in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come upon you . . . Behold, the tempest of Jehovah, even His wrath, is gone forth, yea, a whirling tempest; it shall burst upon the head of the wicked . . . I sent not these prophets, yet they ran: I spake not unto them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then had they caused My people to hear My words, and had turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jer. 23:9, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22).

    And Ezekiel:

    “And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of Man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own heart, Hear ye the word of Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! . . . They have seen falsehood and lying divination, that say, Jehovah saith; but Jehovah hath not sent them: and they have made men to hope that the word could be confirmed. Have ye not seen a false vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, in that ye say, Jehovah saith; albeit I have not spoken?

    “Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there is no peace; and when one buildeth up a wall, behold, they daub it with untempered mortar: say unto them that daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall” (Ezek. 13:1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12-14, 15).


    “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die, and thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, and he turn not from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezek. 33:8, 9).

    You may say, Those were Old Testament prophets—Jeremiah and Ezekiel; and Those were messages to the Jews. Wait till you meet, as you will shortly, the God Who inspired these prophets. Let us see what you will say to Him,—you who profess to preach the gospel of Christ. and yet preach it not!

    And Paul saith: “Though we, or an angel from heaven should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.” “For I delivered unto you first of all that . . . Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, . . . that He was buried; and that He hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” This very declaration of the gospel after Christ died, is that atoning death of His. When you leave that out, and prate about the “beautiful life” of Jesus, you are deceived by the devil and are a deceiver of other souls.

    4. We know that this “social gospel,” the false news that humanity is to be reached in the mass, and not by individual conviction, individual faith, individual new birth by the Holy Spirit, is a lie, because Scripture directly contradicts any such notion:

    Hear Paul: “In the last days, grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof: from these also turn away!” (II Tim. 3:1-5).

    Peter also: “In the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, and saying. Where is the promise of His coming?” (II Pet. 3:3, 4).

    Paul again: “Evil men and imposters shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13). And our Lord plainly says:

    “In the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:29, 30).

    How dare you call yourself a believer of Scripture, while you deny such plain words as these, and preach a fool’s dream, that the world, with the devil still here, its prince and god; and man still unregenerate—that the world will by some “social gospel” gradually change in character? It is a lie! and those that preach it, preach a lie. The words of God shall be fulfilled, and not the mouthings of a McConnell or the fumings of a Fosdick.

    And, O social gospeller, if you are looking for a changed state of “society,” who is going to help you bring it in? The Holy Ghost will not, for He has inspired men to write that the very opposite will occur! that men shall hate one another, and that the world will grow worse, to the very return of Christ. And we know that enlightened Christians will not go about to bring in what they know from God’s Word is not coming in! And ignorant Christians cannot help you,—for they know not how. And we know that this selfish world will not go about to bring in your social dream: for you and we know they are set on their own interests, and will remain so. And Satan cannot do it, if he would!

    So, O social gospeller, who would go about to bring in a “new social order,” you are left to do it yourself, without that regeneration by the Holy Spirit which alone truly saves men; without any message of pardon for guilty souls through the shed blood of a Redeemer (for you do not preach that!) without the help and prayers of true believers: for, these pray, “Thy Kingdom Come”; but they know that Christ must return to earth to bring in that Kingdom; and they know that all other promises are false and lying hopes!