“Love Wins.” A critical examination of Christian Postmodernism.
Jesus said to His disciples:”It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! (Luke 17:1)
Postmodernism involves the belief that many, if not all, apparent realities are only social constructs, as they are subject to change inherent to time and place. In particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial. (From Wikipedia)
There is a popular theme in the Evangelical (white, middle-class) culture at the moment. So popular that it made the cover of TIME magazine, April 2011. The phrase, LOVE WINS, has been credited to the pastor of a mega-church in Michigan, Rob Bell. Another way of saying the message goes like this: “God’s love will melt your heart’s opposition to Him in the end. Love Wins and people will be won over to God even from the grave! How can we really believe that a loving God will send more people to hell than to heaven?”, etc.
What seems to be fueling the movement is raising “difficult questions” that examine traditional/orthodox Christian beliefs. Some of the main leaders/questioners of this movement are Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Shane Claiborne, amongst many others. While others have spoken out with vigor against Bell’s book, LOVE WINS, and its message (John Piper for example, which I really recommend!), however, I want to focus here on what I feel is the bigger issue, the “inevitable stumbling blocks” that Jesus warns us about.
Deception that leads to the apostasy.
At the end of this present age, it is prophesied that many believers will “fall away” in what the apostle Paul described as “the apostasy”. (2 Thess 2:3-5)
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship”
Jesus had already given this same message when His disciples asked Him “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mtt 24:3). He told them directly that: “At that time [the end of this age] many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” (Mtt 24:10) The NKJV puts this moment into these words: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
The greek root word for offended is “skandalon” which means generally a snare, a stumbling block, an offense. Literally, it means “to fall into a trap”. We get the English word “scandalize” from it. I believe that “trap” Christians will fall into at the end of this age, just before Christ returns, will be deceptive teachings that tickle the ears, soothe our consciences and more or less bring God down to our level.
Believers will fall away at the end of the present age (Mk 10:30) because they are offended! Many Bible believing Evangelicals will “lose the plot” at the end of the age and will be left unprepared and even offended at Jesus during the End-Time pressures. Postmodernism will fuel their fire. A strong belief in latitudinarianism (a personal philosophy which includes being widely tolerant of other views, particularly on religious matters) will run rampant.
The spirit of the day – latitudinarianism
There is nothing to be more cordially abhorred than the pretense of love and unity being used to dishonor Him Who is the center, life and sole object title of it. There is no devil so bad as the devil who clothes himself with charity. It is the spirit of the day – latitudinarianism. (Thy Precepts Vol 13, #4)
If this is a new word for you, think latitude: freedom from narrow restrictions; freedom of action, opinion, etc. He allowed his children a fair amount of latitude.
Many of these Postmodern teachers are part of a “freedom movement” called the Emergent Church. Some of what they stand for would include: a Christian tradition which is world-affirming, politically and culturally engaged. Their beliefs focus on “embracing instead of excluding”. Words like “family-friendly celebration”, “inclusive and accepting of all, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, background or belief” identify their core values. (Most of this is a direct quote from an Emergent church festival “greenbelt” in London, England.)
For more on this important subject please check out these videos: