I have not followed mainstream Christian leaders over the last few years because I have come to find out there is much deception going on, and it seems the deception is to keep the power and money flowing. But, every once in a while a newsfeed headline catches my attention and I decide to spend a few minutes with it to ferret out what is being said. That happened today when I got home from work and found this title from Al Mohler’s site, albertmohler.com. This was a sermon given at my former church, Highview Baptist Church East, Louisville, KY, by Al Mohler on December 22, 2013. The title that caught my eye was this: “For Whom Was Christmas Bad News.”
Now this caught my eye because over the last month I have read and/or explained the very text Mohler preaches on to family and friends stating, “Many Christians do not believe that Christ coming into the world was good news of great joy that will be for all people because most Christians believe in a literal eternal conscious torment for unbelievers who die in this life without expressing belief in Christ. How can Jesus Christ be good news of great joy for all people when most of the people God creates end up in everlasting torment in hell?” My point was directly quoted from Luke 2:10 when the angels came to the shepherds in their field and said to them, “And the messenger said to them, “Fear not, for lo! I am bringing you an evangel of great joy which will be for the entire people, for today was brought forth to you a Savior, Who is Christ, the Lord, in the city of David. And this is the sign to you: you will be finding a Babe, swaddled and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12 CLV)
In this audio message was the statement from the title. Background information, most of which was irrelevant to the title and point of the message was given for about 24-26 minutes. That’s alot of time to sit and wait for such an important point to make. I was getting to the point of giving up until finally Mohler made the statement and began unpacking what he meant by the statement that for some people, Christ’s coming was not good news of great joy. Immediately I thought about the messengers of God sent to proclaim this important word about the birth of Christ. Were these angelic messengers liars? Could they lie? After the statement Mohler just made, it sure seems like that is what he is saying. And, in fact, that is what was said! He went on to explain that Jesus came and rendered the power brokers, the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders defeated and powerless in His Kingdom. He said Jesus’ coming rendered the local and state governments powerless because they would not accept Him for Who He is. Jesus came and interrupted their rule and reign over people because now the True King has come! So, the message from the angels was good news of great joy for all people, Mohler says, but that it was not good news of great joy for some people! Are you confused? I sure am!
This is the kind of double-speak that passes as God-inspired preaching today. Either this message was good news of great joy or it wasn’t. Now, to be sure, what Mohler did was what many, if not most, preachers do; they bait and switch the text. Obviously this text is talking about a spiritual reality, not a here and now physical reality. What I mean is this, that the good news of great joy was that Jesus would eventually atone for the sins of the whole world, in fact, and conquer the death that sin brought with it. This is a text that flies in the face of eternal conscious torment in hell. It has to if words mean anything. There was no qualification here by the messengers saying that this was a message that had many different meanings. The Savior was prophesied about by the prophets of old (the Old Covenant/Old Testament) and was never meant to be a physically real message about Jesus ruling on an actual throne with actual people being by His side ruling with Him, like the Jewish leaders thought it meant. It was a spiritual message relating how God would restore mankind and reconcile all mankind to Himself. That is why, God who cannot lie, and the angels who perfectly do the will of God, brought the message that Christ’s coming (including his birth, death, resurrection) was truly GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY FOR ALL PEOPLE!
Messages like this are mere sleight of hand, marketing gimmicks, to draw a crowd in. They are given for shock value. The message became mixed when Mohler deviated from the true message given by the angels and mixed it with a physical reality that, though true, confuses the real message of the angels. Why not follow through with how this message is good news of great joy FOR ALL PEOPLE? I can answer that question myself. Because, if Jesus was truly good news of great joy for all people (Jews and Gentiles as Mohler states, which by the way, is ALL OF MANKIND!), then as Ricky told Lucy on many an I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy, you got some splainin’ to do!” Mohler and all who believe in eternal conscious torment in hell must explain how, and I mean truly explain how, God can bring billions of people into the world, breathe life into them, only to have this good news of great joy for all people become a message of eternal, everlasting bad news for billions of people who will be tortured forever and ever in the burning flames of hell. We truly need to hold Christian leaders feet to the fire, so to speak, and not accept these confusing explanations of God’s Word. We need to hold them to explaining how A can be NOT A at the same time.
If Christ’s birth was truly good news of great joy for all people then tell it like it is. Explain the real message and what it means. If Jesus also came and rendered the religious leaders and secular leaders power and influence moot, then explain that. If two messages in the Bible seem to conflict, well explain with rational argumentation why there is no conflict. But don’t keep perpetuating this type of nonsense. Be honest and upfront in your handling of the Word of God. Don’t keep the sheep in the auditorium at Highview Baptist Church East buying into mixed messages just because you are a well-known leader in the Christian church. Well, I am tired of writing and disappointed again, so I will close by including the link to the audio message. You can cut to the chase by skipping to around the 24 minute mark. This will get you in the neighborhood before the actual discussion of the “bad news” begins.
Let me know what you think, (sigh)
In Christ’s Defense,
P.S. For your benefit and edification, Jesus is the good news of great joy for all people and will save people from their sins and will eventually reconcile all mankind to the Father through His work on the cross and resurrection and one day, God will be all in all, and we, all of God’s image bearers, will bow down before Him in true worship and praise. There is no contradiction in God, there is no lying by the angelic messengers, and there is cause to fear the judgment to come, especially if you die without belief in Christ, but at the end of all things, God will overcome everything opposed to Him and win all of creation over with His abundant love, the love that comes from His abundant grace that overcomes sin. Peace to you all in Christ!