In a case of extreme irony, a Twitter-minister and Social Gospel Coalition author, Jared Wilson, wrote an article complaining about the use of the term “heresy” on a retail website that sells Word-Faith theology, Roman Catholic mysticism, Eastern Orthodoxy books, and the prosperity gospel.
Jared Wilson is a famously wind-blown doctrinal chameleon whose positions on issues are chosen by which side of his wet pinky finger he feels the breeze. He is a slightly younger, less successful version of Ed Stetzer, a blow-hard who once convinced fans he cared about doctrine but who ultimately has demonstrated he is a theological whore working the street corners of Big Evangelicalism.
The Gospel Coalition (TGC) contributor, Wilson, published an article at the website for Lifeway Christian Resources, one of the world’s most premier retailers of heresy.
By “heresy,” we do not mean “disagreeable things.” Rather, we mean, “a teaching that is so far off the path of authentic Christianity that to believe it would have eternal consequences.” Heresies usually are doctrinal errors that are severe and typically are in the realm of soteriology (how one is saved) or ontology (who God is).
For example, Lifeway Christian Resources sells heresy because it promotes books that deny Justification by Faith Alone (by Roman Catholics). It promotes books that deny the doctrine of Propitiation (by the Eastern Orthodox). It promotes books that distort the atonement and its purpose (the Prosperity Gospel). It promotes books that teach that men are little gods (Word-Faith theology). And so on…
However, Wilson wrote for the heresy-peddling retail site an article, They Aren’t Heretics Because You Disagree With Them. In the article, Wilson defends egalitarians who believe that women should preach and charismatics who believe that they are receiving direct, divine revelation from God.
We should find it ironic that Wilson writes about what heresy is and is not without an understanding of the topic.
Wilson’s argument is presented first as, “Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t make them a heretic.” Obviously, this is true. In fact, we don’t know anyone who would disagree with that assessment. One Christian may disagree with another Christian about any number of things that aren’t in the realm of heresy.
Christians may differ on something like worship style, clothing choice, or even how the ordinances are to be observed without any threat of being “heretical.”
However, Wilson then gave two examples of things that were not heresy, in his opinion. The first was associated with the Social Gospel, and the second one was continuationism.
Speaking about Beth Moore’s wild-eyed feminism as of late, Wilson claimed that whether or not women should preach was a harmless secondary matter. But when seen in the overall framework of ‘woke’ Christianity, this is actually part of heresy with a name called Rauschenbuschism. You might know it as the Social Gospel.
It is defined as a heresy here:
Rauschenbuschism teaches that the Gospel’s primary consequence on Earth is not the forgiveness of sins, but the solution to racism, social or economic inequality, poverty, crime, environmental problems or other social ills. The roots of Rauschenbuschism is post-millennial theologically (although not by necessity), but it has come to widespread acceptance in all eschatological views. Rauschenbuschism came to prominence in the 20th Century by men like Walter Rauschenbusch and Josiah Strong…
Rauschenbuschism became a highly favored tool of social progressives in the 20th Century, as well as Communists and Marxists propagating their views in the United States, although conservatives also utilized the ideology in prohibition and other social movements.
Modern proponents of Rauschenbuschism include certain segments of Christian Reconstruction, adherents to Black Liberation theology, and Jim Wallis. There is growing concern that Rauschenbuschism is becoming slowly accepted by modern evangelicals like Russell Moore, Thabiti Anyabwile and the organizations, the Gospel Coalition and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Time will tell if Rauschenbuschism truly takes hold in traditionally more conservative evangelicalism.
Wilson argues that only the historic councils could define heresy, but neglects to recognize that some heresies evolve and change over time, taking on different names. For example, what Wilson calls “Social Justice” is nothing less than the “Social Gospel,” but simply renamed.
If anything is a matter of heresy, it’s a false Gospel.
However, the next example given by Wilson is Continuationism, the belief that God is speaking revelation outside of the Holy Bible. This, according to Stetzer-lite, is basically an issue of inconsequential difference.
However, the historic councils did reject Continuationism and explicitly marked it as a heresy in the late Second Century. It was called “The New Prophecy Heresy,” the “Montanist Heresy,” or the “Cataphrygian Heresy.”
Those who believed that new prophecy was being given outside the Bible were excommunicated by the Christian Church in 177 AD, and handed over to Satan as heretics. It was seen as an attack on the Sufficiency of Scripture. Later Reformers, like Martin Luther, did not hesitate to call the “Enthusiasts” who made up fantastical tales about what God supposedly told them as “heretics.” You can find out more about the heresy of Montanism here.
Lifeway sells Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, which claims to be direct revelation from God.
Lifeway sells Jonathan Cahn’s omen interpretation and astrology books, which the Old Testament says should bring the penalty of death.
Lifeway sells Prosperity Gospel books that blaspheme and profane the atonement of Christ and its purpose.
Lifeway sells Social Gospel books, that change the meaning of sin, repentance, and redemption.
Lifeway sells books by idolaters, mystics, psychics, and mentalists.
And yet Jared Wilson, whose doctrinal shifts are so sinfully promiscuous that if you could get a venereal disease from swapping theologies he’d have spiritual gonorrhea, wants you to know that we throw around the word “heresy” too often.
There is little doubt that if Jesus brought his horsewhip to bear on the church today, he would start at Lifeway’s headquarters and beat their executives into footstools.
When Jared Wilson is not conducting a full-time Twitter ministry or defending heresy for a retail outlet that profits from selling heresy, he is an assistant professor for preaching at Spurgeon College of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Spurgeon, who went so far as to call Arminians heretics, would smack Jared Wilson across the mouth for making the heretical bar so low.