There is great speculation in regards to the reality and essence of the antichrist. Differing descriptions are given throughout the Bible, many of which have been leveraged by Hollywood-style dramatization. Be it a real person or government— many entities or a singular manifestation, the one thing that holds all viewpoints in common is the clear presence of an anti-Christ spirit that stands against Jesus in action, word, and creed.
For many, the predominant conclusion is that the antichrist is some kind of carnal, sin-dripping, non-believing, God-hating entity from the world that desires to thwart all things Christ, especially when viewed as a singular, eschatological figure. Popular, individual candidates have been Hitler, Obama, Caesar, and Napoleon.
For those Christians who paint with a broader brush, identifying the antichrist is centered on looking for the brightest blip on the radar screen of organizations, ideologies, and cultural realities believed to be wielding the most anti-christian, sin-seductive activity in the world. Homosexuality, ISIS, and liberalism have been frequently declared as primary contenders.
Bottom line, whoever or whatever is determined to be deserving of this diabolical label, the “antichrist” serves as yet another “they” or “them” that fundamentalists can rage against and leverage with fear for the conversion of souls.
It all seems so cut and dry, does it not? Revealing the antichrist is simply a conservative Christian, finger-point away.
Not so fast.
If you asked Jesus to cast a spotlight, revealing a person or people who are best qualified for the antichrist label, He wouldn’t bull’s-eye a demonic candidate from the sinning world, not even a Herod, a Pontius Pilate, or the likes of a Roman Empire— though all certainly anti-Jesus in their own way. Rather, His eyes would gaze straight into the heart of the religious, as they have pierced many times before.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” –Matthew 23:15
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” –Matthew 23:17-28
In the same way, I find it interesting when examining the primary biblical descriptions used by conservatives in determining the antichrist, or a spirit thereof.
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” -2 Thessalonians 2:3
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 1 John 4:2-3
On the surface, it would seem these two passages serve as a slam dunk for conservative Christians in the identifying of the antichrist as a worldly, liberal, pantheistic, wayward, sin-loving, Jesus-debunking, progressive-minded entity who dwells outside of their Christian fundamentalism.
However, a deeper look reveals something much different.
First, the “lawless” person described in 2 Thessalonians is widely misunderstood. It’s a reference often used by conservatives as a clear determination that the antichrist is one whose lifestyle is characterized by licentiousness and a blatant disregard for doing what is right and good in the eyes of God. Therefore, the antichrist is easily revealed by their disobedient, sinful, morally rebellious actions. Find a person or reality that is living or advocating choices of sin, and there you have it— easy peasy, lemon squeezy, you’re the next contestant on “The Antichrist is Right.”
However, “lawlessness” can’t be referring to the Law or fulfilling any kind of legalistic, moral standard or spirit thereof through personal performance, as Paul declared, we are “under Grace, not Law.” In fact, it is under this Grace that Jesus flips the tables of religious thinking and ushers in a radical new way of calibrating our life and living, turning our attention fully away from any efforts to appease God (Law) through our faithfulness, to a focus on simply loving people (a life of Grace).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34
The truth is, if there is any kind of “law” in our lives, under Grace, it is solely to love people— completely, thoroughly, and unconditionally. This is to be the singular, exclusive focus and foundation of any impulse or action in our Christian lives.
Being “lawless” isn’t adopting a life of moral rebellion or missing the mark of Christian obedience, but rather, becoming a loveless person. For to be lawless, is to be loveless. Period.
Second, the passage from 1 John 4 focuses on Jesus and His manifestation of God— in other words, the author is appealing for a firm understanding of who Jesus is and what He brings.
For conservatives, this passage, and others like it, are wrapped as clear admonitions that an antichrist label can be firmly affixed to anyone or anything that doesn’t properly repent of their sins, turn to Jesus as their salvation, and sandblast their lives into moral, conservative purity.
This is the very essence of the Evangelical gospel of who Jesus is and what He brings— the world is bad, people are a project, and we have exclusive revelation and rights to the solution. Believe in our Jesus, repent of our list of sins, become discipled in our “sin recovery and management” programs, agree to stand against all the things we stand against as you learn to spiritually police a wayward world, and adopt our elitist lifestyle of “hating the sin and loving the sinner” all while you sing choruses of how “on fire” and “radical” you are for Jesus— hands in the air of course.
Oh, and one more itsy bitsy, wee-little thing. If you don’t subscribe to this playlist, our same people-loving Jesus will drop-kick you into the eternal barbecue pit down under where somehow you will be separated from an omnipresent God to be tortured forever as people in heaven high-five with rousing hymns of “He is Holy and Just.” Not to mention, we will be forced to draw the only conclusion available—since you are anti-us, you are obviously anti-Christ. We love you, we really do… but.
The problem is, that’s not the Gospel. That is not who Jesus is and what He brings.
Jesus is Grace, and Grace is the Gospel. It’s all Grace.
There is only Grace. Period.
This is the divine, cosmic assertion from the megaphone of heaven that rings salvation to the broken and torment to the religious.
Through the cross, it’s all one-and-done. Salvation, for all. Wholeness, holiness, sanctification, righteousness and justification, for all. New creation life, without blemish or condemnation, for all. Grace, love, acceptance, and affirmation, for all.
None are better, only different. Grace, the great equalizer—lifting the condemned, deflating the condemners, writing us all onto the same page and into the same plot— rendering all our performance as irrelevant to the leveraging of God, and ourselves over and above another.
Salvation isn’t something you get, sanctification isn’t something you become, holiness isn’t something you achieve, it’s who you already are and what you already have, because of Jesus. And faith— your effortless, beautiful awakening to all this, that Jesus has fully furnished and finished on humanity’s behalf.
As you believe it, you feel it, you desire it, and you live it. Grace upon Grace. Breathing for the first time.
There is nothing left to do, only everything to believe— God is love, Jesus is Grace, and His Gospel is peace.
It’s as simple and good as that.
Everything else is just a spiritual veil to an empty life— a vaping of the Law as if it’s the Gospel, inhaling death as if it’s life.
The most anti-Christ thing one can believe is that God is anything but pure love, Jesus is anything but Grace, and our lives should exhibit and manifest anything but unconditional love for all people— no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.”
The most anti-Christ thing one can do is to look to our efforts, however spiritual they may seem, and believe any of it actually works with God or ourselves— brainwashing people into a life of spiritual striving and a subtle positioning of oneself as better than another, having the capacity and even a calling to judge, change, or condemn.
That, is to believe and do what is pure evil and anti-Christ.
For the message of Grace takes the Law and sin so seriously that it bows down its entirety to the sobering reality that no one can summon the will nor apply enough spiritual “to do’s” to master or manage it. It takes Jesus so seriously, that no bible, denomination, organization or person can perfectly reveal the Father but Him. It takes Grace so seriously, disarmed by the awareness that nothing else works to change or empower. It takes God so seriously, that love is all He is and all He brings, exclusively and completely. It takes the Christian life so seriously, that all we can, and are capable and called to do, is to simply love, as God first loved us, without condition.
It’s Jesus + nothing, or your gospel is nothing but anti-Christ ladened, bad news.
Yet sadly, as much as I love all my Christian brothers and sisters and wish my observations and experience could surmise a different conclusion, I can’t identify a more Jesus-misrepresenting and loveless manifestation on earth outside of Evangelical Christianity— whose blatant hallmarks are a law-mixed, performance-driven gospel, legalism, judgementalism, bigotry, discrimination, condemnation, and spiritual elitism— all in the name of Jesus.
To be sure, for some, they are unaware of what comes in the Evangelical to-go box from which they consume. For others, they do not subscribe to all the artificial adding and fillings immersed in this brand of faith —doing their best to eat around it. In that way, the term “Evangelical” will always be imperfect in its use. For that, I apologize.
However, if your are looking for the antichrist or its spirit among us, before you go pointing fingers, perhaps a mirror would best do. Somewhere along the way, we have too open our eyes to the heights from which we have fallen.
What is and has been the primary catalyst behind the uprising of rampant prejudice in America and beyond?
What is turning more generations of people away from Christianity and the person of Jesus?
What keeps more people from loving freely without restraint, restriction, condition or apprehension?
What has caused more people in the LGBTQ community to lose hope, spiral into depression, and even hang a noose to take their own lives?
What has marginalized, minimized, and deprived more women of their equal rights, status, gifting, calling and capabilities within the faith community and all of life?
What has enticed and imprisoned more people into a life of sin and hypocrisy through the proclamation of the Law and the mixing of it into the Gospel?
What has personified God more as an angry, vengeful, schizophrenic drunk who storms out of heaven to love you one moment and hate you the next?
What has done more to turn “church” into a club of pretentious people who talk amongst themselves and judge the world?
What has inspired this great nation, from our birth all the way into our present, to justify more acts of violence, hatred, privilege, and greed?
One answer: Evangelical Christianity
Behind every legislation of discrimination, transgender suicide, homophobic rant, sin-enslaved human, dechurched follower, and disillusioned Christian is the touch of Evangelical Christianity, in part or whole, directly or indirectly. This is the print our steps are making and the legacy we are leaving— a ministry of emotional, spiritual, and physical death pimped as the way, truth, and life.
Oh how we Christians have become experts at not only missing the point and the plot, but missing the very people and creeds contributing most to the sabotaging of all that is truly Jesus and what He brings.
Look no further, it is us, we are the “they”— the fallen from Grace.
Perhaps, of all that would seem to be so easily anti-Christ, we are the most anti-Christ of all— loveless, Graceless, and therefore, Jesus-less— addicted to our self-requiring Gospel and a love filled with conditions, the very attributes that Jesus discerned and declared as most anti-Himself.
titus2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
rightly divide the word of God its not your own opinion
yiu cant use that text. it states there must be a difference to the individual through grace. they are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age.
the article author contradicts this.
James, I am a little confused. I don’t see the contradiction. Can you explain more?
Romans 6King James Version (KJV)
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Chris, this is exactly it. Thank you for your bald-faced courage as you speak like Jesus spoke to the religious leaders. We need to hear this. <3 Susan
Susan, thank you. We can be brave together! Love to you and your family!
Exactly Chris! We will never taste of sin and death. We are all born new creations holy, righteous and without fault in the sight of God. To add one law is to stomp on the blood of Christ. Everyday I receive salvation (renewing of the mind) from one or many laws I have been taught to believe. As He told Paul, My grace is sufficient for you. If it was sufficient for Paul it is sufficient for all.
Amen Adrianne, God’s grace is sufficient!!
The Gospel straight up. No ice, tonic water or mix. Thank you, Chris!
Thank you Paul!
Excellent article – considerably thought provoking!
Graham, thank you! Glad is was a positive experience for you!
Thank you for writing so vividly and expressively and challenging us all to live in Grace and love.
Jesus changed me in an Evangelical setting back when i was a kid. for many years I was caught in the cult of Evangelical Christianity and Biblica l literalism. When i was finally able to put it aside, I discovered the thrill of daily faith. The Bible may be full of errors made by men, but among all that is the word of God. it can only be found by faith. We limit God with these fundamentalist strictures. God is bigger than language and we must find her. While this analysis is excellent, its also based in literalism. Splittling verses and infinitives is not finding the word of God, but I think you have found its spirit also
Frank, thanks so much for reading my article and for your thoughtful comments!
Thank you Jem!
I was also raised in Evangelical Christianity and, even though I left for a main line denomination, I take issue with the main crux of this article. I know a great number of people within Evangelical Christianity that do NOT espouse hatred, bigotry, and close-mindedness. The author is simply attempting to pull a broad brush generally over a movement within Christianity and paint all within it with the same stripe and that is patently unfair. I have found hateful, bigoted and close-minded individuals on the Progressive Christian side as well.
Perhaps the true anti-Christ culprit is human nature…
Did you read the article, Chris?
Anyone who disagrees with you hasn’t read the article?
I am not sure you have really read the article Chris – I have to admit I needed to read it twice, but for me it remains an excellent article. I have no doubt you are right, the bigoted Sadducees and Pharisees are in every branch of the Church – and should be engaged with.
If we went to the same church and I think we did , it was very “liberal.” You are certainly correct about the love and kindness found there.
Hi Chris! To preface my comments, I want to say that I’m not sure how to take this article. I’ve read it several times, and perhaps I’m missing something. Either way, I hope you take the context of my words as positive inflection, and not disparaging in any way (I’m just trying to understand where you’re at here). For me, the type of language you use to describe the Gospel, or anyone who has faith in it, is disheartening. For instance, “I can’t identify a more Jesus-misrepresenting and loveless manifestation on earth outside of Evangelical Christianity— whose blatant hallmarks are a law-mixed, performance-driven gospel, legalism, judgementalism, bigotry, discrimination, condemnation, and spiritual elitism— all in the name of Jesus.” Ouch. Absolutely (and unfortunately), this type of behavior exists. However, for someone who marvels at the grace given by the Lord, I understand that God can and will move within ANYONE at ANY time. The fact remains that Jesus IS the TRUTH. I don’t have any reservations about thinking someone is lesser than I because they are on a different path at a different time of THEIR life. I was the antithesis to Christianity 6 years ago. Today, I can’t thank God enough. Again, it doesn’t give me the right to think/judge/damn anyone for anything. All I can do is express the love of Christ (which is the Truth). With that however, people say it’s a pretentious way of life. If that’s how the world will judge it, so be it. It still doesn’t take away from the fact that the Truth remains. I really can’t tell if my line of thought is in alignment with you or not, however, I was heartfelt in my response to your article. Also, thank you for your thoughts as well!
Chris, I have some bother with this line: “I don’t have any reservations about thinking someone is lesser than I because they are on a different path at a different time of THEIR life.” Isn’t that in fact being judgmental?
I too have a certain reservation about the quote you use: I believe there are doctrines outside of Evangelical traditions that are ant-Christ, no matter how well they are meant.
On the contrary, “I” was meant to be emphasized to account for the fact that “I” don’t have any control on another’s actions in THEIR life. God moves when He sees fit. If I could, I would instill the love of Christ in ALL. I know Christ as THE Truth. By saying that, this world would proclaim that it is “ME” passing judgment. I am acknowledging the truth of His word. Secondly, I am unaware that I used the second quote that you said I used. Can you direct me? Thanks
A matter perhaps of semantics. The ‘second quote’ is a reference to the quote you referred to.
Ahhh, yes, the author’s quote. Sorry, there’s quite a bit going on in this article. Even so, dialogue is healthy for the heart.
If heart and mind do not meet in healthy debate, there is little point in even thinking. Jesus, through Thomas, taught to ‘question’ and to think before we act. Isn’t that the key-note of sharing the Love.
If honesty was still considered a virtue in fundagelicalism, Chris, your comments here would be affirmed by many if not most of us who have trod that road for most of our lives. Regrettably, after almost thirty years in pastoral life, I’m of the opinion that Grace remains a foreign concept to most except, of course, when it’s our sin being discussed. Otherwise, the Law is preferable with respect to determining how the iniquities of others are to be viewed and treated.
Well written but I need to read it again when I’m fully awake.
There is a truth in the grace message that you have mentioned. You cannot earn God’s love (salvation) by your effort to be good neither you can lose His love by your disobedient acts. That is first half of the truth of the gospel of grace. There is the second half of the grace message that because of the mercies of God (the first half) we are so grateful and thankful to be the living sacrifices to be able to love our neighbour and even our enemy that requires life long overcoming of our self-centre rebellious life. To put it in a nutshell, passover (the first half) is meant for pentecost (the second half). The second half is to do with how we fulfil God’s Holy Commandments (God’s loving teachings and instructions that is good for our souls not as a legal code of guilty or not guilty) as a covenant people not as an individual. There is so much about the second half of the message…it is about manifesting the Kingdom of God on earth that eyes have not seen and ears have not hear in the times we live in. God is birthing such a people to fulfil His promises before the second coming of His Son.
Chris, your give me much to consider. Thank you for that.
I’m interested in hearing your view of sin. (Probably worthy of a full article, I know, but a synopsis here in the context of this topic about grace and judgement could help others, like me, who are pondering the implications of what you have presented.)
Well said, Chris. Full disclosure: I am a former Evangelical and an atheist, so you might expect me to see things a little differently. Nonetheless, I think you have presented an accurate critique of a form of Christianity that is all some people are exposed to. Sometimes I get the impression that love and grace are more rare among Christians than nonbelievers. I assume that only seems to be the case because the most hateful people generally get the most publicity. At least people like you demonstrate that there are good, decent Christians out there.
Hi, I love your family.
Discernment is my thing. Obviously you are discerning that something is wrong and that is good. This is the Religious Spirit, the AntiChrist spirit is the one that cuts off Christians heads, etc…
Also the we have to be careful that we do not do, what the religious do. They need grace and deliverance themselves. I sense you have been wounded by the church. I was as well. My woundedness brought me compassion for others. That doesn’t mean I say sin is not sin, that means I love others in spite of their sin because I sometimes sin too. And I want to point them to Jesus a long the way because He’s the one who healed me.
In my country you would be sued for such a statement! Just about everybody I know is in one or another Evangelical church. And there are sincere children of God in these churches. Some by choice, some by ignorance. In South Africa you can barely mention this in private conversation, definitely not in public conversation like this. In South Africa you would be considered to be hyper religious to make a statement like these. Here we pride us still as a Christian country.
Chris. Have a little grace brother. I know a lot of people (brothers and sisters) who are in Christ who belong to evangelical churches. In fact most of them. The ultimate sign of grace is to recognize error and address it and not people, or even a particular group they may belong to.
The problem is, when we call evangelical Christianity ‘of the Anti-Christ’, we are communicating that ‘every person’ belonging to every church that might be termed ‘evangelical’ of the spirit of the Anti-Christ. I don’t believe that is a fair or even necessarily correct characterization, though your experience there my have spoken a word to you saying this is true.
However, I truly appreciate your zeal for the truth and the purity of the grace of God. It’s just that if we preach grace, lets none of us speak a word of condemnation. In particular to a form of religion to which so many really true believers belong. This causes people on the fringes of, or on the cusps of finding grace to maybe even to doubt that we possess any.
Address the error not the people or some organization. Love you brother Chris,
Maurice, thanks for thoughtful comments. Did you read the article? I made it very clear that I was not addressing all people within Evangelical Christianity and the limits to using the term “Evangelical”
Chris, My thing is, and maybe this is just me, but though I recognize the error that abounds in the world and in religion, I never want to posture myself into a position where I have people on the defensive. Sure there is error in evangelical Christianity, but at lest they profess salvation by grace through faith in Christ. They may not teach this very well after the fact, but the foundation is correct.
Though shock factor may work with some, the reality is you will cause a heck of a lot more to run away than give you the opportunity to listen that way. It’s like slapping someone in the face, expecting them to sit down and play with you as a friend after you insulted them.
Just my opinion; and I guess you know what they are like. But it was Paul who said,”to those who are under the law, I am as one who is under the law, although I am not under the law, but under the law of Christ (the law of the spirit of life).” No Paul did not push people away or insult them, he related to them where they were in order to win their hearts to the truth of Christ.
Hello Maurice. I am not sure I can fully agree with your last statement – Paul was not a good communicator and he most certainly pushed some away, and continues to do so.
When I listen to people such as Rafael Cruz I wonder about ‘professing salvation by grace’ as he announces grace is only through accepting Jesus will return via the select wealthy of the world, and this is precisely why the ‘chosen few’ are the wealthiest people in the world.
Chris- I don’t really know who Raphael Cruz is. And really don’t exactly care. And I am not saying Paul did not experience conflict and great opposition. But his attitude, and the attitude he encourages is that of relating to others, understanding that differences exist.!?Based on the scriptures I sited. For me, love is the rule in my relations with those around us. Me personally, I see far more blatant error in Catholicism and Mormonism that evangelical Christianity. Yet on my worst day I would not call them the Anti Christ, even if I thought there doctrine were of that nature. I love and embrace people too much for that. I will alienate no one, as far as it is in me to be that way.
Rafael Cruz is the father of Ted Cruz – candidate for American president – and who is claiming that his son will lead the world as king messiah – but only for the rich, because that is where salvation lies – only with the rich and wealthy.
Maurice, you should be addressing Br Graham-Michael, not me. He is the one with whom you are in dailogue.
Maurice, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I would respectfully disagree with several things you write. First, Evangelical Christianity does not truly profess salvation by Grace through faith. Grace, to many of them, is conditional, and faith is a kind of work. No, their foundation is not correct, if it’s not all Grace, it’s not all Gospel. Theirs is not a Gospel of pure Grace. I disagree that a strong message is inappropriate. I see in Jesus, the willingness to give a rant against the religious from time to time. His words, being more offensive than mine. If I am honest, there is a false pride among some who claim to love people so much that they are unwilling to alienate or rub others the wrong way, all while countless people are dying emotionally, spiritually, and physically because of their unwillingness to love enough to confront, but would rather wallow in the comfort zone of their own ego that needs everyone to like them, and for them to feel good about themselves through a so-called love of all people.
I suspect all of us need to read with care because in this ‘global atmosphere’ we will all too often read something maybe not quite as the writer intended. Very often I will read a facebook article or a blog article three times before I have ‘come to terms’ with it. All too often this will be when reading American English – and of course, I have no intention of offending Americans.
It is the same with the use of the word Catholic. It is common to sweepingly refer to all Catholics has being attached to Rome and the Bishop of Rome. Not all of us are – there are many independent catholic churches. When I read the word Evangelical I don’t think of all evangelical Christians.
May I suggest the ultimate sign of grace is to acknowledge difference and error in ourselves. I feel that Chris has been very gracious in his reflection, and while I agree with him I am also aware that, as an independent Catholic, there have been – and remain – many times when the Church of Rome, and other Catholics, have behaved as the Antichrist.
Chris raises very important issues about Christian behaviour – shocking as it is at times – and the need to reflect on how we all behave in the name of Christ, our Brother and our Redeemer.
So, over the past year/year and a half, I’ve begun a slow spiral away from faith in Christ/belief in a god. These are things I have had in some form or other my whole life and so it has been a bit of a shake-up, for sure. The hatred and misogyny and vitriol spewing from American Christianity has driven me the most. Last year my religious beliefs had been pared down to “Jesus loves me” and “don’t be a dick”. Now, it’s just the latter but I am questioning and questing and really not too particularly bothered to not believe in God right now; I feel it’s something I will come back to later, perhaps, and it’s all a journey anyway.
So I just wanted to say, it’s refreshing and heartening for me to do a little reading here (I just found your site this morning) and to see you take to task those who claim to represent the love of god and who are driving people further and further from True God.
Keep up the good work. It’s encouraging to me, even if I am not in a place right now to know/understand God (well, are any of us *really in that place?)
This is the best Good News I have read in a very long time. You nailed it brother Chris! May God’s grace and peace enfold you.
A pastor once admitted to me that, “We may preach grace, but most of the time we don’t believe it.” What a sad admission – no wonder the Church doesn’t get it.
You’ve written here what I’ve been thinking for a few years re: the connection between evangelicalism and the spirit of the anti-Christ. I’m relieved to see that I’m not crazy in thinking it.
Well done. Thank you so much for this.
Love you Meredith! Thanks for believing in me and being patient with my growth. I feel the same way, that in making this kind of connection I have certainly gone over the edge. I wish we were both crazy in our thinking, but sadly, this is the spiritual reality of much of Christianity. As one who was once a conservative, Evangelical pastor, I know how engrained this spirit can be, and how oblivious one can become in not realizing the evil in which they participate. Been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. It takes the good fight of faith at times to stay postured and centered in Grace, but I truly believe, Grace is the only way to live. Thanks for your comments and friendship.
Outstanding! Keep writing!
Bam. Yes. Thank you Chris.
We definitely are the “they”. Well said.
PREACH ON BROTHER!
If your message is pro dependent on self for anything, then it is anti Christ.
For far too long the bait and switch message has been preached. It’s all “only Jesus” at the beginning, but then it becomes “Jesus and your performance/obedience/commitment” after you get in the door.
The blood is enough!
I was saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and I am kept the same way. Any other message is heresy and anti-Christ.
Thank you for calling it what it is!
I happen to agree with near every semi-colon and comma that Chris Kratzer has written. I live in Europe where Christians have been the problem -serving Satan rather than God, for the last 2000 years.
I think there are more anti-Christ like movements than the evangelical movement. However, I lover your overarching point. I especially love this quote:
“As you believe it, you feel it, you desire it, and you live it. Grace upon Grace.”
Also, Jesus + nothing = everything. If we agree on that than we would all have, in essence, the same theology. And in practice, that theology looks like love.
You have heard it said, love the sinner and hate the sin but I say hate your own sin and live everyone else!
Now who’s scapegoating and painting with a broad brush?
I have grown up under evangelical Christianity and have experienced a lot of love and grace. Those are the two prime things being taught in most evangelical churches. There are evangelical churches that have worldwide and local mercy ministries that are touching as healing thousands of lives.
My theology has moved away from a lot of evangelical doctrines. I have rejected the “sola fide” idea of the reformers, inerrancy of the bible, and many other sacred cows in evangelical doctrine. However, to say they are most representative of the anti-Christ is progressive arrogance and hypocrisy.
The anti-Christ is in all of us. Everyone at some point fails to love others the way Jesus called us to. That happens in evangelical Christianity, and all other Christianity.
I’m all for being progressive. I’m all for criticising bad theology and hypocrisy within the evangelical church. But I didn’t find any grace in this article.
Look at the plank in your own eye before pointing out the spec in others’.
Ken, I don’t think Chris is pointing specific fingers but intending to awaken us all to the planks that are everywhere in the Church.
Ok, it just sounded that way to me. If it didn’t to others then that’s fine. I know that’s probably not the author’s intention but it does seem very unfair on many evangelicals.
I really liked the part about the “lawlessness” in Thessalonians and I agree with the theology alluded to in the article. There were many good points, but I think they could have been made without labeling evangelical christians as anti-Christ.
Yes, in part I agree Ken. It is clear Chris was coming from one standpoint. I will add though, that I believe the message Chris is making can in some part be mirrored in all the denominations I am familiar with. As a Catholic, ( not Roman ), I am only too aware of the anti-Christ behaviour of many of my own brothers and sisters. One of the deep distresses of the Church at large, that I believe Chris points to, is the great danger of putting ourselves in front of Christ and expecting Him to tag along.
Years ago when I was looking for the ‘right Church’, having not been raised in Church and ‘assuming’ that was the ‘right thing to do’ to find about more ‘about God’, I became disillusioned; a good thing ultimately.
I had not as yet heard about the Holy Spirit within because the emphasis was not on the resurrection of Jesus or His promise of a Comforter who would lead us into all truth, teach us, empower us to be an Overcomer, ‘as one Hid in Christ at one with our the Spirit of our Father’, through our union, in answer to Jesus’ Prayers as recorded in John 17.
Each Church Denomination I visited (1969) at that time had a piece of truth, which they taught as the whole truth condemning ‘other denominations’ to Hell with warnings to ‘stay away from them’. There was no talk of a Religious Spirit or Teachings about Jesus rebuking the Pharisee’s and why. There was not talk of our being the Church or abiding in Christ and His Words abiding in us, of the Holy Spirit as……………………………………..
My heart grieved when I heard this, so I’d move on looking for His Truth; not yet aware the Holy Spirit was leading me into ALL Truth. It was not until I became aware of our need to be Born from above that I went from knowing ‘about’ God to KNOWING God and His Truth intimately / experientially.
When I gave up and decided to live that which I believed to be His revealed Truth thus far, I heard the Spirit of God say deep within “Someday the walls of Denominations will come down, and when they do you will see the and Anti-Christ Spirit rise up from among them.”
His Spirit continues to lead me …. transform the Spirit of my mind, day by day. I have been given eyes to see through Father’s Eyes of Eternity and yes, I agree Anti-Christ Spirit is being revealed. Humankind is waking up because Father is waking us!
I rejoice in the KNOWING, God has a plan which is unfolding and ALL is working out for the good … the greatest move of His Spirit is taking place as His Kingdom comes on earth as it is in Heaven, beginning within those of us who dwell in HIS Kingdom now.
Righteous to God is Deuteronomy 6:25, Romans 2:12 to follow laws and commandments. Christ didn’t come to destroy the laws Matthew 5:17. The way you show God love 1 John 5:3
wow. I’m more awake after digesting this article. Everything I read of yours is so confirming and out of the ordinary for all the indoctrination of my life. This one simply made me stop, over and over, and reassess my own attention to the truth in my heart stirred by the words. wow.
You may not get a chance to read this since so many people have commented on this post but I wanted to raise a few questions/concerns.
You mention in your post that the Gospel is “All grace” and that there is “only grace, period”. I’m just a little bit confused by this comment. Do you believe there is a literal place called Hell? Jesus and the apostles spoke of it many times. They warned people about the possibility of going there. Jesus said he was the only way to the Father (Jn 14:6), that the way is hard and the gait is narrow leading to life (Matt 7:14), and that no everyone who says to Him ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only those who DO the will of the Father (Matt 7: 21-23). Jesus also mentioned the need to combat personal sin in our lives
(Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell). He speaks of the horrors of hell in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Likewise, at the end of Revelation (chapters 20-22 I believe), the lake of fire is described as the final place for the Devil, the false prophet, the beast, and everyone whose name was not written in the book of life.
The apostle Paul also makes many mention of the dangers of living lifestyles characterized by sin. Several of his epistles give lists of sins that characterize unbelievers. Galatians 5:19-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Paul explains in verse 11, that the believers at Corinth were washed and were not longer characterized by living lifestyles of sin. It is not their departure from such lifestyles that saved them, we must be clear about that. But this testified to the work of regeneration in their hearts.
My concern is that the Gospel message you presented earlier may be an oversimplification of the Gospel as presented in the Bible. I certainly do believe that we are only saved by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone but as the reformers mentioned “we are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone”. As the apostle Paul mentioned in Romans 6 “should we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed a message that said “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand”. The Apostle John also mentioned that the one who practices sin is of the devil (1 John 3). I’m just curious how you reconcile these verses with your statement that it is only grace and unconditional. It would seem that the condition is to repent and believe the gospel, “count the cost” as Jesus mentioned, fully submit to Christ in total obedience to his Word (the whole council of God), and live a life honoring to Him (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus said, if you love me, keep my commandment. To believe in Jesus is more than a mental assent that he is the son of God (see the epistle of James), it is fully resting and trusting in “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” (1 Cor. 2) for our salvation, and to “be ye therefore holy, as I am holy”. We are called to holiness. Will it be perfect? No, not while we are still on the earth, but God calls us to “strive for holiness, without which, no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews). It is not the perfection of our lives that count, but the direction. We are not saved by works and we are not kept saved by works, but our works testify that we are saved (Matt 3:10, Matt 7:17-19).
What are your thoughts?