A friend sent me a link to Brandan Robertson’s 4 Teachings of Jesus That His Followers (Almost) Never Take Seriously. This is by far one of the worst articles on the Christian faith I have read for some time. And that’s saying something.
Each of his four points is a distortion and misapplication of scripture.
Here is my response.
1) “Jesus, not the Bible, is God’s living and active Word that brings life.”
Here he draws a false dichotomy between the Living Word and the Written Word. This is not a new thing, but it is error. The problem with this is the fact that it denies that God’s Word is his revelation of himself and his purpose. The scriptures are ‘God-breathed’. And the scriptures do impart life. Psalm 119 is the clue.
2) “The only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is through DOING the will of God.”
What’s the problem with this statement?
The Kingdom of God is something we receive. It is a gift for the underserving or rather “the poor in spirit” (Matt 5). It is something that God does in us (John 3) by his Spirit (New Birth/Regeneration). We are translated into the Kingdom of God by God (Colossians). Robertson is promoting a terrible teaching. Salvation by works. There is no grace in this guy’s teaching. There is no good news.
3) “. Condemnation isn’t Jesus’ style.” Robertson appeals to John 3:18 to support his claim:“I have not come to condemn the world, but to save it.” John 3:17 ESV”Yet somehow manages to ignore the very next verse! John 3:18 says,
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
The whole point is, Jesus has come to save us from the condemnation that we are already heading for. He has come to save — from wrath and condemnation — but the salvation is only for those who repent and believe. More twisting of the scriptures.
One of the clearest teachings throughout all four Gospel accounts is that the way to enter the Kingdom of God is through living in obedience to the Law of Christ.
Really? Can we see some evidence? How about some scriptures? None.
Instead we get more false claims.
Time and time again, Jesus makes very clear statements that condemn those who think that they will be saved because they believe the right things or do the right religious rituals.
See what he has just done there? He has added ‘believe the right things’ into another wise true statement. Jesus did come and challenge the notion that people could be saved by empty ritualism. Ironically Robertson goes on to claim the opposite of what Jesus taught!
Isn’t it astonishing, then, how many Christians today have been taught that salvation comes through right believing instead of right practice- a message that is fundamentally contrary to the words of Jesus.
On the contrary, Jesus revealed that people cannot be saved by works. The people of Jesus time were laden down and burdened by the commands of men. They where struggling to maintain the law of Moses. Jesus came as cool water for the thirsty.
28Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29Jesus replied, “This is the work of God to believe in the One He has sent.”
The point is this. God calls his people to a life of obedience, but that life of obedience is not something we can achieve on our own. We need his empowering grace. In the gospel, the loveless receive God’s love and that love then flows out and touch others. Obedience is the result of salvation, it does not achieve salvation. This is why Jesus is good news. He comes to forgive us from sin, and empower us to live for him. We don’t earn salvation, we receive it freely, and that salvation transforms us to become more like Him.
4) “You’re supposed to sacrifice yourself and speak words of blessings for those you disagree with the most. ”
He then goes on to say it is bad that Christians are disagreeing with each other (is he sinning by disagreeing with his opponents in his article?) Has the man even read the New Testament? Almost all of the NT letters, the bulk of the NT, are written because of disagreements and they are polemical in nature. They are countering false teachers. They name and shame. The pass judgement on teachers and their teaching. Mystics, Gnostics, legalists, libertines all get a roasting in the NT. Jesus himself gave plenty of folks a roasting. He spoke about white washed tombstones when he referred to the leaders of the day.
This article is one of the most serious distortions of the Christian faith I have ever encountered. It’s a blatant misrepresentation and misapplication of the scriptures. It removes the bedrock of revelation (the scriptures) and leaves us with an undefined Christ; it replaces grace with a legalism of the worst kind; it removes the notion of God’s condemnation and justice by wrestling a verse from its context (despite the fact that the next verse contradicts his interpretation); and it removes the need for discernment and correction by accusing Christians of being mean because they attempt top address false teaching.