by George Sidney Hurd
Postmodernity is systematically blurring and often even erasing nearly every line drawn in Scripture distinguishing between truth and falsehood, sin and holiness, good and evil, sanctified and unsanctified, saved and lost, etc., etc.
What is Postmodernity? Prior to the Age of the Enlightenment, within Christendom Premodernity said that there is absolute truth which God possesses and has revealed in His Word. Modernity, which began with the Enlightenment, also said that there is absolute truth, but that it is up to secular science to discover and define it. Simply put, Postmodernity is the present philosophy that says that if truth exists at all, it cannot be known with certainty.
Both Premodernity and Modernity believed in absolutes and therefore made dogmatic assertions. In the Premodern Era Christians based their convictions upon their faith in God’s truth as revealed in His Word. The Modernists discounted divine revelation and founded their convictions upon their faith in empirical science. Sadly, much of Christianity bowed to the claims of modernist science, accommodating the Scriptures to scientific theory. The Postmodernists, however, are characterized by their lack of convictions and a denial of certainty. About the only thing they dogmatically insist upon is that ultimate truth either does not exist or else it cannot be known with certainty. Doubt, rather than faith, is considered a virtue. They actually pride themselves in their ignorance concerning absolute objective truth, considering anyone who expresses certainty concerning any truth to be lacking in humility.
Where it was once possible to reason from the Scriptures and either disagree or arrive at a settled common conclusion as Paul did with those in Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17:2,11), this Postmodern generation cannot be persuaded of truth by reasoning with them from the Scriptures. As Francis Schaffer accurately predicted over fifty years ago, the age of Modernity has given way to Postmodernity, resulting in what he referred to as “an escape from reason.” Today, Postmodern Christendom despises any claim to absolute truth and cannot endure sound doctrine. While they still deal with everyday realities with a Modernist mindset, in spiritual and moral matters they have abandoned objective reality and propositional truth in favor of an ethereal mysticism and moral relativism. This is what Francis Schaffer referred to as “the upstairs/downstairs dichotomy.” They live their daily lives based upon fixed absolute truths, but in spiritual and moral matters they live as if absolute immovable truths were nonexistent. The Holy Spirit warned us of this through the Apostle Paul when He said:
“Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths (muthos).” (2 Tim 4:2-4)
Here we see a time foretold when professing believers would no longer be willing to receive biblical doctrine and objective truth because it conflicts with their own sinful desires. Instead they will turn away their ears from the truth, listening to “myths.” The word “myths” in Greek is muthos. Kittle’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament defines muthos as referring to the practice of the mystery religions and Gnostic mysticism of reducing truth to allegory. It says concerning muthos:
“The mystery religions treat myth as the representation of experiences that either cannot or should not be given rational expression. Later, however, even the mysteries put the meaning of myth in words by means of allegorical exposition… Allegory is here a revolutionary instrument for the transvaluation of all values, both pagan and biblical. It blends the two in the new myth of Gnostic speculation.” 
So, we see that this recent divorce from reason in favor of a form of mysticism converts objective truth into allegory and seeks to transvalue established biblical norms and redefine established meanings of biblical terms, thereby deconstructing truth. According to Kittle’s definition of muthos, this practice is not really modern after all – much less postmodern. It is nothing more than the old pagan mysticism of the Gnostics and mystery religions redressed in Christian garb.
The Holy Bible is a fixed standard – the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3) Once we depart from that faith – once the authority of Scripture is set aside in favor of the mystical and relative, then there is no longer a reliable source of foundational truths. (1Tim 4:1-2) Each individual is free to define “truth” according to his own mystical revelations and personal preferences. Many of them are proficient in their knowledge of the Scriptures and claim that the “Spirit of truth” led them to their conclusions. They often quote numerous texts from the Bible. However, since they do not consider the Scriptures to be the only infallible rule of faith and doctrine, they are not careful to consider the overall teaching of Scripture and they often interpret the texts in a way that is incongruent with the rest of the Bible.
The revelation of the Holy Spirit is crucial to understanding the Scriptures, and I also believe that the gifts of the Spirit, such as prophecy and words of wisdom and knowledge, are still necessary for the edifying of believers and the proclamation of the gospel with power. (Eph 4:13; 1Cor 14:26) However, we are admonished to test the spirits to determine whether it is the Spirit of truth or another spirit giving the revelation. (1Jn 4:1) We test the spirits by the written Word of God, since the Holy Spirit is its Author and He will never lead us contrary to His own Word. However, once the written Word of God has been deauthorized by denying its inerrancy, it opens a Pandora’s box, introducing cleverly devised doctrines of men and demons cloaked as God-revealed truths.
The following are some vital truths and essential distinctions which have been glossed over and at times even outright denied by some of the more popular Postmodern authors and speakers. Much of what they present I find to be in alignment with the Scriptures and therefore I am not in total disagreement with them. In pointing out what I consider to be serious deviations from the truth of Scripture on their part, I do not want to detract in any way from the truths they do rightly present.
Sin separates us from God
In 2017 William Paul Young, the author of “The Shack,” came out with a book entitled, “Lies We Believe About God.” Most of the “lies” he presents in his book are clearly presented as truths in the Scriptures. One of the supposed lies he presents is, “Sin separates us from God.” He says:
“There is ‘nothing’ outside God. There is only God, and Creation is created ‘in’ God.” 
Don Keathley, a very influential grace teacher, says basically the same thing:
“There has never been a time that anybody has ever been separated from God. That has been an allusion in your mind placed there by religion and you’ve heard it for so many years that you believe it.” 
Obviously, in an ontological sense this is true. Even addressing the unbelieving idolaters of Athens Paul said: “for in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28, cf. Col 1:17) We all came out of Him as to source, we exist by Him and will ultimately be reunited in Him. (Rom 11:36; Eph 1:10)
Separation - Ontological or Relational?
However, Paul Young, and Don Keathley fail to acknowledge the distinction between ontological/existential separation, which is impossible, and spiritual/relational separation which is occasioned by sin. In the same breath, after saying that in Him we have our being, the Apostol Paul called upon the men of Athens to repent and “seek” the Lord because He was “not far from” anyone of them. When he told them to “seek” the Lord because He was “not far from” them, he was referring to a spiritual/relational separation, not a spatial one. He also said that they needed to repent and seek the Lord because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world. (Acts 17:30-31) Obviously, in an ontological sense they were inseparable from Him, just as every other created thing. Yet sin had caused a spiritual and relational separation which required repentance on their part in order to be reconciled unto Him, being found in Christ on the day of judgment.
All of us know from personal experience that one can occupy the same space with another person and yet be totally separated spiritually and relationally. Our separation from God is like this. The texts of Scripture which speak of this separation are too numerous to cite. Just a few examples will serve to demonstrate that we can be spiritually and relationally separated from God because of sin in our lives:
“Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.” (Ps 138:6)
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” (Isa 55:6)
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)
“If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever (LXX eis telos, ‘unto the end’).” (1Chron 28:9)
“Then shall He be declaring to those also at His left, ‘Go from Me, you cursed, into the fire eonian, made ready for the Adversary and his messengers.’” (Matt 25:41CLV)
There are two important observations which we can draw from these passages. The first is that man’s separation from God is a reality – not existentially speaking, of course, but spiritually and relationally. Secondly, contrary to what these teachers would have us believe, the separation is not merely man separating himself from God, but God separating Himself from those who walk in sin and pride. It is God who regards the lowly but is far from the proud. It is God who will cast away from Himself those who forsake Him. It is the Son of Man Himself who will say to some, “depart from me.” However, this separation is not forever, but until the end-result of God’s disciplinary process has been achieved – until they repent and seek Him and are fully corrected. There is coming a time when all will have subjected themselves unto Him, and when that day comes, He will be all in all. While it is true that all have their being in Him, all are not yet relationally restored. He has always been “in all,” ontologically speaking, but He will not be “all in all” until He relationally becomes all to all people.
John says that God is pure light and therefore if we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness we lie and do not practice the truth. (1Jn 1:5-6) Fellowship implies union, whereas a lack of fellowship implies separation. Therefore, to say that there has never been a time when anybody has ever been separated from God is a dangerous half-truth since it leaves the sinner under the false impression that his sins cannot create a distance between himself and God. Rather than admonishing the sinner to repent and seek the Lord as Paul did to the men of Athens, they tell the unrepentant sinner that nothing he is doing will ever be able to cause a separation in his spiritual relationship with God.
This error is often accompanied by a redefinition of both sin and repentance. Sin in the Old Testament is chata, which according to Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon means “to miss, to miss the way, to go wrong, to incur guilt.” The sin committed is said to have been committed first and foremost “against God.” (Gen 39:9) When David confessed his sin before God he said: “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.” (Ps 51:4)
The New Testament word hamartia is essentially the same, meaning literally “to miss the mark.” We see in 1John 3:4 that the mark is moral perfection and therefore sin is lawlessness (anomia, “no law”). Paul says in Romans that, before putting one’s faith in Christ, all are “under sin” and guilty “before God.” (Rom 3:9,19)
Postmodern Progressives typically redefine sin in such a way as to make it no longer sin against God, but merely against oneself or ones ontological being. Paul Young redefines sin (hamartia) in the following manner:
“The fundamental meaning is ‘negation of origin or being’ or ‘formlessness.’ Yes, it is about ‘missing the mark,’ but the mark is not perfect moral behavior. The ‘mark’ is the Truth of your being. There is a truth about who you are: God’s proclamation about a ‘very good creation’ is the truest about you. That very good creation is the form or origin of you, the truth of who you are in your being.”  (emphasis mine)
So, according to this redefinition, instead of sin consisting of specific acts offensive to God, it is simply failing to believe that you are “very good” in the core of your being. When it is said of Jesus that He never sinned, according to Paul Young it would simply mean that He never denied the truth of His being, (i.e. that He was very good). He was tempted in all points as we but without sin. Should we believe by that that He was tempted in all points as we, such as losing one’s temper when provoked, being dishonest, or giving in to sexual desires, or was He simply tempted to deny “the truth of His being?”
Once we deconstruct and redefine sin in this manner, sin no longer consists of the specific sin acts mentioned in the Bible. Sin becomes nothing more than denying the truth of ones being. It is easy to see the morass of moral relativity this leads to. Many today justify sin in their lives saying: “This is just the way I am,” or “I was born this way.” You see, by failing to define sin in specific terms as the Bible does, and then referring to sin as nothing more than denying the truth of ones being, we open a Pandora’s Box where everyone is free to redefine what is the truth of their being. For this reason, Paul is very specific in naming particular sins saying:
“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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1Cor 6:9-10)
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Eph 5:3-6)
Denying the truth of ones being is not even once mentioned in this list of sins. Additionally, Paul concludes the list of specific sins saying, “let no one deceive you with empty words.” He also warns that the wrath of God will come upon all those who do not repent of these sinful lifestyles. Don’t be deceived with empty words! In the end God will judge the unrepentant according to their deeds, and they will then receive their part or portion in the purifying Lake of Fire, missing out on the first resurrection which is the resurrection unto life. (Jn 5:29) The wicked are storing up for themselves wrath for the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God who will render to each one according to his deeds – not according to whether or not they rediscovered “the truth of their being.” (Rom 2:5-6)
Spiritual Death Redefined
Death in Scripture always speaks of separation. When we die physically our soul or conscious self is separated from our body; when we die to sin we are sanctified or separated from sin; when we die to the Law we are separated from the Law as a way of life that we might live unto Christ; when we died spiritually our spirit was separated from God who is Spirit. I dedicate an entire chapter to demonstrate this in my book “Extermination or Restoration?” In the same day Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree they died, just as God had warned. However, the death they died on that day was not physical but spiritual death or separation. Their spirit to Spirit communion with God was broken. Before God makes us alive through the rebirth of our spirit, thereby becoming one spirit with the Lord, we are dead in our trespasses and sins and alienated from the life of God. (Eph 2:1; 4:18; Col 1:21) Don Keathley denies that a real spiritual death or separation occurred, claiming that it has all been in our minds. He reduces it to a loss of awareness as to who we really are. He says:
“We died in awareness that we were already like God… What happened was that we forgot who we were – we forgot where we came from. So, Jesus conquered that death in awareness… The problem is that religion has picked the lie up and has taught us…that we are born dead spiritually: that we are born separated from God: that we are born depraved: that we are born apart from God, and until we do something we will never be joined to the life of God.” 
I don’t know if you can see the similarity between the serpent’s original lie to Eve and Keathley’s redefinition of death. The serpent said, “You will not really die, but you will be as God.” Keathley says in essence, “We never really died, we just died to the awareness that we are already like God.” Could it be that this is the very lie that Paul said that all who do not receive the love of the truth will believe when the man of sin is manifested? Paul said:
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe THE LIE, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess 2:9-12)
Could it be that “the lie” that those under the influence of the Antichrist doctrine will believe is a continuation of the same old lie first presented to Eve in the Garden? This generation is being told: “You didn’t really die. You just lost sight of the truth that you are already like God.” The illusion that one could be like God was what occasioned Lucifer’s fall. He used the same deception with Eve, and he is still promoting the same lie. Instead of preaching repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ as Paul did (Acts 20:21), we are now being told that we never were separated from God in Eden; that we have always been like God and we just need to awaken to that reality.
However, the fact that we, in distinction from other created beings, were created in the image of God should not be misconstrued as meaning that we can somehow independently be as God. That aspiration resulted in Lucifer’s fall and he apparently sowed the same seed in a third of the angels as well before also tempting Eve to seek to be as God. Satan was created to reflect the glory of God – not to be as God. When he set out to be as God, he became separated from God and went from being a being of light to becoming the prince of darkness.
There is a very important difference that is often overlooked between having been created “in the likeness of” God and seeking to become “as God.” It says that man was created in the “likeness” (demuwt “resemblance, likeness”) of God. Many would ask, what could be wrong with desiring to be more like God? Actually, we are called upon to be holy as He is holy. However, the serpent’s temptation was not to be in God’s likeness but to be in the place of God or as an equal. The serpent didn’t say that they would be “like” God in the sense of resembling Him. They already were like God. In the Hebrew the serpent said that they would be kee elohim (“as God” or “as gods.” In the LXX it reads os theoi, “as gods”). There is a great difference between desiring to be imitators of God as beloved children and aspiring to become “as God” (or “as gods,” depending on the correct rendering).
To illustrate this difference, imagine the son of a king. Being the king’s own son, he naturally resembled him. But one day he decided that he wanted to be “as” the king himself, or at least promoted as a king just like his father. The moment he passed from simply resembling the king to wanting to be as a king himself, he passed from admiration and imitation to aspiration and self-exaltation. That is what I believe was the essence of Eve’s temptation and it resulted in our first parents falling into the same condemnation that the devil fell into when he, in his pride, aspired to be as the Most High.
Likewise, when Adam and Eve fell, independently seeking to become as God (or as gods), they also became separated from God and no longer reflected the image and likeness of God. The glory of the Lord that had enveloped them departed from them and they became aware of their nakedness. As descendants of Adam we were “far from” God from the womb. Only by the shed blood of Christ are we brought near:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:13)
“Far off” is another way of saying “separated.” Separated from God, we no longer had union with Him and therefore no longer reflected His image and likeness. Rather than being predominately spirit in the likeness of God, mankind became predominately “flesh.” (Gen 6:3) It is only through the new creation in Christ that we are restored to Christ’s very image as “partakers” of the divine nature in union with Him. (Rom 8:29; 2Pet 1:4) We are not ontologically divine in and of ourselves. It is in union with Him that we share in His divinity as partakers. When our spirit was born again with His life, we became one spirit with Him. (1Cor 6:17) I respond to the claim of some that we are gods with more detail in the chapter entitled, “You are gods?” in my book, “Focusing in on End-Time Events.”
Sin creates Relational Separation
“Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that HE WILL NOT HEAR. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity… 11 We look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied BEFORE YOU, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them.” (Isa 59:1-3;11,12)
This is a particularly difficult passage for those who deny that sin separates God from us. Most Progressives, having a low view of Scripture, would simply say that Isaiah was mistaken - that Isaiah erroneously thought that their sin had separated them from God. However, for those who believe that all Scripture is inspired of the Holy Spirit, such an explanation is unacceptable.
Others would say that it is man who separates himself from God, but God never separates Himself from us. However, the result of this separation is not only that man does not hear God, but that He will not hear us. The Psalmist says: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (Ps 66:18) It is not that He cannot hear us when we live in sin but that He will not. Some sardonically argue that if He cannot hear us, then a sinner wouldn’t have any way to confess his sins to God. But it is not that He cannot hear us - obviously there is nothing He does not hear, but rather if we regard iniquity in our hearts – as long as we are unwilling to confess our sin to Him, He will not hear us, i.e., He is waiting for our confession and repentance before responding to our cries. Until we acknowledge our sin and seek His face, He will distance Himself and wait. God said of His idolatrous people through Hosea:
“I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. 15 I will return again to My place TILL they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hos 5:14-15)
So, the separation is not forever, but rather until there is confession and repentance of sin. This can be illustrated in a parent-child relationship. Most of us as children were sent to our room when we disobeyed until we were prepared to acknowledge our wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. We may have been able to feign repentance in order to go out and play, but God knows whether or not we have truly repented and waits in silence until we acknowledge our offense. I can remember numerous times as His child when I continued in sin or rebellion, justifying it rather than confessing it before Him. As long as I continued justifying my sin, my communion with Him was interrupted and He seemed a million miles away. But the moment I would truly acknowledge my sin and repent of it, His love would flood my soul and I would enjoy communion with Him as before. While it is true that we can never be separated from Him ontologically, a refusal to acknowledge sin can and does cause relational separation.
Some misapply Romans 8:39, insisting from this verse that no one can ever be separated from God. Here Paul says that nothing in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Here many Traditionalists, who view God’s nature as divided, rightly point out that “us” in the context is God’s elect people of this age – those who are “in Christ.” We came into this world dead in our sins, without God and without Christ. But then God called, justified and glorified us. (Rom 8:30) At that point in time He drew us unto Himself and gave us His eternal life. Therefore, nothing nor anything will ever be able to separate us from His unconditional love for us. However, we can, and often do, neglect our love relationship with God. That is why Jude tells us to keep ourselves in the love of God. (Jude 21)
However, while sin causes separation from God, it is also true that nothing nor anyone can ever separate us from God’s unconditional love for all – even those who are in rebellion in the far country. His love never ceases. (1Cor 13:8) Jesus said that we are like our Father in heaven when we love our enemies. (Matt 5:45) While we were still sinners in the far country, He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and not only ours, but for the sins of the whole world. (Rom 5:8; Jn 3:16; 1Jn 2:2)
Because God doesn’t simply love, but is love, His love for all never ceases. That is one of the main reasons why the doctrine of eternal torment cannot be true. Because God’s love is unceasing and directed towards all, including His enemies, even when the unrepentant and rebellious are cast off by Him and separated from Him, they can never be separated from His love and therefore no one will ever be cast off forever:
“For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” (Lam 3:31-33)
“Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.” (2 Sam 14:14)
Because God’s love never ceases, even when He casts off for a time in judgment, He will not cast anyone off forever. He has made provision for His banished ones through the cross of Jesus and has sworn that in time all will be finally reconciled, bowing the knee and confessing that Jesus is Lord.
However, that being said, from the moment Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, all of Adam’s race has come into this world alienated from the life of God – not existentially but relationally. God never stopped loving them, but He loved them from afar. However, in love, God made a way so that His banished ones would not be expelled from Him. Now, we who were afar off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph 2:13) And when we finally arrive at the end of the ages all will have been drawn unto Him and God will then be all in all. (1Cor 15:28)
So, while Romans 8:39 speaks of God’s unceasing love for us, it does not establish their claim that our sins do not separate us from Him. Our sins do separate us from God. While it is important that all know that God’s love for them never ceases, it is a grave error to tell the sinner that their sins do not separate them from God. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, fellowship with Him is broken until we repent and confess our sins to Him. Even believers who have been forgiven all of their sins - past, present and future, and therefore will never be condemned for them, must still confess their sins in order to be forgiven and cleansed – not judicially but relationally. (1Jn 1:9) Unrepentant sin always breaks communion with God since in Him there is no darkness at all. (1Jn 1:5-7)
Those outside of Christ need to know that they are lost and in need of being reconciled to God. They need to know that their sins have separated them from God and Jesus is the only way back to the Father. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn 14:6) To tell the sinner that there has never been any separation is a denial of the words of Jesus. If there was never any separation, there would be no need of Jesus – the way to the Father.
Paul Young denies both separation and the need for Jesus in order to bridge the gap between mankind and the Father. He misapplies Romans 8:38 and says: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38–39). Jesus did not come to build a bridge back to God or to offer the possibility of getting unseparated.”  Syncretists say that all roads lead to God. Paul Young goes even further, saying that we don’t need a way to the Father because we never were separated to begin with. While the unrepentant may be drawn to this message, it isn’t the gospel of Jesus Christ which offers us transformation and a new life in Christ through regeneration. It tells them that they are fine just the way they are without the need to repent of their sins.
2. Mankind is still Lost and must be Saved.
One of Paul Young’s chapters in his book “Lies We Believe About God” is entitled “You need to get saved.” According to him and other proponents of the Postmodern “Gospel of Inclusion,” those who preach repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation are preaching a false gospel, since everyone was already saved at the cross. Paul Young says:
“We don’t offer anyone what has already been given; we simply celebrate the Good News with each one: We have all been included.” 
While it is true that all were included in Christ’s death and resurrection and therefore the gospel is good news for all, the Scriptures very clearly inform us that it does not benefit anyone until it is personally received by faith. Christ’s death purchased salvation for all, and the righteousness of God is offered freely as a gift of grace. But as with any gift it must be received in order to become ours. The cross is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe. (1Cor 1:21; Rom 4:24; Gal 3:22)
Without the righteousness of God in Christ we are lost and stand condemned before God. Jesus commissioned us to preach the gospel to all saying: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16) There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but those who do not believe are under condemnation because they have not believed unto salvation. (Rom 8:1, cf. Jn 3:18,36) If they die in their sins they will perish (Jn 3:16 apollumi in middle voice, “die in a lost state”), and will not be resurrected until the second resurrection unto judgment. (Jn 5:29) While all will ultimately confess Jesus as Lord and be restored, their loss will be incalculable. That is why Jesus said that for them there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Apostles gave their lives in order that by all means they might save some. Many have given their lives to reach the lost. In the year 2000 the Lord called me, along with my wife and three little children as missionaries to Mitú Colombia. At that time, it was a war zone and we were the only foreigners in the region. If everyone is already saved, why would the Lord lead his people to places where their own lives are in jeopardy? We have been commissioned to preach the gospel because no one is saved until they believe. Paul says: “it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Cor 1:21) When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he had to do to be saved, Paul didn’t say, “you are already saved – you just don’t know it.” No. He said to him: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you WILL BE saved.” (Acts 16:31)
While Christ’s blood propitiated the sins of the whole world, His sacrifice must be received by faith in order to save. The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that the gospel is of no benefit to those who do not believe. He said: “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Heb 4:2) Is the gospel good news? Yes! But it is of no benefit to anyone until they believingly receive it for themselves.
Strangely, contrary to Scripture and reason, the Inclusionists argue that faith is a work, and since salvation is by grace and not works, they maintain that faith cannot be a requirement for salvation. However, Scripture presents works as being antonymous with faith. Paul said:
“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” (Rom 4:5)
Here Paul not only states clearly that faith is not a work but also that it is one’s faith which is accounted to him for righteousness – we receive the righteousness of God by faith. (c.f. Rom 3:22)
It is even more evident that faith is not meritorious when we understand that the faith we exercise for salvation is given to us by grace. In Ephesians 2 Paul makes this clear:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10)
The combination of Greek genders in verse eight indicate that “that not of yourselves” speaks of both salvation and the faith that appropriates it. If the “faith” were a work, we could boast. Some even boast of their faith. But once we understand that we believed by grace, then all boasting is excluded.
God’s election is not capricious nor random – it is according to grace. (Eph 1:4-6; Rom 11:5) Grace is God’s love acting in favor towards the weak and poor in spirit who come to an end of themselves. He resists the proud and self-sufficient and gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) The last and least are those who are chosen to be the elect firstfruits unto God. That is why Jesus said that He didn’t come to call the righteous but sinners. (Mark 2:17) The truth is that there are none righteous and all stand guilty before God. Salvation doesn’t come by self-righteous works. Neither does it come by redefining sin to be nothing more than failing to recognize one’s innate divinity.
It is the poor in spirit, who recognize their sinful condition and call out to Him, who are saved before the Pharisees and other self-righteous sinners who don’t feel their need for salvation by grace alone. (Matt 21:31) It is the obstinately self-sufficient who do not yet feel the weight of their own spiritual depravity who will be the last to enter the kingdom of God. They will remain in outer darkness until they also come to an end of themselves. Then the day of their visitation will finally come when Jesus also will draw them unto Himself. Because God’s election is unmerited – according to grace, not many intellectuals, strong and self-sufficient or those of nobility are among the elect firstfruits. Paul explains:
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen (eklegomai, “to choose, to elect”) the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — 31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1Cor 1:26-31)
The elect of this age are few because God’s election is according to grace and few in this age will come to see their need of saving grace. Inclusivists deny the need of salvation, claiming that it is a universally accomplished reality apart from faith. To them everyone is already seated with Christ in heavenly places. There is no distinction between those who are without Christ and those who are in Christ. Don Keathley is representative of them when he says:
“There was never a time when you were not in Christ. That’s where you were created… This will change your world. We need to see every person also created in that position. That eliminates all the them and us… That eliminates all the boasting that says, ‘well I invited Jesus into my life as my personal Savior and you didn’t. I made wise choices on my behalf and if you’re smart, you’ll be like me and do what I have done. And if you don’t, you’re ‘gon ta hail.’” 
Keathley says that everyone was created in Christ from the beginning and that eliminates all the them and us – it eliminates all the boasting. In contrast, Paul says that not many were chosen; that in this age God primarily chooses the foolish, weak, base and those who are as nothing in their own eyes, so that none should boast. Boasting isn’t eliminated by awakening to the reality that we are all very good as to our essential being, as Inclusionists affirm, but by recognizing that we are foolish, weak, base and as nothing without Him, and that it is only by Him that we came to be in Christ, who is now our righteousness.
There are many other ways in which the Progressive Emergents seek to deconstruct biblical truth and they all need to be exposed as dangerous error. But those here mentioned trouble me the most because they undermine the very foundational truths which are at the heart of the gospel of salvation which is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This form of deconstructionism will lead many to their graves with the false assurance of salvation without any repentance and faith on their part. Sadly, many who fall into this deception will have a very tragic awakening when they die or the Lord returns. Jesus said:
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’’
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 3:18; Matt 7:21-23; John 6:40; John 6:29)
There is so much more to address on this subject, but space does not allow for it. However, I feel compelled to quote a final warning from the New Testament which has produced within me a reverential fear and trembling when I teach the Word of God to others. The Holy Spirit said through James:
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)
Many teachers today, who are deconstructionists, often irreverently question and frivolously abandon traditional interpretations of Scripture without careful prayerful study. In the process they err and upset the faith of many. The manner in which they depreciate the atonement and other precious biblical truths borders on blasphemy and reminds me of Paul’s words when he said to Timothy:
“having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1Tim 1:19-20)
We must hold fast to the truth of Scripture with godly fear and a good conscience. Before coming to the point of openly teaching the truth of the final reconciliation of all I spent years earnestly seeking the Lord for clarity as I carefully and objectively studied the Scriptures. I didn’t even share it with my wife and children until I was confident that it was a biblically sound doctrine. Then I shared it with numerous pastors and theologians for their constructive criticism. Only then did I feel peace to teach it to my congregation and publish my conclusions.
Teaching the Word of God is a great privilege, but it carries with it a tremendous accountability and responsibility before God. We should teach God’s Word always conscious that someday we will have to give an account to God for what we have taught. (Matt 12:36; Luke 12:47-48) This would also apply to those teachers who are fully convinced that the Bible teaches the final reconciliation of all, but for fear of man do not declare the whole council of God. May we all be able to say as Paul, “I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God.”
“Bend your every effort to present yourself to God, approved, a workman unashamed, expounding soundly the word of the truth. But with reference to unhallowed and empty discussions, give them a wide berth, for they will progress to more impiety towards God, and their word will spread as does cancer, of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus, the very ones who are of such a character as to have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection already has taken place, and are overthrowing the faith of certain ones. However, the immovable foundation of God has stood and at present stands, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are His, and, let those who name the Name of the Lord depart from every wickedness.” (2Tim 2:15-19 An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest)
 Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
 Young, Wm. Paul. Lies We Believe About God. Kindle Edition. loc. 1659
 Don Keathley. Unmasking the Gospel. Video 40:55
 Young, Wm. Paul. Lies We Believe About God. Kindle Edition. loc.1633
 Don Keathley. Unmasking the Gospel. Video 33:04 -35:00
 Young, Wm. Paul. Lies We Believe About God. Kindle Edition. Loc. 1672
 Young, Wm. Paul. Lies We Believe About God. Kindle Edition loc. 917.
 Don Keathley. Unmasking the Gospel. Video 29:10