Racers are encouraged to come to the G42 school in Spain run by Seth Barnes’ “spiritual father” Andrew Shearman. A potential candidate says,”G42 Leadership Academy in Mijas, Spain is affiliated with Adventures in Missions, and the trip I was on, the World Race, has become a feeder program of sorts to G42.” We have previously written about G42 here and here.
Seth says of G42, “I love what this place stands for. Andrew injects the vision of a hope-filled God and a soon-coming kingdom into everyone who attends the school. The place is alive with possibilities..We’ll be teaching the students on discipling, leadership, church planting, and spiritual entrepreneurship this week… If you’ve ever wanted to discover more of what God is doing in the earth and how to join him, I recommend coming here and taking a few classes. It’s an awesome place.”
So what about this academy is worthy of such lofty praise?
The following excerpts taken from a young racer’s blog tell us a bit about the teaching at G42. Note that there is no definition of the Gospel, nor use of any Scripture to support what is being taught. The God that is spoken of is not the God portrayed in Scripture, therefore is an idol of their own making.
Our comments are intended to shine a light on the teaching of this organization not on the writer of the blog post, though what this young woman has been led to believe is indeed concerning.
“A little bit of what I have been learning at G42:
Here’s a bit of stark honesty for you: for the majority of my Christian life I did not believe the gospel was actually good news….Somehow, in my “adult” life, I had managed to encounter Jesus on multiple occasions and therefore could no longer deny His existence… I also felt as though what people told me about God and Jesus didn’t always match up to the love and peace I had experienced when I encountered Him.
On numerous occasions, whether overtly or subtly- this was the message about God that was being conveyed.
I will use an analogy Andrew Shearman used in class that I think illustrates it pretty well. Imagine you are in love with someone and are about to get married and these are his/ her vows:
I love you, (your name). I know that you are my true love. I am happy and I am grateful that you came into my life, that where others have spent their entire lives looking for the one, I have found you. And now that I have found you, I shall never let you go. I promise you, that I shall hold you and cherish you and give you my heart, that I shall support you and care for you. Faithfully, I shall always stand steadfast at your side with your hand in mine, regardless of what life would bring to us. I take you now as my wife/husband, and I shall remain so for the rest of my life….but if you don’t love me back and do everything that I say, I will kill you.
This may seem a bit extreme, but is it not essentially the message being conveyed about God? God loves us so much and has forgiven us BUT, if we mess up and don’t do a good enough job being a “good” Christian, he will send us into the depths of hell.”
The “message” that has been conveyed to this young woman is NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ, rather, one of works righteousness. Scripture clearly states,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is a gift from God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph 2: 8-9
“…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:6-8
It is not our job to be a “good” Christian to avoid hell. We don’t need to worry about “messing up”, because as believers we have been ransomed by the blood of Christ.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…” Eph 1:7.
“…knowing that you were ransomed from the foolish ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ…” 1 Peter 1:18-19
The “gospel” that Andrew Shearman uses in his analogy is a false gospel. The blogger then continues…
“This was the good news I was supposed to be sharing?
I knew in my head that the gospel should be good news, but as many times as I tried, the head knowledge was not being translated into heart knowledge.
It is confusing.”
It certainly is confusing when you are dealing with a false gospel. A message of works righteousness is most definitely NOT good news worthy of sharing.
“After my time here, I can finally say that I do in my heart of hearts believe that the gospel is not only good news, but bigger and better than we were ever told.
But it’s kind of like this… I can tell you all about my friend Bree:
I can tell you how great she is, how trustworthy, brilliant and funny she is.
Or I can tell you that she sucks, that she is wrathful and angry and will do whatever she can to make your life miserable.
But the truth is that neither of these descriptions really matter to you until you actually spend time with her and learn it for yourself.
I believe that in a way it is the same with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. No matter what any one says about Him, ultimately it will come down to you and what you think of Him when you get to know Him.”
“So… I am not going to explain how I came to this realization, partly because it would be a novel and partly because I’m not sure it would help. What is much more beneficial is for you to invite the Holy Spirit to show you God’s character and reveal to you whether or not it is actually good news.”
This is heartbreaking because the true gospel is bigger and better than we can believe but the message the G42 academy is teaching is not the gospel. It is a lie.
First, what WE think of God has no bearing on anything. It matters how HE sees us. Second, the way to know God’s character is through the study of His WORD, the inspired, inerrant, all sufficient Holy Scripture. To invite the Holy Spirit to subjectively “teach” one God’s character is an open invitation to deception. We must always be mindful that the enemy disguises himself as an angel of light.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Tim 4:3-4
The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin and point us to our need for Jesus as our Savior. Christ says,
“And when He (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me” John 16:8
The young woman goes on,
“And, if it is anything like my experience, He will show you that life is more exciting, adventurous, and joyful than you ever thought possible (truly). That life with Him is the exact opposite of boring. That who you are with Him is beautiful, powerful, and ok. And you will be brought back to life knowing you are so, so loved.
Extra-biblical revelation is not necessary to know we are so, so loved. God has already revealed this to us in the sacrifice of His son.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Continuing, “So, if this is something that has been on your mind recently, here is my advice: God is bigger than you questioning if He is actually good. He can handle it, so tell Him exactly how you feel about it and know that He won’t love you any less.
Ask Him to reveal to you whether or not it is actually good news. I think you may just find it is bigger and better than you ever thought or believed.”
Again, we don’t need to ask God to reveal whether or not the gospel is good news. He has made it abundantly clear in His word. As illustrated in the below verses, the Bible clearly says that the JUST penalty for our sin and rebellion against Him is hell. Because of His LOVE He has provided for our redemption.
“For the wages of sin is death, (Justice) but the free gift of God (Love) is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 3:23
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left…“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels …And these will go away into eternal punishment, (Justice) but the righteous into eternal life. (Love) ” Matt 25:31-46
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life (Love) ; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.(Justice)” John 3:36
In order to understand the gospel as the truly good news that it is we must understand our sin and our just punishment. God loved us so much that Christ came to satisfy God’s wrath. God’s character has many facets, much like a diamond. Love is one facet but Justice, Mercy, Patience, Holiness and Wisdom are others. We cannot define Him as loving without recognizing the other traits that are equally present.
The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 4, asks,”But isn’t God merciful?”
The answer is, “God is certainly merciful, but He is also just. His justice demands that sin, committed against His supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty-eternal punishment of body and soul.” (Ex 20:6; 34:6, 7; Ps 103:8, 9;Ex 20:5; 34:7; Deut 7:9-11; Ps 5:4-6; Heb 10:30, 31;Mt 25:45, 46)
Kevin DeYoung in his book, The Good News we Almost Forgot, explains this answer by saying,
“Divine love without divine wrath is meaningless. When we minimize God’s justice, we do not exalt His mercy, we undermine it. God’s mercy exhibits its full power and sweetness when we see it not merely as a general goodwill to all people, but as the means by which God’s people are rescued, in Christ, from their just wrath and punishment.”
The young world racer ends her blog post by writing, “Here is a teaching from a past intern…that I think gives a great illustration about the revelation I have had about our Father’s love:
And here lies the problem…if this describes her “revelation” and also what is being taught at the G42 Academy, then it is clearly NOT from God. We ARE guilty. We have rebelled against Him and broken His law. Until we acknowledge that we can not be saved.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;
who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind” Jer 17:9-10
There is no scripture to support “loving ourselves more” or “making ourselves proud”. These are man-centered lies from the enemy. God desires godly sorrow and confession of our sin so that He might extend to us the bounty of His marvelous grace.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10
Seth Barnes happily recommends and partners with Andrew Shearman’s G42 Academy. They are not teaching truth, they are promoting lies.
For those unfamiliar, this has all the markings of the heresy called Pelagianism.
Pelagius taught that a person is born with the same purity and moral abilities as Adam was when he was first made by God. He taught that people can choose God by the exercise of their free will and rational thought. God’s grace, then, is merely an aid to help individuals come to Him.
Pelagianism fails to understand man’s nature and weakness. We are by nature sinners (Eph. 2:3; Psalm 51:5). We all have sinned because sin entered the world through Adam:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
Furthermore, Romans 3:10-12 says, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”
Therefore, we are unable to do God’s will (Rom. 6:16; 7:14). We were affected by the fall of Adam–contrary to what Pelagius taught. Pelagius has been condemned (as heresy) by many councils throughout church history.
What a satisfaction it will be in that day to have had a part in the fight, to have helped to break the arrows of the bow, and to have shared in winning the victory for our Lord! Happy are those who entrust themselves to this conquering Lord, and who fight side by side with Him doing their part in His name and by His strength! How unhappy are those on the side of evil! It is a losing side, and it is a matter in which to lose is to lose and to be lost forever. On whose side are you? Spurgeon