What’s Specifically Wrong With Our Modern Gospel?
1.It’s Me-Centered Instead of Christ-Centered. First and foremost, it is the gospel that appeals to the selfish. Instead of honoring God, it places the sinner at the center of God’s love and plan. But the Bible places Jesus at the center of God’s plan, not the sinner.
One of the most well-known phrases of modern evangelism is “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” But the sober, biblical truth that needs to be presented to the sinner’s mind is “You have made yourself an enemy of God, and in your present state of rebellion there is absolutely no hope for you.” In fact, God’s “plan” for the sinner at this point in his life is to separate him from His presence forever, in hell. However unpopular or unlovely that may sound, it is the only truth and reality about anyone who is an enemy of God through sin.
The whole line of reasoning in our modern gospel continues on and on in this mistaken way. “Sin has separated you from God, ‘and His wonderful plan for your life.’ Jesus came and died on the cross, so that you may experience ‘His wonderful plan for your life.’ You must accept Jesus now, so that you will not miss out on ‘His wonderful plan for your life!'” You, you, you, you!!! It’s all for YOU! I’m not sorry to say this, but Jesus did it all in obedience, for His Father’s glory.(Phil. 2:8-12) Of course, it infinitely benefits those who love, serve, and honor Him, but that was a secondary consideration, not the primary one. (Please read Ezek. 36:22-32.) If people come to Jesus mainly to get a blessing, or only to get forgiveness, they will ultimately be disappointed. But if they come to give Him their lives in honor and worship, then they will truly have forgiveness and joy – more than they could ever imagine! (I Cor. 2:9)
2. It’s Shallow, Cheap, and Offered as a “Bargain.”Our gospel reduces the good news to a “come and get it while you can” sale. We make every effort to take all the bones out – everything that might offend someone, might make them hesitate or put off their decision. Jesus didn’t do this. He never lowered the requirements for anyone. One had to be completely sincere, totally humbled, having counted the cost, willing to leave everything, family and property, “count all things loss” so that they might “gain Christ.” (Phil 3:7-8) When that same rich young ruler “went away sad, for he had many possessions” (Matt. 19:22), Jesus didn’t go running after him shouting, “Hey, wait a minute! Let’s talk this thing over, it isn’t as bad as it might sound. Maybe I was a little too harsh!”
Maybe we’re so eager to “see the converts,” to publish “how many got saved at our last concert” in the bulletins to our supporters, that we’ll do anything to rush someone into a “decision” before he’s had a chance to really make one. The problem is, if you have to rush him into it, he probably will change his mind later anyway. For as a friend of mine says, “If somebody can talk them into it, somebody can talk them out of it!” (I Cor. 1:17)To continue
2 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With The Gospel? Section 1:”The Missing Parts”, Part 5of6, Keith Green 1953-1982”
Thank you for these comments. It is one of my major concerns with what we often call “prosperity gospel” as opposed to the true Gospel and it is so prevalent in many of our Megachurches, popular Christian music and televangelists here in the United States.
When I was a very young Master of Divinity student, younger than all my classmates, at a Lutheran seminary the professors used to talk about this as the need to preach “law and Gospel”, one of the unique historic focuses of Lutheran theology dating back to the works of the historic founder, Martin Luther, in Europe of the 1500s, the founder of what most see as what became the “Protestant” movement.
All of us fall short of the Love of God for all of us sin daily so that none of us can boast (to paraphrase the famous passage in Romans) and we must consciously make a choice, an effort,to turn to Christ instead of away from Him, but it is in that state of sin — those things WE do and think — that separate or harm or relationship with God and with our neighbors, — that we need God’s mercy for without it we would surely burn in hell. We cannot save ourselves for no matter how good we believe we might be and no matter how focused we are on the “persona aspect” of Salvation today, we are all sinners, whether the President of a nation,a laborer, a farmer, a business person or an ordained minister of The Gospel. As an old European hymn was titled, “Chief of Sinners Though I Be, Christ’s Blood Was Shed for me” — there’s the “Me” word again but the context is not feel good, often materialistic praise music, it is the image of pain and suffering of our Lord which each of us and our ancestors and or children and grandchildren caused. If we’re going to get “personal” as people do so much, forgetting the “sin” part of our modern Gospel in our preaching and in our songs (and don’t get me wrong, I love some modern Christian music having spent a number of years as a Partner, Program Director and Presenter at a U.S. Christian broadcasting network), then we need remember that we are responsible, each of us collectively and individually, for the horrible crucification of Christ, our Lord as sure as if we had beat Him on the way to the Cross,hung him on the Cross ourselves and put the nails in his wrists ourselves.
Thank you for reminding us of the core of the Gospel!