“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Paul and Silas to the Philippian jailer
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh? 4 Did you suffer[b] so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Paul to the Galatian church
Above are three Bible verses. I hope that you have read them because they and a multitude of other verses in the Christian Bible have a lot to say about what Jesus did and what we “do”.
I became a Christian way back in the stone age (1982) and almost immediately was taught that I needed to assimilate into a “do/don’t do list” that all respectable Christians adhere too. So I did, and for the next 15+ years I tried my hardest to be a good Christian. I failed, but I was good at keeping it hidden because to admit failure was to admit I was not spiritual. But all this is for another days’ post.
Today I want to show you some of the “bewitching” that is going on the Evangelical Church today that is “another Gospel”. Let me first give you the Gospel in a nutshell. Jesus is God in human flesh, coming to Earth to give Himself as a sacrifice and substitute for our sins before a Holy God. He became our sin on the cross and died. Three days later He rose as confirmation that His sacrifice was more than sufficient to appease God’s wrath for our sinfulness. All we do is believe as we are inspired and led by the Holy Spirit. We then can have a relationship with God because Jesus made us perfect and holy. You see, our relationship with God is based on Jesus, never on us.
That being said, there is another gospel being perpetrated against believers and non-believers alike. Here are some of the hoops individuals need to jump through in order to be in, stay in or get in the church.
Be a Republican, tea partier, or at least a social conservative. Believe that it is the responsibility of the church to “save america” from moral bankruptcy. Stand against abortion, marriage equality, bullying laws, legalization of marijuana or other drugs, see welfare as anti-biblical (if someone don’t work, he shouldn’t eat), believe in a 6 day creation and vilify science, and see America and Capitalism as God’s gift to the world. And I will end with this…believing it is the responsibility of individual believers to confront non-believers with their moral failings.
Let me just say without apology…none of the things on the above list are “Gospel” but it is what many churches spend most of their time and resources disseminating.
It is wrong, and it is muddying the clear, life-giving Gospel water with a toxic sludge repulsive to most people in the world and to an increasing number of people with in the church.
It must stop.