“We have to stand up against immorality,” the rotund pastor in the Hugo Boss suit bellows, “If we don’t the Gospel of Jesus will be lost.”
Thus, with that pronouncement, the Gospel is transformed into a bully pulpit against promiscuity, abortion, marriage equality or any other “morally reprehensible” acts not committed by those within the fortified walls of right-wing of American Evangelicalism.
I am sure that you have heard something similar from TV preachers turned politicians, or televangelist blaming the latest terrorist attack, or mass shooting on…….wait for it…..gay marriage. There is so much talk out there about preserving and standing up against those that oppose the Gospel of Jesus. Yet there is hardly a sheep in the pew that questions this distortion.
This “another” gospel starts with Jesus but devolves from that point.
Yes, you have to believe in Jesus but then…
You need to vote for the most godly politicians (generally a Republican)
You cannot question the historical veracity of the Creation story, Noah, Jonah, et al., for to do so means then you can’t trust anything in Scripture (translation, you don’t really have faith in God).
Tithing (giving 10%) your income is a sign that you trust God and it is commanded by God in order to receive His blessings.
God blesses us, in general, by how good we are and withholds blessing when we fall into sin. In fact, so we are told, He doesn’t hear us when we pray, nor do we have “fellowship” with Him unless we repent again.
This next one is hardly ever spoken, but it is always implied…You have been forgiven of sin, but after becoming born-again it is now up to you to not sin, maintain time with God in prayer, Bible reading, working on becoming sanctified and holy and if you don’t fall into step with the church you are associated with and it’s rules, either you are not saved, backslidden, or in need of church discipline.
You also have the great responsibility of “loving” those outside the church (the sinners, the lost, the ungodly, the unregenerate) by telling them they are on their way to hell unless they repent, like you did. If you don’t do this on a regular basis then you are considered soft on sin, or worse yet, a liberal.
The problem with this line of thinking is that none of the above have anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus. So when a non-Christian speaks out against an organization such as The Family Research Council he/she is not attacking the Gospel, they are attacking the distorted, and misguided view of the Gospel that, like a poisonous vine has all but obscured the Beautiful Gospel of Christ.
This then, is the real Gospel.
God loved the world with an unconditional love unknown in the universe. He became Human to reveal this love. He loved us in spite of the fact we didn’t love Him. And to prove that love He died for all people for all time, and took away all the sin we have, and any penalty we have incurred. We do not have to pursue righteousness, holiness, or sanctification because Jesus took care of that for us. He rose again and empowered us to spread the Kingdom of God to all corners of the earth. We are to heal the sick, free the prisoner, give sight to the blind, speak life to those living in death, to restore the earth, to seek justice, to protect the marginalized. And love unconditionally and to teach people about the ever flowing grace of God.
One Gospel condemns, one Gospel restores. Which one is truly the Good News?
7 thoughts on “(Not The Gospel) Of Jesus”
Couldn’t agree more.
Thank you and thanks for reading too
Honestly, I don’t hear the gospel in any portion of your post. I see legalism in both the “gospels” you condemn in the beginning of your post and the so called “real gospel” you end with. Note the “We are to” in your gospel. Candidly, it seems like the false gospels you condemn in the beginning might actually be easier to do than accomplishing your list of “We are to’s” in your false gospel. I’ll take the real deal where Jesus changed my heart, granted me repentance and given me faith to trust in the work He has done to pay my debt IN FULL for my wicked, sinful, willful rebellion against Him and has freely given me His righteousness so that I can be reconciled to Him for all of eternity. Period.
Then you don’t understand the Gospel. The Gospel is about Jesus, and only Jesus. We will not never be able to add anything to it by our own self effort.. Understanding this love and grace propels us to want to see others come into that love, and to spread His Kingdom in every corner of the world.
Peace to you.
Saved from our sin and our brokenness. Saved so we do not continue to break each other. Saved to be the peace, forgiveness, love of Christ in the world. If salvation is only what happens to my soul and for the after life–it would be better to simply be transported into eternity immediately after trusting Christ. We are saved to show the world the Gospel in action–what the Gospel looks like in action. We are saved to be the peace makers, the sacrificial lovers, the joyous mourners, the limitless forgivers.
I’m working on my sermon for pentecost/confirmation Sunday. Jesus promises rivers of living water flowing from followers of Christ. There was a time I didn’t do certain things because “Christians” don’t do those things–at least according to the church I was attending. But as I meditate on Jesus’ words about rivers of living water–my motivation for what I do or do not do no longer comes from a definition of what Christians do or do not do. Instead, my actions flow from my being. Some actions are normal expressions of who I was created to be. Some actions do not express who I was created to be. When rivers of living water flow from us–the Holy Spirit has written our identity on our hearts–and from there the peace, love, joy, long suffering, gentleness, generosity, self control–flow like a river because that is who I was created to be. Hating and grudge holding, despair no longer taste good or feel right because its poison in the River of Life. Just some thoughts.