Monday, September 24, 2012

QotD - What is the Gospel?

I am currently reading What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert. At 8 chapters and 120 pages or so, it's a very short book. For all that, it's packed with tons of information. The book is part of a series called "9Marks", which is taken from the book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, by Mark Devers.

Throughout the book, the author lays out, in clear and concise language, exactly what the Bible teaches about the Gospel. It's quite eye-opening to consider all the ways that we as humans get the gospel wrong. It doesn't matter if your laity or pastoral staff, understanding the true nature of the Gospel is crucial.

While there are lots of good passages in the book, this is the one that jumped out at me the most, perhaps because it talks to a theology that is all too prevalent in today's society:
Another misunderstanding of sin is to say that it's just a matter of negative thinking. We saw this in some of the quotes in the introduction to this book. Get rid of your old wineskins! Think bigger! God wants to show you his incredible favor, if you'll just get rid of all those negative mind-sets that hold you back!
Now that's a compelling message to self-reliant people who want to believe they can take care of their sin all by themselves. That's probably why men who proclaim that message have managed to build some of the largest churchesi n the world. The formula is pretty easy, really. Just tell people that their sin is no deeper than negative thinking and that it's holding them back from health, wealth, and happiness. Then tell them that if they'll just think more positively about themselves (with God's help, of course), they'll be rid of their sin and get rich, to boot. Bingo! Instant megachurch!
Sometimes the promised goal is money, sometimes health, sometimes something else entirely. But however you spin it, to say that Jesus Christ died to save us from negative thoughts about ourselves is reprehensibly unbiblical. In fact, the Bible teaches that a big part of our problem is that we think too highly of ourselves, not too lowly. Stop and think about it for a moment. How did the Serpent tempt Adam and Eve? He told them they were thinking too negatively about themselves. He told them they needed to think more positively, to extend their grasp, to reach toward their full potential, to be like God! In a word, he told them to think bigger.
Now how'd that work out for them?
It's definitely food for thought.

1 comment: