Sunday, August 3

What Gospel?

Today we see a vast spread of what we call Christianity. Churches are springing up worldwide, largely influenced by the glut of "Good Christian Teaching" from the US. The problem, though, is seen in looking at the state of affairs in the US Church. Substance abuse, teen pregnancy, STDs and marriage breakdowns match if not outstrip the "sinners" who never darken a church door. The "Hardshell Baptist" has become a standard, and a bye-word, for American religion in general: Quick enough to state a position, but completely unable to give a reason for it which reflects in a godly life. The shell is there, and in good repair, but the yolk has been sucked out years ago, leaving what looks like a healthy egg, but neither food nor life inside.

Severe words? Yes indeed. Un-called-for? Then why do we have cities in the middle of the "Bible Belt" where churches outnumber filling stations, nearly 90% of the people report being "born again," and the biggest two industries seem to be illegal drugs and prostitution? Why does the head of the Evangelical Alliance have to resign because of a queer sex scandal, the biggest "evangelists" on the media circle the wagons when asked about their finances, and one of their number pack a sports stadium while refusing to confess Christ as Savior on national television? Ranting? Yes. Called-for? What do you think?

At the risk of falling into the Platonic trap of believing that proper education produces a moral life, we do need to look more closely at what this gospel is that has produced such a dubious crowd of "Christians." Do Jesus Followers get boozed up at the strip joints just hours before Sunday church? Do Christian pastors loot their parish treasuries to pay for personal "outreach trips" to Aruba, or need a denominational hush fund for abused altar boys?

The Bible says that Christianity is about the power to be a new person, that becoming partakers of God's own holy nature is the proof of our salvation, and that we otherwise have no honest claim to eternal life. In Romans we read that the Gospel concerning Jesus Christ is the very power of God for our salvation, but we somehow seem to have lost track of exactly what that message is, and even why it matters. If anyone thinks otherwise, let them please put their definition in the replies below; but in the meantime the theologians of the day need to come to grips with what elements are missing and get them back before this rapidly-spreading "gospel-lite" drags any more souls into despair and perdition in the name of "hope!"


  1. "gospel-lite"

    We need the full-fledged Gospel preached!

  2. That's the point, eh? But in the process of "simplifying" the Message of all the "trappings and traditions," is there some one part that we're missing, or is maybe the whole Package itself the "missing part?" Again, not in order to display the Gospel like a fully restored museum piece, but the power of God to restore and regenerate human lives. Gospel Lite does not seem to be carrying the freight.

  3. The gospel message has to have Biblical theology attached to it. This was discussed in my latest.



So what's your take?