Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Judgmentless and Therapeutic Gospel-M. Connell

This sermon entitled “The Importance of Beginning in the Beginning” focuses on the idea of humanity as the pinnacle of God’s creation. He states that a gospel that focuses on beginning in Genesis 3 merely focuses on how people are bad and sinful beings that Jesus saves and that’s it.  He suggests instead to start with Genesis 1.  This pastor asks that the gospel be looked at through the lens of creation as a whole. The idea that we are children of God is a prevalent one.  He states that trying to convince people that they are wretched beings will not bring converts, or at least not lasting ones.  The pastor also comments on the state of nature.  His commentary is that just because man fell, that does not mean that all of creation fell.  This focus on nature continues as he states that, in his view of the final days, the new heaven and earth that the Scripture refers to will simply be an expanded version of what is right now. He wraps up his sermon by saying that the “story of Jesus’ resurrection is reaffirming the goodness of creation” and by making the distinction between materialism and rebellion. 
This gospel is not totally wrong. It gets at least one part of the full gospel story correct.  We were made in the image of God and we are the climax of God’s creation.  And, we were created to be with God.  But, this pastor’s inclination to bypass the issue of sin is a major problem.  By choosing to skirt around the issue that humans are, in fact, depraved beings, he downplays the need for the cross.  If we do not understand our need for salvation by grace through the sacrifice of Christ then we cannot understand the gospel.  This is a form of the judgmentless gospel and the therapeutic gospel because it downplays humanity’s desperate need for Christ’s death and resurrection as restitution for our own sin.  Instead it states that the most important part of the story of the gospel is that through Christ dying, it reaffirms that creation is good. But, there is more to the gospel story than just returning the world to a balanced state of Eden. 

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