Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Judgmentless Gospel-E. Curry

             In this sermon, the pastor addresses those who have come from dysfunctional, imperfect families, and have difficulty overcoming their past and moving forward.  “Don’t let your heredity stop your destiny” he says; in other words, one shouldn’t let their past get in the way of their future.  Instead, people should find encouragement in the blessings that God has bestowed on them and the destiny that accompanies it.  God’s blessings provide a great future, the pastor states, one that is better than the past; God has a great life planned out, you need only to move forward and look to the days ahead.  The preacher tells his audience that if you “walk in the blessing and choose to fulfill your purpose” then you will “not have an unfair future.”
            According to Trevin Wax and his book Counterfeit Gospels, this sermon fits the mold of the judgmentless gospel.  The preacher talks a lot about justice, yet nothing about judgment.  In this particular message, the pastor emphasizes that people who have come from a dysfunctional family will receive justice through God’s blessing and the great, favor-filled future He has in store for them.  He presents God as unconditionally-loving, continuously-providing, and “fair”, regardless of circumstance.  Thus, the preacher expresses a Universalist attitude that “everyone and everything will turn out okay in the end” (Wax, 70).
            This pastor fails to mention that the “future” goes far beyond what this life has to offer to us and thus, completely neglects the coming Judgment Day.  Instead, he speaks of the future as if it only includes our time spent on Earth.  When the pastor talks of God’s blessings, it sounds as if he is speaking of materialistic and earthly things.  As we all know from reading Colossians 3:2, we are to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  The preacher does not established that God’s promise for a great future means spending eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven, not happiness or success.  Since the pastor fails to mention Heaven, he also fails to mention that the only way we can spend eternity there is by passing God’s judgment and that the only way we can do that is by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
            However, throughout this entire sermon, the pastor doesn’t even acknowledge the sinful nature of the human race.  So, if we – according to this preacher’s omission of sin – are not guilty of anything, why do we need Christ to be our savior?  Why do we need to worry about the coming Judgment?  This is precisely where this sermon fails as a proper explanation of the gospel and instead fulfills the requirements for the judgmentless gospel.  As Trevin Wax wrote, “without judgment, sin becomes less serious…no longer is human sin considered cosmic treason against our Creator, and the offer of forgiveness loses its power” (Wax, 68).

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