Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Judgmentless Gospel-L. Headley

The speaker in this video demands one’s attention.  With simple, soothing music playing in the background and a strong yet pleasing voice, the speaker draws his listener into this modern gospel presentation. He uses sleek screen shots and a prepared speech. The speaker begins by recounting a brief history of religions that claimed their leader or teacher rose from the dead or ascended to heaven.  The Jews were not the only ones to make this claim.  There were a few others: Mithra, Attis, and Caesar. The speaker argues that the resurrection of Jesus is not what originally made Christianity unique.  Instead, it was that while Caesar Augustus would attract followers through military force and political pressure, the followers of Christ would make themselves appealing by creating communities of compassion.  Where Caesar used brute force to convert believers, the speaker argues that the early Christians used love and peaceful, harmonious living environments. The speaker argues that everything was about the “restoration, the renewing, and the reclaiming of this world.”
While it would be rather incredible to deny that God desires for the world of today to be reclaimed and for His followers to strive to make the world better, this is not the message of the gospel.  The speaker says that for the early Christians the restoration of the world had nothing to do with leaving the world.  Simply put, he is saying that the restoration has nothing to do with the afterlife.  This gospel presentation can be deemed a counterfeit gospel. It is a counterfeit gospel because it does not address the issue of the spiritual or the afterlife.  This gospel presentation misses the mark and does not bring any attention to the spiritual situation of the believers.  It focuses solely on what the Christians do here on earth.  It makes out that the Christian mission is to be only about creating a better world, showing non-believers how wonderful and loving the Christian world is.  It does not show non-believers that the root of the world’s problems is sin; rather it shows that the Christian method of making a better world is simply more appealing than the method of Caesar.  This is not the purpose of the gospel.  Wax writes, “Making the Bible only about God’s kingdom on earth here and now does justice to one part of the picture, but flattens out the bigger picture of eventual cosmic restoration under the reign of King Jesus - a restoration that also includes judgment of all that remains in a state of rebellion against Him” (Wax, 71).  The speaker in this video does not seem to think that judgment of sin is important, nor does he even seem to think the personal renewal of the Christian is important.  He does not preach the spiritual message of the gospel, but rather that what the believer does in the here and now are what is truly important.  

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