One example of a counterfeit that can be noticed is in this video clip, where the Therapeutic Gospel is presented in a sermon having to do with the Gospel and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The common theme of this individual’s sermon is pressing on for our personal victory that God intends for us to have. Examples are given throughout the sermon of how Jesus went through a similar process of persisting on the road to the cross. He gives the story of Jesus praying in the garden, when “everything was against him,” explaining that the church is to follow his example and continue to hope because “victory” is coming. Also, he speaks of Jesus not being able to carry his cross, saying that “even Jesus can’t carry the weight sometimes,” and like him, his followers don’t have to be strong 100% of the time. Throughout the sermon, the pastor continually says, in regard to people’s trials and goals, that a resurrection is coming, implying that Jesus’ resurrection can be paralleled to overcoming any obstacles one may face. Lastly, the video concludes with the preacher saying that, through Jesus Christ, God has given everyone the opportunity for an abundant life.
This video metaphorically screams, “Therapeutic Gospel.” It is what Trevin Wax would probably call the “Fill’er up Gospel.” The speaker in the video continually states that God fills people up and provides for people in times of discomfort or pain. Through his portrayal of Jesus, he seems to be making the point that the purpose of Jesus’ actions and his death on the cross was primarily to provide Christians with an example to follow when they are in times of hardship. Jesus is about guiding followers through their trials, and helping them to reach their potential and achieve their goals. He seems to imply that the resurrection is symbolic for our victories in times of trial, and it represents God’s promise that he will give us success in our ambitions.
This false gospel is attractive to so many people, probably because it emphasizes that God will be there to comfort people in their time of need. Also is gives people hope for their current life on earth and for achieving their goals, especially when it is stated that God will give an abundant life to all who believe. While Jesus does bring hope and comfort during one’s life on earth, it does not guarantee that all of one’s earthly ambitions and desires will be satisfied.
In order to counter this counterfeit, one must remember to put God in the center, not one’s own personal plans. This gospel is not about the person, but about God, and what He has done through Jesus Christ to save his followers from judgment, not from failure of earthly goals. It is important that believers find their joy in God alone, and in the beauty of their salvation and God’s love and grace. When salvation from God’s eternal judgment is replaced with salvation from lack of victory and lack of reaching one’s potential, the true gospel can easily be missed.