Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Therapeutic Gospel-E. Curry

             Throughout this message, the speaker addresses people who have low self-image.  He calls out to those who all too often listen to the negative things about themselves that they hear from others and from the devil.  The preacher tells  his congregation to stop beating themselves up; rather, believe that God is pleased with you and receive His forgiveness and mercy.  As long as you are trying your best, he tells his audience, you do not have to live condemned.  The pastor ends his sermon by encouraging everyone to go out into the world “expecting God’s blessing and favor; be bold enough to believe that God is smiling down on you.”
            This sermon fits the standards that Trevin Wax set for the therapeutic gospel.  According to Wax, the therapeutic gospel is when “sin is recast as an obstacle to finding happiness” (Wax, 44).  More specifically, this message fits the “fill’er up” type of therapeutic gospel.  The point of the “fill’er up” gospel is to make people feel better because “Our self-image is poor, and we lack self-esteem. We wallow needlessly in feelings of guilt and unworthiness” (Wax, 46).  Seeing as this preacher sounds more like a motivational speaker than an actual pastor, it is easy to see how he embodies the therapeutic gospel throughout his sermon.
            This preacher focuses on encouraging his audience to stop feeling guilty and condemned.  He says feeling wrong about yourself doesn’t do anyone any good. However, according to Counterfeit Gospels, this preacher has it all wrong!  As Trevin Wax states, “scripture is clear that our biggest problem is not that we feel guilty; it’s that we are guilty” (Wax, 48).  Therefore, this preacher is misguided in telling his congregation to not feel bad about themselves.  Every single person is guilty of sin and should feel condemned because of it!
            Another point Wax makes in his book is that “we unintentionally look to God as a tool for bringing the happiness we think will be ours when we are at the center of the universe” (Wax, 46).  The preacher in this video applies this point to his message in many ways.  On multiple occasions, he tells his congregation to accept God’s mercy and forgiveness.  He claims that as long as you try your best, God is pleased with you no matter what. 
            The pastor presents God’s forgiveness and mercy as a quick-fix for a person’s low self-esteem; unfortunately, he has everything backwards. He acts as though low self-esteem is the problem.  According to Trevin Wax, that is how this sermon fulfills the requirements of the therapeutic gospel.  Low self-esteem is not the problem; sin is the problem and low self-esteem is the symptom.  Rather than offering God’s forgiveness as a morale booster, the preacher should be enlightening his congregation about their sin.  He should be informing them of how a person received God’s forgiveness only by repenting of one’s sin; it is only then will a person start having higher self-esteem because they would’ve taken care of the problem.

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