If we take Scripture out of context, and practice proof texting to make the Bible say what we want it to say, we may end up inflicting more harm than good. Many mega-church preachers and televangelists often feel the need to sugar coat the gospel in order to make it more appealing to their audience and bring in more tithes and church members. Unfortunately, they often distort the word of God so severely that they end up missing out on the blessing God intended.
One such preacher, whose sermon was posted on YouTube, was trying to comfort his audience during the presentation of the gospel by telling them that it was oaky to ‘stumble’ and that they didn’t have to be strong one hundred percent of the time. The preacher applied a therapeutic gospel presentation, and recalled Jesus’ suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, followed by his suffering on the cross. His entire presentation highlights perseverance, and the promise of better days ahead. The actual presentation of the gospel only took up a couple a minutes at the very end of his sermon.
I may be able to credit him, and say that this was just an average sermon about trusting God, and persevering through tough times and he simply tried to add the gospel on at the very end. However, as genuine as his intent might have been, I believe that he distorted the gospel, and left the audience without the information they needed. The pastor left out such pertinent details as the life of Christ, the significance of Christ’s atoning work on the cross and what salvation is. More significantly, the pastor stated that some of our common sins (for example, losing your temper or yelling at your kids) were okay, and that God understands. The pastor entirely neglected the concept of repentance, turning from our sins and living a new and restored life for Christ.
Beyond the extremely poor, inaccurate and misleading presentation of the gospel, I also noticed several biblical statements that were taken out of context (such as his reference to ‘our resurrection’ as our dreams being fulfilled), exaggeration of biblical facts (such as Jesus supposedly sweating ‘great drops of blood’ in the garden) and a general disrespect for the word of God (by twisting the word of God into paraphrases that served his own purpose). I would be surprised to find a presentation of the gospel that could be considered more counterfeit than this one.