Monday, April 16, 2012

A Therapeutic Gospel-L. Winneroski

    Although this sermon does not specifically cover the gospel story (creation, fall, redemption, and restoration), the preacher implies his misled interpretation of the gospel story when addressing the upcoming decade. In this sermon, the preacher is really giving a motivational pep talk for the upcoming decade, beginning with 2010. He focuses his message on the blessings and favors of God, propelling his message into the category of the therapeutic gospel. The preacher states in his sermon that because you have trusted Christ and are a child of God, you will see a decade of increase, promotion, and favor. He states that your career will take off, you will accomplish your goals, you will get out of debt and pay your house off, and you get well again despite the medical reports.
    Here, it is as if the preacher is saying, Trust Christ and everything in your life will be great! According to Wax, this thinking is referred to as the Happy Meal Gospel. Under this reasoning, God wants us to be happy. Pursuing happiness becomes the main focus of our lives and we reach this goal of happiness by being nice and helpful to other people. This sermon also falls into the subcategory of the Paid Programming Gospel. Jesus is viewed as the means to turning your life around and making it “better.” Jesus is seen a mere addition to your existing life, rather than someone who transforms you from the inside out.
    As clearly evident by the packed stadium listening to this sermon, people want to hear this type of message. The motivational tone leaves people inspired and feeling good. The therapeutic gospels focus on human worth and God providing for our needs. However, often times, messages like this one leave us wanting God’s provisions and blessings rather than desiring God Himself. The therapeutic gospel does not address suffering and often leaves people struggling and questioning when suffering does come. This gospel also ignores the great weight and depravity of human sin. In this sermon, people are clearly cast in an optimistic light, suggesting that deep down people are mostly good. This downplaying of sin also downplays God’s grace and sacrifice of sending His son Jesus to die in our place. The therapeutic gospel uses Christ as a means of getting something else in life, such as blessing in an upcoming decade. This sermon focuses only on the blessings rather than the One who does the blessing.

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