Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Therapeutic Gospel-A. Pitts

    This presentation focuses on the death of Jesus Christ and the difficulties that He faced on the way to His greatest victory. It begins by analyzing the imagery of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the way that He carried His cross on the way to Golgotha. The speaker mentions that in His moments of greatest need, even Jesus needed God to send encouragement and strength; in the Garden, there was an angel, and when He was carrying the cross, Simon came along to help Him carry it. From these points, the speaker goes on to state that God always sends someone along our path to help us in our most difficult hour of need. Though we may face moments like Jesus where we feel alone and abandoned on a cross, God is always working for our good, and we are headed toward our very own resurrection and the abundant life that God has for us. The gospel is all about our victory and our success.
    This presentation appears to fall under the counterfeit category of the therapeutic gospel. For all of the mention of Jesus on the cross, it never addresses the true reason for His being on the cross; here, it is simply another obstacle on Jesus’ path to victory.  This presentation seems to be more concerned with our well-being, abundance, and victory in our own dreams and lives as opposed to the fact that we are sinners in need of Jesus’ redeeming blood. It does not seem to consider sin in the equation at all, and makes God look more like a dispenser of blessing than an almighty and holy Lord. In spite of these flaws, this particular presentation does rightly mention the fact that God is a keeper of His promises and that He is a provider of comfort and strength through our times of need, but it puts more emphasis on the fact that we should seek God for these promises and comforts rather than seek Him simply for who He is. It causes people to seek gifts above Giver. As a counter to this counterfeit, it is essential to return Jesus to the center of the gospel, not blessings or wealth or an abundant life. Though followers of Jesus do receive blessings, those blessings are not to be the focus of the gospel. If Jesus is the greatest treasure, then it will not matter when suffering and loss are encountered, because those who are suffering will know that their abundance lies not in earthly things but in the eternal and living God. It is also extremely important to put mankind’s worth in the gospel, not the gospel’s worth in mankind. The gospel is not about mankind or about mankind’s worth to God, it is about the work that He has done – and His work of salvation was not done because of man’s value, but through mercy that was not deserved in the least, mercy that was given to men totally depraved and sinful in nature.  When these changes are made to the therapeutic gospel, it begins to conform to the image of the one true gospel.

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