Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Therapeutic Gospel-A. Visscher

    I went online here and here and listened to a sermon entitled “Intensive Care.” The main point of the message was that Christians are not responsible for their sin but are a work in progress, continuously becoming better through Jesus. The preacher stated that man is insane and doesn’t realize that what he does offends God. When people accept Christ into their lives they are “in treatment.” They are receiving God’s favor and blessings and are in a healing process. According to this message, the church should become a place of unconditional acceptance and love where Christians never judge. The preacher encouraged the audience to forgive past offenders and to walk in prosperity, healing, and life.
    At first glance, this counterfeit seems legitimate but upon further inspection, the listener will notice that it is a rendition of the therapeutic gospel. The preacher promises improvement and blessing when a person comes to Christ. He ignores man’s responsibility for sin, whether the sin was committed before or after the person was saved. By using the word “insane” he takes away man’s guilt and replaces it with helpless ignorance. At its core, the message assumes that man is inherently good and it claims Jesus’ role as nothing more than a divine counselor. 
    Many people are drawn to this message because of the truths that surround the lie. It rightly points to Jesus as the source of change. No sin can be conquered with out the power of Jesus and no fruit can be produced without the work of the Holy Spirit. God desires to see us become more like him and he helps us along in the process. “Intensive Care” also points out the truth of God’s blessings. He wants to give good gifts to his children and his favor rests on those who seek his face. Finally, the message highlights the church by focusing on the forgiveness and love of believers. It is correct in saying that believers should be characterized by these traits and should extend them to unbelievers. These truths make “Intensive Care” appealing and its gospel seem accurate.
    Despite the nuggets of truth found in the sermon, the gospel is a fraud. It is important to weed out the false statements and counter them with truth. First, the church is called to judge others using biblical standards. Scripture states that believers are to keep each other accountable. Instead of ignoring their faults, Christians should gently reprimand brothers and sisters caught in sin. When addressing unbelievers, Christians should use the Bible to point out that man falls short of God’s standards and that he is responsible for his sin. Another truth to emphasize in the face of “Intensive Care” is that man is motivated to change by seeking God’s face, not his hand. Thus, our change should not stem from the promise of personal benefit but from a revelation of the glory of the Lord. This ties into a third truth: blessings are not the result of change. Our change does not bring us good gifts. Instead, good gifts come from God when we seek his face. Both change and blessings are a result of the pursuit of God. They do not have a causal relationship. Knowing these truths will prepare the listener to be wary of false doctrine and to follow God with a biblical mindset.

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