Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Therapeutic Gospel-W. Tatum

    The Gospel can be compared to a cobweb. A result of one Creator, it is a multi-faceted, complex structure which requires perfect synchronization of every element in order to achieve its purpose. Yet its structure remains simple enough for even a child to sketch, and its unique form aids easy recognition. Trevin Wax’s book Counterfeit Gospels dispels six Gospel myths which threaten to destroy the intricate workings of God’s plan.
    This counterfeit Gospel presentation is Therapeutic in nature because its primary objective is to promise blessing and success as a result of faith in God. It shows a sermon which declares that Jesus’ anointing as Savior leads to “The Blessing,” that is, burden-free living. This blessing was first declared by God in Genesis when He gave man dominion over all material creation. The speaker declares that Jesus as Savior means He is responsible for our welfare and future, and that all will go well for us if we walk in love and faith. He explains that, “Faith comes in when you expect that choice to payoff in blessing”, and further expounds that faith begins when the will of God is known. There is a promotional excerpt at the end of the video which further guarantees “The Blessing.” The implication is that, because the creative force of God is within every believer, they will be able to thrive and even administer physical healing.
    While this Therapeutic counterfeit is seductive, its very foundation equates God to a Jack-in-the-Box. All a Christian has to do is crank the handle, and blessings will pour out. To be fair, the speaker correctly establishes God as a loving Creator. He also explains the importance of prayer and relying on God’s strength. Unfortunately, he fails to mention the depraved nature of man or that salvation is intended for God’s exaltation. Salvation is a gift man does not deserve, and he is not owed additional blessings. It is like waking from an emergency heart surgery in which the doctor performed heroic measures to save one’s life, and then whining, “Hey, where are my breast implants?” II Corinthians 4 stresses our lost state and that the natural result of salvation should be thanksgiving. (NIV) We give glory to God for who He is and what He did for us, not the other way around. It further describes the life of a believer to be filled with persecution, and that, though hard-pressed and struck down, we are not destroyed. This passage rebukes the notion that prayer is a magical potion for an easy life. Indeed, Christ fervently prayed that he might not have to undergo death, but ultimately submitted to God’s will which resulted in crucifixion, not comfort. If Christians pursue this sort of Gospel, they will find God to be inconsistent, unpredictable, and ultimately, untrustworthy. If God promises unceasing blessings to all believers, what about those affected by Hurricane Katrina, or the families of the victims of 9/11? To them, God must be a liar. Instead, II Corinthians 4:18 encourages us to fix our eyes not on the temporary world which is sure to disappoint, but instead on that which is eternal.

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