Recently I’ve seen a growing number of Christian communicators teaching what I might consider “another gospel.” These are prominent men and women in the faith. Influencers.
Some are pastors of large congregations. Others stand on stages before thousands. If we attended one of these conferences, we would hear Scripture intertwined. We would hear beautiful voices singing, inspirational messages that would bring us to our feet in applause, and stories that would rock our world.
We would cry, laugh, and be awed by such great orators.
Now please understand! I’m not dissing big gatherings, but I am concerned about those teachers who are promoting a “false” gospel. And I’m VERY concerned for those who are being led astray.
Thousands (believers and non-believers) are falling for these lies.
Believe it or not, this was happening in the first century church as well. In his letter to the church at Galatia, the Apostle Paul cut right to the chase when he said, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7). They were warned! And we’ve been warned, too!
No doubt, we are living in the time Paul was writing about: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1).
With this said, I felt like I needed to address this disturbing problem within the church. Let’s look at some of the “wrong” theology that’s being taught.
The prosperity gospel!
This is probably the most common false gospel. It says that financial blessing and physical well-being are ALWAYS the will of God. Leaders will tell their followers that God will increase one’s material wealth with enough faith, positive speech, and donations.
Here’s the thing: God often does bless us with these things. But not because we do something or have enough faith. It’s truly because God loves us so much. He is a God that loves to pour out His blessings on His people. And He will at His choosing.
There were countless godly men and women in the Bible that were poor and suffered health issues. They were persecuted, mistreated, imprisoned, broken, scarred, and died horrible deaths. Yet, they were commended for their faith (Hebrews 11:39).
Jesus debunked this theology when He said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). And “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Children often do not fare well in life if they’ve been given everything. The same is true of us. Our struggles should draw us closer to Jesus.
Believing in this prosperity gospel gives people false hope. They become disillusioned when they don’t see the prosperity they were hoping for. And trust me, you can have all the faith in the world and still not be healthy, wealthy, or wise.
This is a FALSE gospel!
The everyone-is-essentially-good gospel!
This gospel is very scary because people are flocking to it. Why? Because there is no accountability for sin. In fact, they are taught that man is intrinsically good. Sin is never addressed.
These are FEEL-GOOD messages. People give themselves a pat on the back, rather than face the depravity of their hearts.
Jesus NEVER evaded sin. In fact, He confronted sin all the time. Jesus let the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) go, but with a command: “Go and sin no more!”
Paul writes: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Scripture also says, “No one does good, not a single one” (Romans 3:12).
The good news is that we don’t have to live in our sins, but “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The problem with this gospel is that people are not held accountable to live up to God’s righteous standard. Sin gets swept under the rug. Sin is justified.
We need to be really careful not to buy into this. We need to call sin what it is! What the Bible says is sin is sin. We need to embrace the whole gospel, not just the parts that make us feel good. Not just the parts that make us popular with others.
The personal-empowerment gospel!
I was watching a video of a gal on stage in front of thousands at a “Christian” conference. She basically was telling the audience that whatever they wanted to be in life, they could find it from right inside of themselves. This theology is “you” based. Christ is not a part of it.
Here are some things these teachers might say…
…YOU have the strength to overcome
…YOU have the power within you to be greater
…YOU can enforce change
…YOU can channel your inner self for whatever you need
This theology is wrong because Jesus is never mentioned. It’s humans telling humans how to live and how to be successful. It’s humanistic – not divine – theology.
God created us to NEED Him.
I wonder if this kind of teaching was on Paul’s mind when he wrote a letter to the Philippians. This is what he said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances… I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12). But then he writes, “I can do everything THROUGH Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Let me encourage you to find strength, power and success. But look upward, not inward. Because that’s where true strength, power and success lie.
The many-avenues-to-God gospel!
I’m sure you know this one, but hopefully you do not believe a word of it. There are many notable people preaching this horrible gospel. People are believing that they can choose any way – their own way – to God.
But Jesus couldn’t be clearer about this: “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6).
Putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to get to God and to be given eternal life in heaven.
So my friends. I hope you’ll ponder these things and keep focusing on Scripture. Knowing God’s Word is a SURE way to keep from being led astray.
Please pass this on to others.