The Neutered Gospel
(M. Boldea, Jr.)
I will say the following plainly, because I could think of no other way of saying it. At the risk of bringing the readership of this blog to zero, at the risk of having to wade through dozens of less than friendly e-mails, the following must be stated, and clearly so.
If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years have never once made you feel uncomfortable then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message. If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years have never once challenged you then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message. If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years haven’t accentuated Christ and the cross in perpetuity then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message. If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years have never once stirred you to repentance, prompted inward introspection, humbled you, caused you to weep and truly see the enormity of your sin, then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message, but a neutered version wherein God is always smiling, the sun is always shining, the birds are always chirping and no matter what you do, God’s holding onto you so tight that you’ll never be able to get away.
In this brave new world of ours, pastors have redefined their roles and become life coaches, no longer preaching a crucified Christ, but rather playing the part of guidance counselor to scores of individuals that can be likened to overactive, petulant, and overgrown children who will not accept being accountable to anyone, be they God or man.
Preachers too have redefined their roles and rather than be concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of those to whom they are ministering they play the therapist, speaking soothing words, in a soothing tone, ensuring anyone within earshot that everything’s going to be alright, that God has mellowed over the centuries, and as long as they ‘bring the tithe into the storehouse’ God will overlook everything else.
It is an understatement when I say that there is enough blame to go around for the farce of a faith many are presenting, living and promulgating today, and the sheep are just as much to blame as the shepherds. In the end these so called shepherds are just giving the people what they wanted aren’t they?
If you preach the truth, if you preach the unadulterated Word of God, wherever you happen to be, you are bound to hear those famous words that seem to be on everyone’s lips nowadays: ‘That’s not the god I serve!’
I’ve heard it more times than I would like to recall, and no matter how often I hear it, it’s still shocking.
‘I don’t like your god, your god is mean, that’s not the god I serve.’ ‘But all I did was read from His book’, I would retort, ‘all I did was read from the Bible!’
If you hear the truth being preached, if someone is reading out of the Bible and in your heart you say ‘that’s not the god I serve’, then may I humbly submit to you that you are not serving the true God, but a god of your own making and imagining. A god that you have fashioned in your heart who requires no submission, who requires no obedience, who requires no sacrifice on your part, but is more than happy to let you win the lotto time and again.
It is because we have refashioned and remade God in our own image that the neutered gospel is so widely accepted and received. It is because we didn’t like what God had to say that we chose rebellion rather than submission, and with hammer and chisel in hand we began to sculpt our new and improved deity.
Like the prophets of Baal however, we will know the true impotence of the gods we’ve fashioned when we need them most. When we see the gods of our own making for what they truly are, nothing more than mists and vanities, it will be too late, and though we might cut ourselves and bleed, though we might cry out to the heavens for a sign, these deities we so revel in today, these gods we so honor and worship will remain silent as the empty tomb from which the Christ, the Son of the one true God walked out of two millennia ago.