When did Christianity become about us?
The clip at the bottom of this blog is of a prominent “pastor“ in our society today that has quite a large following. Some people say his following is due to his intense and outgoing personality that brings the people in. Others say that he is speaking truth in a way that no one has ever done before. My theory, I must confess, is not so positive. I personally believe this man has the following he does because of the gospel that he preaches. This is not the Gospel of truth, but a gospel of self.
“It’s called selfism, the fastest growing religion” one Christian rapper described it. It’s a man centered, touchy-feely, watered down gospel that gives tickley feelings in the moment, but in the end will leave the individual more empty than they are. It heightens the ability and the worth of man, while at the same time (though perhaps unintentionally) lowers the worth and value of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It makes claims like “God saved you because there was something about you He wanted” or “you were worth so much that God sent His Son to die for you.” Yes of course, God loved us so much that He sent Christ. That is not the message that these so-called pastors are representing. What they are talking about is an internal worth. A worth comes from inside of us.
The reason this “gospel“ is so popular in today’s age is because it raises the self-esteem and makes people feel good about themselves. This is frankly the simplest answer. People inherently like feeling good about themselves because it makes them feel like God. It makes them feel important and worthy of admiration or worship. Of course this might not be the conscious intent of most people, but the truth of this fact remains. We like the thought that there was something so wonderful about us that God couldn’t live without bringing us into His family. This makes us feel so good and so important. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what the Gospel teaches.
If I may be frank with you for a moment, there is absolutely nothing in you that God wanted or needed. God does not need anything. He is self-sustaining. God chose you for salvation because that is what was going to bring Him the most glory. It was not because you are so special or so worthy. It’s because that is what God wanted to do. That’s the end of the story. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, rotting corpses at the bottom of the ocean. We hated God and everything to do with Him. He saved us because of His grace, His love, His mercy, and His will. Not ours. It’s not about you. It’s about God. When you begin to tell people they have inherent worth apart from Christ, you begin to elevate the created over the Creator. You elevate man over Christ.
Now I know what people are going to say this, “why can’t you just be glad he’s encouraging people?“ My answer is simple, is it really worth the encouragement if it leaves people empty? Is it worth it if they are believing a false gospel? Is it worth it if, because of junk like this, they are on their way to hell? I say no. It’s that important folks. This is a Gospel issue. The Gospel should never be handled lightly or with flippancy. We must get this right or else everything about us will be wrong. Please do not be fooled into thinking that there can be unity found here. When you make much of man and less of Christ, that is not a Gospel that saves. That is a Gospel that makes people comfortable with where they are and less dependent upon God and His sustaining grace. That is not ever a good place to be. One of the central truths of the Gospel is that God saved us, not because we were so lovely or wonderful, but because He is so loving.
The Gospel, the Bible, Christianity, it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus