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The Gospel According to the Americans - Our Shame
As a deist, Thomas Jefferson may have thought God was indifferent, but gospel twisting preachers and theologians of the day seem to think God is a clown. One preacher appears regularly on television pushing his book entitled?How to be Rich and Have Everything You Ever Wanted. He insists that if people would pay their vows (an Old Testament concept) that this would begin to happen. It goes without saying that payment must be made to him. The blatant emphasis on the business of tithes and offerings among some churches has become a shameful blight but shows no signs of abating.
Before millions of viewers on the Larry King Show, another well known preacher refused to say that everyone needed Jesus for salvation. He then stated that the word "sinner" was a word he never used in his messages. He has since apologized to his many friends and adherents but a chance to witness to millions is now lost. The question remaining is how anyone can find a way to preach the gospel without using the word "sinner." Jefferson's answer may be...Just use a jackknife.
This new kind of preaching has many names. It is called, the prosperity gospel, the abundant life gospel, and the celebrity gospel. I call it, the gospel according to the Americans but in moments of my greatest disgust I call it by its more generic name, trash.
Is it wrong to say that God wants to bless us? Does God want all his people to be dirt poor or live a life of abject poverty? Will God only give us pie in the sky when we die and ignore our love and generosity until later? The answer to all three questions is, no, no, and no. God has promised to bless the giver in dozens of passages similar to Luke 6:38. So what is the problem?
The problem is one of balance. Just like the ancient Pharisees who struggled with the picture of a ruling kingly messiah versus a lowly suffering messiah. Their answer to the seemingly incongruous promises of the prophets was to come up with the idea that their must be two messiahs. There is but one messiah and all prophecy is fulfilled in him. Aha! There is also but one way to walk the life of obedience to the gospel as well. It may be that you have to be abased or exalted as the apostle Paul who said he had learned to adapt to either state for the sake of the gospel. Php 4:12 If Paul were a proponent of today's gospel he would have thought he was out of the perfect will of God every day he was pursued, beaten, jailed or suffering. Thank God he didn't feel this way because he would have had to style his epistles after the Jeffersonian model and leave out those occurrences.
Is it really a time for believers to dismiss every wind of doctrine and accept every new kid on the block kind of doctrine? Are we compelled to look the other way as these twisted presentations of the gospel gain momentum all for the sake of Christian unity? But is this rather a time for Americans to hang their heads in shame. Trying to present a gospel that does not magnify anything but the wonderful finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ is always a shame.
If we emphasize only those parts of the bible we like and leave the rest we are creating our own Jefferson bible. Perhaps we then might be able to do away with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and substitute them with a single gospel we could call, The Gospel According to the Americans.
Rev Bresciani is the leader of a non-denominational ministry in the New Orleans area. He has written many articles over the past thirty years in such periodicals as Guideposts and Catholic Digest. He is the author of two books available on Amazon.com, Alibris, Barnes and Noble and many other places. Rev Bresciani wrote, Hook Line and Sinker or What has Your Church Been Teaching You, published by PublishAmerica of Baltimore MD. He also wrote a book recently released by Xulon Press entitled An American Prophet and His Message, Questions and Answers on the Second Coming of Christ. Rev Bresciani has his own website at americanprophet.org
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