A Liberal Gospel is idolatry

“What happens to the Gospel when idolatry themes are not grasped? ‘God loves you’typically becomes a tool to meet a need for self-esteem in people who feel like failures. The particular content of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – ‘grace for sinners and deliverance for the sinned-against’ – is down-played or even twisted into ‘unconditional acceptance for the victims of others’ lack of acceptance.’ Where ‘the Gospel’ is shared, it comes across something like this: ‘God accepts you just as you are. God has unconditional love for you.’ That is not the biblical Gospel, however. God’s love is not Rogerian unconditional positive regard writ large. A need theory of motivation – rather than an idolatry theory – bends the Gospel solution into ‘another gospel’ which is essentially false. The Gospel is better than unconditional love. The Gospel says, ‘God accepts you just as Christ is. God has ‘contraconditional’ love for you.’ Christ bears the curse you deserve. Christ is fully pleasing to the Father and gives you His own perfect goodness. Christ reigns in power, making you the Father’s child and coming close to you to begin to change what is unacceptable to God about you. God never accepts me ‘as I am.’ He accepts me ‘as I am in Jesus Christ.’ The center of gravity is different. The true Gospel does not allow God’s love to be sucked into the vortex of the soul’s lust for acceptability and worth in and of itself. Rather, it radically decenters people – what the Bible calls ‘fear of the Lord’ and ‘faith’ – to look outside themselves. Christian counselors with a psychologizing drift typically are very concerned with ministering God’s love to people who view God as the latest and greatest critic whom they never can please. But their failure to conceptualize people’s problems in the terms this article has been exploring inevitably creates a tendency towards teaching a Liberal Gospel. The cross becomes simply a demonstration that God loves me. It loses its force as the substitutionary atonement by the perfect Lamb in my place, who invites my repentance for heart-pervading sin.”

David Powlison

3 comments on “A Liberal Gospel is idolatry

  1. Hey Jeremy,

    Thanks for dropping by! I’m loving the emails your sending me bro so keep them coming!! It’s so true what David Powlison says here! As Marianne says above it does truly put the love of God into its proper perspective! We as unworthy sinners only find acceptance because of Christ and thus he must be the centre of everything…………its so simple!

    Later Bro!

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