I've been reading a lot lately and hearing a lot of commentary about people who come across in the name of Christ proclaiming to be Christians, who teach something that is not the Gospel according to Scripture. There are many people who do not teach about sin, who would rather call it "bad thinking" or "making bad choices" or "being ignorant of God" or even worse, the ones who are out there who do not even think sin is wrong, that transgression is in the eye of the beholder. I think this is a far cry from the picture of sin in Scripture, the picture that is painted there is a picture of condemnation, a curse proclaimed throughout all Creation, and a way of life that is in complete rebellion and animosity against God.
Many of these preachers tickle the ears of their listeners, proclaiming a Gospel that does not focus on repentance and faith but rather focuses on self-improvement and a better way of living. The Gospel is not one of self-improvement or feeling better about yourself, but a way of taking those who are dead and making them alive in Christ. Anyone who teaches something less or who tells people that their problem is that they don't feel good or have life satisfaction is proclaiming a false gospel, one that is far away from the witness of Scripture.
I liken the concept of this poor preaching and theology to the idea of Diet Coke, one that looks a little bit like the real thing and has the same fizz, but does not have the same taste and leaves some sort of false, bad aftertaste in your mouth when compared to the real thing.
The Gospel is for those who are dead in their sins, who stand as enemies of God, who can do nothing of their own to warrant salvation, who are condemned to hell because of their very nature as sinners. The Gospel is not for people who want behavior modification or to feel better about themselves or feel satisfied about their life (the reason I harp on life satisfaction is that I found that in a formerly reliable and True Gospel evangelism program). The Gospel is the breath of Life given to the dead to bring them to life (see Ezekiel 37, the beautiful picture of what Christ does for us).
The Gospel is also something amazing that God does in us, we do not hold the keys to it nor do we make the Gospel change our lives. God is the author, source, agent of, and executor of our salvation. We are the recipients of this amazing grace, we receive it through the leading of the Spirit. Do not be deceived during this time where so many people are tickling the ears of their followers under the guise of Christ. Be wise Christians, and stay true to the Bible, the norming norm that norms all norms; true truth that's truthfully true. SDG