“We have to stand up against immorality,” the rotund pastor in the Hugo Boss suit bellows, “If we don’t the Gospel of Jesus will be lost.”
Thus, with that pronouncement, the Gospel is transformed into a bully pulpit against promiscuity, abortion, marriage equality or any other “morally reprehensible” acts not committed by those within the fortified walls of right-wing of American Evangelicalism.
I am sure that you have heard something similar from TV preachers turned politicians, or televangelist blaming the latest terrorist attack, or mass shooting on…….wait for it…..gay marriage. There is so much talk out there about preserving and standing up against those that oppose the Gospel of Jesus. Yet there is hardly a sheep in the pew that questions this distortion.
This “another” gospel starts with Jesus but devolves from that point.
Yes, you have to believe in Jesus but then…
You need to vote for the most godly politicians (generally a Republican)
You cannot question the historical veracity of the Creation story, Noah, Jonah, et al., for to do so means then you can’t trust anything in Scripture (translation, you don’t really have faith in God).
Tithing (giving 10%) your income is a sign that you trust God and it is commanded by God in order to receive His blessings.
God blesses us, in general, by how good we are and withholds blessing when we fall into sin. In fact, so we are told, He doesn’t hear us when we pray, nor do we have “fellowship” with Him unless we repent again.
This next one is hardly ever spoken, but it is always implied…You have been forgiven of sin, but after becoming born-again it is now up to you to not sin, maintain time with God in prayer, Bible reading, working on becoming sanctified and holy and if you don’t fall into step with the church you are associated with and it’s rules, either you are not saved, backslidden, or in need of church discipline.
You also have the great responsibility of “loving” those outside the church (the sinners, the lost, the ungodly, the unregenerate) by telling them they are on their way to hell unless they repent, like you did. If you don’t do this on a regular basis then you are considered soft on sin, or worse yet, a liberal.
The problem with this line of thinking is that none of the above have anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus. So when a non-Christian speaks out against an organization such as The Family Research Council he/she is not attacking the Gospel, they are attacking the distorted, and misguided view of the Gospel that, like a poisonous vine has all but obscured the Beautiful Gospel of Christ.
This then, is the real Gospel.
God loved the world with an unconditional love unknown in the universe. He became Human to reveal this love. He loved us in spite of the fact we didn’t love Him. And to prove that love He died for all people for all time, and took away all the sin we have, and any penalty we have incurred. We do not have to pursue righteousness, holiness, or sanctification because Jesus took care of that for us. He rose again and empowered us to spread the Kingdom of God to all corners of the earth. We are to heal the sick, free the prisoner, give sight to the blind, speak life to those living in death, to restore the earth, to seek justice, to protect the marginalized. And love unconditionally and to teach people about the ever flowing grace of God.
One Gospel condemns, one Gospel restores. Which one is truly the Good News?