That’s a serious question, my friends. Sadly, I suspect that there were many. I know of at least two.
One was the sunrise service I attended this last Sunday. In the sermon, Jesus was presented as the answer for a disappointing life. Come to Jesus for a better life. Not exactly on Joel Olsteen’s level (your best life now), but it certainly was on the way. Thankfully there were responsive readings rooted in scripture passages that did deliver the gospel.
The second was Rick Warren. I heard a commentary that played a clip from Pastor Rick’s sermon in which he stated that the death crucifixion and resurrection of Christ took three days, and that we will all face ‘three day experiences’ in our own lives. Jesus, in His suffering, gives us a model for handling ours. Really? Jesus’ suffering, the agony of the cross and bearing the burden of all of the sins of all of God’s people (whom He came to save) somehow compares to things we go through in our lives?
A Christian Post article had this to say:
One year after his son’s suicide, Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life and pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California, said that his sermons during worship services beginning this Thursday evening, will be about how the message of Easter provides the answer to life’s most devastating trials.
"Do you ever find yourself discouraged, or depressed or defeated, or even devastated by the circumstances in your life? If so, let me take a minute to encourage you about the pathway to hope and change and transformation that I’ve found in the Easter story of the resurrection of Jesus," said Warren during a video he released earlier this week .
Yes, folks, according to Pastor Rick, Easter is about finding the answers to three questions:
“Number one, what do I do in my days of pain?
Two, how do I get through my days of doubt and confusion.
Three, how do I get to the days of joy and victory?
Is these important questions? On course they are. Are the answers the central point of Easter? No, they are not. Jesus’ death and resurrection as the atonement/propitiation for OUR sin is the point. Pastor Rick did get close, but like many others, he missed it. He missed it speaking to many thousands, if you count Saddleback and all of it’s campuses. And thousands clapped and applauded at Pastor Ricks encouraging words, as did many thousands more who, this last Sunday, heard that Easter is all about them and solving their problems in this life.
What’s the point? Pray for those many thousands, that God will open hearts to hear the real ‘main thing’ about Easter, and that God will send someone with the real message of Easter. Pray for the pastors who, this last Sunday, missed the gospel. They will stand before the one whom they slighted and be held accountable.
If we’re not preaching the Gospel but something else sprinkled with Christianese, we’re innoculating people to the Gospel and making apostates. What a frightening though
Preach “Christ died to give us our best lives now” long enough and it becomes ‘assumed’ as being THE gospel.