Recognizing a “different” gospel – a practical exercise. . .

In a  In a previous post  we suggested using a “3 S” model for recognizing a “different”, or false, gospel.

1. What is the teaching’s SOURCE of truth?

2. What about the SAVIOR?

3. What are the requirements for SALVATION?

While some false gospels recognize the Bible as the ultimate source of truth and acknowledge Jesus as the Savior, they present the requirements for salvation (what one must believe) in attractive but sometimes incomplete manner.

Using the words of Jesus and Paul, followed by those of a very popular west coast Pastor, we offer you a challenge. Examine them both and put on your spiritual thinking cap.

Jesus, at the beginning of his earthly ministry said:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

The Apostle defined the gospel message quite clearly:

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor 15:1-4)

In the video that accompanies the “40 Days of Purpose”, the popular west coast Pastor (Rick Warren) leads his listeners in prayer at the end of the first session. The prayer goes like this:

“Dear God, I want to know your purpose for my life. I don’t want to base the rest of my life on wrong things. I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know you. Jesus Christ, I don’t understand how but as much as I know how I want to open up my life to you. Make yourself real to me. And use this series in my life to help me know what you made me for.”

Warren goes on to say:

“Now if you’ve just prayed that prayer for the very first time I want to congratulate you. You’ve just become a part of the family of God.”

On page 58 of “The Purpose Driven Life” Warren gives perhaps his most complete gospel presentation. He states,

“Right now, God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfilling the purposes he made you for . . . all you need to do is receive and believe….

First, believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you are not an accident. Believer you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.

Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose.”

Again, he offers a sample prayer,

“I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity, “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” He promises, “If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God’s purpose for your life.”

Based on what you have just read, do you think that Rick Warren presents a complete gospel message, a “different” gospel, or something in between? You can keep your thoughts to yourself, or you can share them here. Perhaps we can have a good discussion!

4 responses to “Recognizing a “different” gospel – a practical exercise. . .

  1. I have no problem with the idea that the gospel requires us to come to the realization that God made us for his purpose and that we need to leave our self-worship and worship him. We need to live for his purposes and not ours. When we forsake our way and our thoughts, he promises to forgive and abundantly pardon us.

    What I do have a problem with are the following statements:

    1. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you.

    Is believing in our election and a belief that Jesus died for us in particular ever presented in any biblical presentation of the gospel as the warrant of faith? I don’t have to believe that God has chosen me or that “Jesus died for me” in order to be justified.

    2. Quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity.

    This puts the sinner in the driver’s seat. Somehow, praying a prayer brings God under the control of the sinner. Where do we ever find any apostle or other biblical preacher calling on sinners to pray a prayer and telling whose who do that praying such a prayer will change their eternity?

    3. Receive the Spirit who will give you to power to fulfill your life purpose. Where in Scripture do we ever find gospel preachers telling sinners to receive the Spirit. The reality is simply that believers do receive the Spirit at the point of conversion.

    4. IF. . . you’ve just become part of the family of God.

    Since we can never know another person’s heart, we cannot know [even assuming their “sincerity”] that they have become part of God’s family. It is the Spirit’s ministry to give assurance, not ours.

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