For generations the church has attempted to overcome false gospels. Those "lost" sections of scripture that attempted to distort and change the words of Jesus. However the modern church is in a crisis, not of changed words of Jesus but a change perceptions of the meaning of the Gospel. In an attempt to make the gospel more easy to understand, more palatable, less controversial, and all and all less dangerous it has created a counterfeit gospel. This gospel is even more dangerous because it hasn't changed the Bible itself necessarily but rather exchange the dictates and the standards by which we should be held to.
In Counterfeit Gospels Trevin Wax describes the threefold crisis in the church:
- A lack of confidence in the Gospel
- A lack of clarity in the Gospel
- A lack of Gospel community
The book describes the counterfeits very well. With the "three legged stool" approach to the gospel Wax tells what counterfeits are eating away at each leg of the stool. From the idea of the Therapeutic Gospel: which looks good on the outside but doesn't really take care of the root of the problem, and the Judgmentless Gospel: this basically says we're all going to heaven and who you to judge me? We see this problem very prevalent in the modern church. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings with the gospel because that "wouldn't be nice".
The seeker friendly attitude that has become prevalent in many churches today has water down the truth of the Gospel. What Jesus said was hard-hitting, edgy, and honestly not as culturally appealing as some might really think or wanted to be. Truth be told it was rather counterculture, but we want to try to make it as easily palatable as possible. Acceptance of the Gospel requires a life change, the difficulty in getting there is that a true life change must occur out of the knowledge of where a person is, is not where they should be. Hopefully with books like counterfeit gospel we will be willing and able to stand up for what is actual truth not just easily palatable truth.
I have personally seen this type of counterfeit gospel at work in the church for a long time and it's incredibly disheartening. Mostly because it's something that comes from the people of the congregation. and pastors generally just allowed to continue on. Pastors as the leaders are held to a higher responsibility to stand up for truth to stand up for the right reading of the Word and to know that we are the leaders of those communities. If we are not leading our people, they will begin falling behind and they will fall away. Much of it is because we are preaching a counterfeit gospel. I would recommend this book for most evangelical pastors to read through and truly evaluate what's being said on Sunday morning and also what's being talked about our sermons on Monday afternoon keep in mind just because you preach it doesn't mean your church members are following it. This would be a good recommend read for a small group or community Sunday school class.
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