So, after delving into the narcissistic world of Joyce Meyer and Modern Evangelicalism, I thought I would highlight some reading material which is a corrective to the crass creeds of contemporary Christianity. The beauty and power of the corrective lies not in the author, the correction flows from its Christ-centeredness. It’s not a case of Apollos versus Paul and Piper versus Meyer, it is a question of pseudo-Christianity versus biblical Christianity – it is humanism versus the gospel.
I should issue a warning, if you feed your soul on a steady diet of popular Christian Authors and preachers such as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer or many of the other God TV Christianised Self-Help Gurus – this will shake your world. It certainly shook mine the first time I read it.
Quotes from God is the Gospel
The acid test of biblical God-centeredness—and faithfulness to the gospel— is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever? Does your happiness hang on seeing the cross of Christ as a witness to your worth, or as a way to enjoy God’s worth forever? Is God’s glory in Christ the foundation of your gladness?
This distortion of divine love into an endorsement of self-admiration is subtle. It creeps into our most religious acts. We claim to be praising God because of his love for us. But if his love for us is at bottom his making much of us, who is really being praised?
If the enjoyment of God himself is not the final and best gift of love, then God is not the greatest treasure, his self-giving is not the highest mercy, the gospel is not the good news that sinners may enjoy their Maker, Christ did not suffer to bring us to God, and our souls must look beyond him for satisfaction.
The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there? And the question for Christian leaders is: Do we preach and teach and lead in such a way that people are prepared to hear that question and answer with a resounding No?
It is stunning how seldom God himself is proclaimed as the greatest gift of the gospel..
The best and final gift of the gospel is that we gain Christ.
In place of this, we have turned the love of God and the gospel of Christ into a divine endorsement of our delight in many lesser things, especially the delight in our being made much of.
We are willing to be God-centered, it seems, as long as God is man-centered. We are willing to boast in the cross as long as the cross is a witness to our worth. Who then is our pride and joy?
When I say that God Is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts wo
uld be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment.
Have we shifted with the world from God’s love as the gift of himself to God’s love as the gift of a mirror in which we like what we see? Have we presented the gospel in such a way that the gift of the glory of God in the face of Christ is marginal rather than central and ultimate?
The world needs nothing more than to see the worth of Christ in the work and words of his God-besotted people. This will come to pass when the church awakens to the truth that the saving love of God is the gift of himself, and that God himself is the gospel.