Saturday, December 12, 2009

An Example of Christless Christianity

The phrase "Christless Christianity" sounds strange. How is it possible for Christianity to be Christless? It is actually quite common. Christless Christianity is preaching, evangelism, worship, or ministry that presents Jesus as anything other than the Christ. In Christless Christianity Jesus is helpful. He will fix your marriage and your kids. He will give your life meaning. He will bless you financially. The only thing that is left out is the most important thing; the central thing. What is left out is that Jesus is the Saviour, the sacrifice for guilty sinners, the propitiation put forward by God to bear His wrath as he bore our sins. You see, in order to exalt Jesus as the Christ instead of Jesus as the great life coach in the sky then we must recognize both our sin and God's wrath. This simply will not do in many of our churches.

Gene Veith offers the following observation:
Have you seen the “Receive Jesus” ad on national television? (I can’t find it on the web. If any of you can find it, please post a link.) It has a rather cool-looking guy with a goatee and a black t-shirt against a white background. He says how life is hard. But that Jesus can make an amazing difference in your life. He tells viewers, wherever they are, to “receive Jesus.” It’s rather well-done, better than my description makes it sound.

But the ad nowhere includes the Gospel! He doesn’t say anything about sin or forgiveness or who Jesus is or what He accomplished for us on the Cross.

This is not uncommon, trying to be evangelistic while leaving out the evangel. Just telling someone to “receive Jesus” and encouraging a rote prayer to that effect without proclaiming the Gospel doesn’t make anyone a Christian, does it? I’m sure the makers of this ad do believe that Jesus died for sinners and that His death and resurrection grants forgiveness. So why did they go to all of the expense of this ad without saying that?

I’m all for using the media like this for evangelism and salute the effort, but the Gospel of Christ crucified for sinners surely has to be in the message, doesn’t it?

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