Wednesday, February 04, 2015
To be an Evangelical is to profess that one’s highest allegiance is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to confess that salvation is in Christ alone and that we do not save ourselves, no matter how good we may be. It is to recognize that God’s grace is freely given and that we can do nothing, not even deciding to follow Jesus, to merit it. That is Evangelicalism at its best.What I find most extraordinary in this formulation is that the very adaption of marketing technique corrupts the Gospel on some level. The Gospel is so broad and so encompassing that any attempt to encapsulate, commodify or reduce it is to do it injustice - it is to make an idol or image.
All the same, there are many elements of the North American Evangelical movement with which I find it difficult to identify. I am not keen on some of the subcultural distinctives, including the celebrity culture associated with the television preachers and Christian contemporary music. If the Gospel becomes a marketable commodity, Jesus’ call to take up our cross and follow him, and even to suffer the consequences of so doing, loses its urgency and may be ignored altogether. No longer does the Gospel shape our lives from the ground up and in their totality; it becomes a mere add-on to whatever lifestyle choices happen to appeal to us at the moment. [emphasis added]
This is deep theological truth. Why have we been so quick to to lose sight of it? Screwtape comes to mind. To create sin for an apparently noble cause is the ultimate in temptation.
Our return to deep truth must begin on our knees. It must begin with our confession of our turning towards this temptation. we have been suckered.