Sunday, October 21, 2012

A selfish kind of gospel

This morning I experienced one of the most selfish versions of salvation I've ever experienced.  Here are the five points of why "I would become a Christian today":
  1. God wants me to become a Christian.
  2. The Christian life is better/healthier/more beneficial.
  3. My life could end unexpectantly.
  4. My heart could harden.
  5. Jesus could return today.
While those things may be true, I left church this morning feeling like something was missing.  I felt as if someone was trying to sell me eternal life insurance -- better to have it just in case -- rather than a loving God.  In the end it just came across to me as selfish.

Since I was visiting the church (and I have a problem with arrogance), I refrained from sharing my thoughts with the preacher.  But I was saddened by the prescription for a sickness that is really just a symptom of the deeper sickness.

I kept waiting to hear the word "love."  The only mention was in a quoting of the KJV John 3:16 used as evidence of point 1.

I wanted to hear that "God is love," the key part of that being that we are to love others.  I walked away thinking, "If I don't have to love others this is the easiest -- and cheapest -- way to eternal life ever.  That is a 'good' reason to become a Christian."

I wanted to hear something about "community."  Instead I was left thinking all I had to do was repent and be baptized -- this was something I did all on my own.

I knew it wouldn't happen, but I was longing to hear something about serving "the least of these."  Unfortunately many church congregations would rather ignore the list of things we are called to do in lieu of the list of things we should not do.

When we are "signing the papers" looking toward the future, we ignore the fact that Jesus has already come once.  During that time he taught us how to live as if heaven was already here.  The key: love.

Without the key ingredient of love, the gospel is reduced to the selfishness of being all about you.  That is cheap and misses the point of the Good News.  The Gospel is anything but selfish -- that is the reason you should become a Christian.

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