The human potential movement is a false gospel. It is brought into the church, by pastors, mesmerized by philosophy, psychology, and sociology. All of these areas of academic interest have human development at their core. In other words, they want to see humanity, high and lifted up.
Personal and group development, taught by pastors, must include God, as a helpful character. The obligation to do theology belongs to the theologian-pastor, but for far too many, theology takes a backseat to the study of human potential and leadership development. For many members in the church, Jesus is all about making one into a better person.
As a better person, the Christian is enticed into something bigger than themselves — a group project. The group project, according to pastors promoting human development, is to transform the world. They are convinced that Jesus can help us accomplish humanity’s ambitious endeavor.
The ambitious pastor is obligated to show the seekers of ambitious world change that Jesus is with them. They imagine this is accomplished by creating a lively entertainment venue, where professional singers and musicians display their talents.
These excellent performers draw an ever-larger audience, which is also a sign that Jesus is blessing the pastor’s plans. As one pastor recently wrote, “The picture of Simon of Cyrene and the nature of his engagements in the journey of Christ to Golgotha remind us that the true power of Jesus comes from His ability to call people to something greater than themselves, that the willingness of humanity to participate in the work of God is an important part of the eternal plan of grace that can transform the world.”
In this pastor’s view, the big picture is transforming the world. It sounds noble, but the Bible does not share his view. God is calling His people out of the world (Mt 11:28); and then, it tells them not to love the world, nor the things of the world (1 Jn 2:15–17).
One problem with man-centered theology is how readily pastors will use terms that appear valid, like, “eternal plan of grace.” What does that mean? Then, why does the eternal plan of grace only hold the potential to transform the world, as represented by the word “can”? God is not the God of potential, only, is He?
The big deal for the church, in this pastor’s presentation, is to stimulate “…the willingness of humanity to participate in the work of God…” This is the reason so many churches resort to gimmicks to win people to the group project. Their philosophy is, “If you blow up the inflatable bouncy house, they will come.”
If the pastor and church lure the mass of willing humanity into the project, then Jesus will do His work. What is Jesus’ work? It is, “To call people to something greater than themselves.”
In this view, Jesus has the ability, to make willing humanity into all that they have potential to be, as world changers. According to this pastor, this is, “the true power of Jesus.” Jesus is the divine motivator for people to join the group project that may or may not change the world. Ironically, Jesus derives His power from His ability. This, of course, is confused.
Only the true Gospel can counter the false gospel of human potential of world transformation. To bring glory to Himself, in the display of all His perfect attributes, God created the heavens and the earth, according to His eternal decree (Gen 1–2).
The pinnacle of God’s creation, man, fell into sin (Gen 3). Man was spiritually dead to God and could only wait for the death of his mortal body (Eph 2:1–3) before judgment (Heb 9:27) and eternal punishment (Mt 25:46). Man’s greatest need was to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18–20).
In God’s eternal plan of redemption of some people (Rom 9:22–23), He sent His only begotten Son into the world, to be the one and only Savior of His elect people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Jn 3:16; Rev 5:9). He came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21), and He saved us (Titus 3:5), by shedding His precious blood on the cross, as our substitute sacrifice for sins (1 Pet 2:24).
Following His successful mission of redemption, Jesus sent His Spirit to cause His chosen people to be born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 14:26; 15:26; 1 Pet 1:3). As the Holy Spirit successfully completes the ministry of reconciling the redeemed of God, the reconnaissance of the lost sheep will be caught up together, to be with the Good Shepherd, at His second coming (Mt 24:29–31; Jn 10; 1 Thess 4:16).
On that day, the judgment of the world will be a final destruction with fire (2 Pet 3:10–12). Then, comes the new creation, a new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells (Rev 21–22).
The true Gospel stands in stark contrast to the false gospel of human potential, where man gets the glory, for his willing participation in transforming the world. Rather, the true Gospel celebrates Jesus Christ alone, as the One who has rescued His helpless, sinful, lost, hopeless, godless, enemies from the clutches of sin, Satan, and the world.
All that God the Father gave to God the Son, in His predestined election, will come to Him and the ark of His salvation (Jn 6:37; Eph 1:4–5). They enter His refuge, by His grace, whereby He works all things for their good (Rom 8:28).
Christian, know that Jesus is more than some divine enabler, to help make you into a better person and better participant in man’s concocted plan to save the world on his own terms. Jesus Christ Himself is the power of God that transforms you…not the world. It’s time to kiss Superman good-bye.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 25, 2022