The Crusade for Man-Centered Gospel and Theology
The longer I live the Christian life, the more I am convinced that the darkness that completely blinds the unregenerate soul, persists long into the Christian life. Sin is selfish; therefore, most new Christians remain self-centered regarding spiritual things. This includes their view of God and the Gospel.
As one grows in grace and the knowledge of Christ, man-centered views of theology give way to God-centered theology. This is not true for false teachers, who profit in fame and fortune, peddling man-centered messages, tickling the ears of their hearers.
The crusade for popularity feeds the sinful flesh of men, who secretly desire to be like gods. The keynote speaker at mega-gatherings is typically a megalomaniac. With a masterful charisma, he or she preys on the deluded minds of mega conference junkies. The underlying message is the classic, “God helps those who help themselves.” This deviant message is ancient, but ever popular. It puts the listener into the position of religious activist or even the temptation to like God (Gen 3:5).
“God is waiting for you to do something,” is the message of hell. “God has done His part in salvation, now, He is hoping you trust Him,” is utter blasphemy. “You must decide for Christ, in order to be saved,” places the onerous of salvation on man, not God. This is misguided and deceitful. “Use your free will to choose salvation in Christ,” is a flat-out lie.
Why does the church of Christ Jesus, our Lord, not speak out against these crusader deceptions? If the Bible teaches the sovereignty of God in salvation, then why don’t most Christians know the truth, in contradiction to this false gospel of man-centered theology? The answers to these questions are rooted in a simple fact of life: children grow to be adults. They increase in stature and wisdom.
The growth of Christians is designed by God, who has given each believer two crucial catalysts for growth. First, God has given us His Word, so that we might search the Scriptures to examine the Word of truth. Second, God has given us His indwelling Spirit, as our Teacher and Guide for understanding the Scriptures. We do theology in community.
The Spirit and the Word are employed with the grace of a surgeon. The mind of the believer must be molded into the mind of Christ. It is the Spirit that does this work in sanctification. The maturing Christian mind is one of increasing discernment. This is the reason not all Christians can distinguish between man-centered and God-centered Gospel presentations. They simply may not be growing spiritually.
There are many famous preachers throughout history who were not mature Christian thinkers. They operated as if they were going, “to win the world for Christ.” First, they should have known that was not God’s plan. Second, God does not need anyone to do anything for Christ. It is He who is the Author and Perfecter of each believer’s faith. He is willing and doing all His good pleasure.
It makes logical sense that the majority of Christians hold to man-centered theology, and unfortunately, preach this errant message to others. Mature Christians humbly acknowledge they would not discern the difference, apart from grace received from God.
Christian, examine yourself, your theology, and the Gospel you preach. Are you believing, and then calling people to do something to facilitate their salvation? Recognize your common error. The truth: Christian preachers preach Christ and not humanism. They do not focus on man, except on man’s total depravity and utter need for a Savior from sin.
Christian, you can also pray for your own growth in knowledge of the truth. Pray for the maturity of the believers in your local church and in your community. If someone brings their man-centered crusade to your city, you can expose them for who they are in truth, warning every man in Christ Jesus.
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 25, 2021