Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Feel Good Gospel
in Various Forms

In many circles you will find articles and teachings that confront what is colloquially called the “feel good gospel”. It generally refers to a gospel presentation that is shallow and directed at building one’s self esteem than it is in presenting the Biblical gospel and allowing the Holy Spirit to use that in the hearts of sinners. The general description would apply to many seeker churches that seem to create an artificial ambiance that lends itself to have favorable responses from sinners. That does not apply to all seeker churches, but that description does have some merit with many churches described as seeker. The same might also apply to some “Purpose Driven” church constructs.

However there are a number of other churches that exhibit a “feel good” gospel that fly under the discernment radar. These are the churches that preach the “true and complete” gospel and that dot every orthodox “i” and cross every orthodox “t”. They are very scrupulous in their doctrine, and they are assiduous in their presentation of the gospel. They teach by the expository method, and they have a systematic theology that substantiates everything they believe and dismantles the errors of others. But unwittingly many of these churches preach a “feel good” gospel as well. How is that you ask?

Well, the gospel they preach makes them feel good about themselves and about their orthodoxy, and in so doing, they have undermined the very essence of Christ and the nature of the gospel itself. It is possible to espouse and teach the true and everlasting gospel through the prism of self righteousness. And sometimes these churches form associations, or religious clubs, that are designed to make each other feel good about their brand. And when they hold conferences they are not designed to speak correction or to challenge each other concerning their shortcomings. They are not even meant to present the whited fields before their eyes and elicit compassion and a greater commitment to reach them. Many of their “get togethers” are formatted to preach their own doctrine to themselves and evoke those same good feelings about themselves.

And when most of the conference goers leave the gathering they feel much better about themselves, their doctrine, and their discipleship. And those good feelings are usually accented and enhanced by a number of exposés of the error of others. And so the orthodoxy becomes self righteous expressions of the truth, and God’s power and grace cannot anoint such doctrinal self aggrandizement. But all in all, it makes them feel good.

So the next time you hear someone apply the “feel good” moniker on someone’s gospel, see if that person revels in his own acknowledgement of the truth. Does that person take pleasure in the deception of others? Do they seem upset and concerned about others in error? Are they concerned for the plight of the deceived, or do they display an effervescence in exposing their error?

We did not come to Christ through the prowess of our own spiritual discernment, no, we were drawn and illuminated by God’s Spirit. And any realization of that grace should, no, must manifest a profound humility and a deep concern for those who still stand outside the redemption of Christ. We can joy in Christ and His gospel, but we should never use the errors of others to elevate ourselves to ourselves and make us feel good about ourselves. Let us feel good about Christ and His salvation alone, and ourselves still struggling journeymen of grace.

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