I saw a couple of YouTube videos this week, wherein people presented the Gospel according to their churches. One (linked here) was from Westboro Baptist Church; the other (linked here) was from Hillsong Church.
Most of you are familiar with the teachings of Westboro. They are the church that protests at funerals and is known for their vocal stance against homosexuality. They emphasize the holiness and justice of God, as we all should. But they are wrong because there is rarely, if ever, a mention of the grace and mercy of God. And on top of that, I find it hard to picture Jesus himself using their slogans or tactics in His own ministry.
Understandably, people are offended and outraged by Westboro and what they preach.
But in this video from Hillsong Church, the woman orchestrating the children’s service holds an altar call, inviting the kids to accept Christ and be saved. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that she encourages them to go to Heaven by making Jesus their best friend. Really! I missed that passage in the New Testament. He’s not their Savior, He’s not the Lamb of God, He’s just their “best friend.”
In her presentation, God is all grace, mercy, and love. But there is no mention of God’s holiness or justice. No mention of man’s sinfulness and need for a Savior. No mention of the cross or the blood. No faith, no repentance, just love and friendship.
If Westboro perverts the Gospel by neglecting the love and mercy of God, then many Christians are equally guilty of perverting the Gospel by neglecting sin, holiness, and justice.
The Bible tells us, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3, KJV).
If we leave part of the Gospel out, it is no longer the same faith that God once delivered to the saints. The Gospel is simple, and un-improvable:
- God is holy and cannot permit sin
- Man sinned, all incurring a penalty: death and hell
- God is gracious and made a way for mankind to be forgiven
- Jesus is perfect, God in the flesh, who shed his blood and died to pay the debt that every man owes
- God promises that all those who will repent and trust in Christ as the only one who could pay for their sins will be saved
Anything else is a false Gospel, whether it is shouted harshly at passersby or spoken gently and warmly to children.