Right Bible – Wrong Gospel?

Larry Lacy, Pastor, The Answer Church

As I enter my seventeenth year behind the pulpit, I’ve noticed some strange/alien practices that have seeped into the church. When I say alien, I’m not referring to some anorexic like green figure that stepped out of some Disney sci-fi miniseries. Alien to the traditional practices of the Church universally. There are several: fog machines during praise and worship. The decibel level has increased during the time of praise and worship. Songs that focus on the creation (humanity) rather than the Creator. Sermons (not all) are focused on our “goodness” versus our “flaws.”
Let’s be transparent with one another. It’s not a flaw, it’s sin! Someone might say, “What’s wrong with these changes? The changes have added value to the modern-day church!” “We’re ‘doing church’ differently these days”!  “Get with the program or get left!” Really? I’ve heard that the reason for the fog machines during praise and worship was to help to “usher” in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Question: Since when did the Spirit of God need assistance to manifest Himself in a service?
While the decibel level of the praise and worship team may or may not be a personal matter, the manipulation of scripture to “make it fit”, the “watering down” of the central truths contained in the infallible, immutable and inherent Word of God cannot and must not be compromised. Ever!


Questions to consider

Here are two questions that deserve serious consideration: Is the church in America guilty of presenting a “watered down” Gospel? Has Christiandom in these United States morphed into a faded facsimile of a once mighty and unyieldingly movement? Granted, not every church and every denomination has acquiesced to the pressure of the culture.
Some have however, embraced and accepted some ideologies and philosophies that are diametrically opposed to the infallible Word of God.
For what purpose? To remain relevant? To seem tolerant and respectful to the lifestyle of others? To not be labeled as racist, homophobic and intolerant? In Christianity’s quest to go into all the world and make disciples (By the way, this was a command from Jesus and not a request), we have “drifted” from the central truth in order to not offend. The truth is, when we “whitewash” the gospel, we offend the Lord!
How can we expect for the Holy Spirit to uphold and confirm a gospel that is devoid of credence, truth and conviction? Yes, I understand that conviction comes by way of the Spirit of God, but there must be truth conveyed to the hearing audience.


What is the gospel?

gospelSo Pastor, what is the gospel message? I’m glad you asked! The gospel message centers around one figure and one truth. That figure is Jesus the Christ, and that truth is the finished work at Calvary. The apostle Paul chronicles in the book of Romans chapter six verse twenty three: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NIV 1984).

Here are two more truths to add to the gospel message.  Number one: In and of our own volition, humanity on its best day, cannot save itself from the resident evil that lies in the heart of every human being. This evil is sin before a holy and just God. Because mankind is inherently evil, someone had to save him. Save him from what? Save him from himself and the wrath of God. God’s wrath is eternal separation from God. Some would teach that hell is the place of God’s wrath. That’s erroneous teaching. The final place of separation is the lake of fire (Take a look at Revelation chapter 20 verses 14 and 15).
Number two: Jesus came here exclusively for one purpose. To suffer and die for the sins of all humanity. No one else in the history of the world, from ancient times until present day, has accomplished or will accomplish what Jesus did! His perfect life and sacrificial death was and still remains the only acceptable payment for mankind’s guilty verdict.

Here’s another sobering question: When was the last time you heard from the pulpit a
sermon addressing sin and its devastating effects? Not all, but some of us called to the fivefold ministry (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher) have dismissed sin as a “short coming, an oops, accident or mistake.” Some will argue that we live in a fallen world and have yet to reach perfection. Sanctification is a lifelong process. I agree. A 100% correct. The fallen world is not an excuse nor a crutch for citizens of the Kingdom to live outside the rules of the Kingdom. I heard it said by Evangelist Jesse Duplantis, “We can live a sinless life.” Sinless perfection was not what he was referring to. What he was conveying is this: Each day that goes by we become more and more like Jesus. We will begin to sin less. How can I be like Jesus if no one is telling me the truth about who He is?
A “watered down” gospel tragically does nothing for the sinner and the saint as well. There is no efficacy! None! So, how do we fix it? How do we “get back on track?” Some of the Lord’s purveyors of the gospel are “out of alignment “as it pertains to the Bible. I’m not referring to various versions of the Bible (although that may be part of the problem) but I’m referring to correct interpretation and correct exegesis. God’s servants are guilty of sin if we persist in changing the gospel message. Listen to this, the apostle Paul writes in Galatians chapter one verses eight through nine: “But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (KJV). Paul continues on in this chapter by asking rhetorical questions. One in which all of us as disseminators of the gospel should ask: “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please me?”


Spiritual nourishment

If the saint is not being fed the proper nutrients (God’s Word) needed for them to grow, at some point they’ll die (spiritually). And what’s to become of the sinner? They will hear a tainted and inaccurate message that sounds good but is eternally damaging to their spirit. And who will have to give an account? Something to ponder on. By all accounts, in my opinion, the Lord’s second advent is near. Before He comes, let’s preach and teach the gospel with truth and conviction, and He’ll confirm it with signs and wonders! Are you ready?
I know I may be belaboring the point, but lives are in the balance. There are eternal repercussions attached to this. For both the messenger and his or her audience. We fix this by going back to the Bible. We get back on track by reading God’s Word in its entirety. We study God’s Word book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. We seek guidance and understanding by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us into ALL TRUTH (John chapter 16:13-15)!


Larry Lacy is lead pastor at The Answer Church in Hollywood, Fla. He holds a master’s degree in theology from Life Christian University in Lutz, Fla.  Visit theanswerchurch.org

To dig deeper into the truth of the Gospel, visit https://www.goodnewsfl.org/topic/god/dig-deep/

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