The Modern Makeover of the Gospel

In this modern and self-seeking and all-accomodating age, we have muddied the waters of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Christians talk about a "Sinner's prayer" and use extrabiblical (and perhaps even unbiblical) phrases like "a God-shaped hole in your soul" and "ask Jesus into your heart" to describe the miracle of salvation.

Contrast our simplistic and self-focused terminology with the simple yet radical description given by Peter when he was asked about what one should do with the truth about Christ:
"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself." -Acts 2:28-29
The focus is on repentance. Forgiveness. Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God Himself.

Just some food for thought that jumped off the page at me when I was reading Acts this morning, and I felt compelled to share.

5 comments:

dcrmom said...

Yes! Preach it. I have had a really hard time since becoming "reformed" with getting rid of all the old lingo like "ask Jesus into your heart" and such. When I was struggling with sharing my faith in a more biblical way, Husband suggested this exact passage and many like it.

The command is to "repent and be baptized". Repent. Not accept or commit or make a decision. Not that those things don't happen when one repents, but we must not neglect the importance of repentance and forgiveness, without which there simply is no salvation.

Mrs. Brigham said...

The thoughts you have shared are causing me to stop & think quite a bit. The church my family attended while we were growing up always used the phrasing "ask Jesus into your heart", among other things. I was shocked to discover how much of the Bible I did not "get" or had never heard of when I was led back to God in my twenties. Such extrabiblical phrasings and teachings really do a huge disservice to Believers.

Melissa said...

Amen.

Mom said...

I second that Amen! Repentance, the teaching of it and any example of it, was left out of my house growing up, and I was in a minister's home, and then when I left home, I never really focused on repentance and what it meant in my life until many years later, and I really felt like it was the missing piece to a very important puzzle. Forgiveness is so important, and also something that I've struggled with. Like you said, in this modern and self-seeking age we are very self-focused. We need to get our eyes off of ourself and focus on Christ. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

Andy Rayner said...

Good Comments Jess.
I know these phrases are meaningless in cross cultural communication.
Biblical words like Repent, Baptism, Forgiveness are much easier to explain and define to an animist than "Ask Jesus into your heart". They want to know how, why and When?
Andy