Have you noticed? Sin is no longer sinful—even among many professing Christians. "Sin" may perhaps be an error in judgment or a "mistake" or "bad choice" but is not something damming to the soul or an offense to God. Neither are its wages any longer "death" [physical and spiritual]. Instead of the good news that a holy, just, but angry, God has been "propitiated" and reconciled toward man. The focus has become "if you just 'got Jesus', you can be happier, richer, smarter, and most surely feel good about yourself." This new teaching still seems to convey the idea that people need to be "saved." But needing salvation, not because one is a sinner who is lost and without hope, but because you are unhappy, unhealthy, or without much money. The end of the new "gospel" has become material gain, temporal happiness, or good health rather than righteousness before God.
The historic Christian view of sin as being an affront to God, ruinous of the soul, and forgiveness, which required the Savior's suffering and death, is nearly forgotten. "Sinfulness" is now defined and measured by our lack of faith to receive God's bounty, or an unwillingness to claim some victory over Satan or our circumstances. This post-biblical, feelings driven, and celebrity-focused "new Christianity," sees "sin" mostly as an attitude that is an obstacle to material abundance, physical health, and the good life.
Traditional Christian doctrines such as Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, bodily resurrection, man's sinfulness and inability to save himself, a literal Hell, God’s wrath and divine judgment, and so forth, are decried as fear-mongering. These truths are routinely rejected or ridiculed as primitive, unscientific, and out of step with the times.
"Truth" is no longer defined by a clear and accurate explanation and adherence to God's eternal word, but more so by how "good" a teaching or a ministry or a preacher makes a person "feel." It doesn't even matter if the "teaching" is Biblical or Christ-honoring.
Of this, I am convinced. The danger and appeal of these beliefs on this day of Coved-19, riots, carnality, chaos, and confusion, offer a more significant challenge than Christianity's former confrontation with total pagans. I say this because a succession of recent generations of popular Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic teachings have transformed Christianity. But it has been changed into something that bears little resemblance to the faith revealed in the Bible or history. Faithful churches must now evangelize a people who believe themselves Christian. These, overwhelmingly believe in a "god," and consider themselves devotedly religious, but who have little connection or similarity to historic Christianity.
The message of many churches has become "God wants you to be happy" or "try Jesus" or "only Jesus can solve our problems." And what is "our problem?" It is no longer our "sin" that separates us from God and condemns us. "Redemption" is abundant provision, restoration of some loss, healing of an illness, and overcoming life's problems. A question!! What happens when these people seeking happiness or material or emotional success and are not interested in spiritual forgiveness are disappointed in these matters? These will claim they have "tried Christianity." But this sort of "Christianity" is nothing better than some other worldly-minded schemes.
I submit that it makes these "converts" almost impossible to win to Christ. Perhaps even more tragic is when some do get some physical or material or temporal blessing and have not repented and trusted Christ as their Savior. These supposed blessings are only a vaccination against the true Gospel.
A whole generation of sinners have been gospel-hardened by telling them they should "try Jesus." Yet they have never spiritually thirsted for the Water or life or hungered for the Bread of life. They have never sought the great Physician of the soul since it is not spiritual healing, which they have desired. Our churches are attracting those claiming to be "saved" but are clueless about why they need to be "born-again."
What then are we to do? Again, we must measure "success" for a preacher or church by "faithfulness to Christ and the truth," not by numbers and the size of a bank account. We must clearly and consistently identify false teaching and distortions of the old-time Gospel. Then there must be a refocus and return to the historic and plain message of the Gospel of Christ. Namely, reconciliation to God is only by Christ's shed blood, vicarious death, and bodily resurrection. Be it known, that this glorious message of the Gospel of forgiveness is available to any who will repent and trust Christ as Savior.
William "Ed" Nicholson is pastor of Grace Baptist Chapel in the village of Little Summit in Dunbar Twp. He holds graduate degrees in both Bible and Education. He is a life-member of the Disabled American Veterans and can be reached at email@example.com. He can also be reached on Facebook.