The Man-Centered Gospel is . . . Inspiring?
Recently a video from an “Inspirational Speaker” has been making the rounds on Facebook and You Tube. It is a man seeking to inspire women. So, ladies from all walks of life have been ooing and awing and swooning over it. The message speaks of God and women of the Bible (Ruth, Esther, Martha, Mary) and speaks of God’s love. So, it is clearly intending to be a biblical message of inspiration. But it fails to pass the test in my book. You can view the message here:
Nothing at all wrong with wanting to inspire women. Nothing wrong with urging them to see themselves as much more than a dress size or math test score or personality category. These are all noble things. I commend the speaker for them. I also appreciate his urging ladies to view themselves in light of God’s love. It is and should be a very powerful, freeing thing to know we are children of the High King of heaven and are loved by Him!
Where the message takes a turn for the theological worse, however, is when phrases like “You are worthy of someone coming and dying for you” or “You are awesome” pop up. He even says women deserve to be loved by God and implies they deserve the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus. This is a man-centered gospel, which is a distorted, false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).
Anything good in us, anything noble, anything powerful, anything praiseworthy is due solely to the presence of Christ in us. Paul said no good thing dwelled in him naturally (Rom 7:18). Earlier in that same letter, all humanity was condemned as not being good or righteous or worthy (Rom 3:9-12). Jesus said only God is good (Luke 18:19). You could not have found a more zealous Jew than Paul in 1st Century Palestine, yet he said he had no righteousness of his own (Philippians 3:9). He said his righteousness came only by trust in Christ. Righteousness came from God, he said, through faith in Jesus.
The man-centered gospel desperately clings to the notion of some “spark of divinity” remaining in the human race. This distorted gospel tries to say the human race “lost a lot” at Adam’s fall (Genesis 3). But the Bible says we lost it all. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). This does not sound like the “we lost a lot” gospel. We are dead until God “makes us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4).
The man-centered gospel clings to lyrics like these from a song by the group Mike’s Chair: What you gotta believe is that you are someone worth dying for.”
Where is that verse in the Bible? The God-centered, biblical gospel says Christ died for ungodly sinners (Romans 5:6-8). The Bible says Christ was the “just” and He died for the “unjust.” God is the “just and justifier” and we are the unworthy sinners and this is why all boasting in ourselves and our abilities or power or capacities or merits are forbidden (Romans 3:21-27). We may boast only in Jesus Christ and the totally unmerited grace He has showered on us in saving us from Satan, sin and certain hell (1 Cor 1:26-31). If we are special, it is only because God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we might be conformed to the image of the only true Awesome One – God’s Son Jesus (Rom 8:28-29; Eph 1:3-14).
“Be it far from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14).
May God give us grace to truly crucify the world and be crucified to the world, including its false gospels that aim to build self-esteem instead of Christ-esteem. The vast majority of women (or men) really do not need to have their views of themselves bolstered. Deep inside we’re all prone to exalt ourselves anyway (Rom 1:18-32). So, Christian women (and men), let’s exalt the gospel of grace to the praise of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! Be on your guard . . . subtle, distorted gospels are lurking. May we feed on grace (Hebrews 13:9), for it is more than enough.