10 Jan 2001

Man-Centered Gospel

Submitted by theshovel
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Tell a lie often enough and it will be eventually accepted as truth. Most of us have heard the gospel of man most of our lives. And that’s whether or not we have ever stepped foot into a church. Motivational speakers, whether preachers or self-help gurus, have tapped into the power of man’s desires and man’s will to move their audience into action … at least the action of handing over their money. Man-centered should be a simple enough concept to understand, but it has been obscured by having been called Christ-centered so many times. Let’s face it, what preacher is going to claim that his gospel is man-centered? But hey, a society that espouses the concept that junk food is somehow good for you may be suspect of deliberately overlooking the obvious, don’t you think? :) The OBVIOUS? I’m talking about the boulders that get tripped over in the search for pebbles. Jesus called it “Straining gnats and swallowing camels.” You see, it doesn’t take a theologian to figure out that if the power to salvation is the gospel of Christ, then it is NOT found in my abilities, my intellect, my performance, my will or my decisions. In other words, if my salvation is up to ME then it’s not really up to God, is it? [Regarding faith, check out: Faith ] Christ-centered doesn’t mean that Christ did what He could and then left the rest of it up to us, but that He finished it all by Himself. Christ-centered simply means what it says, for ALL OF IT is centered around Him - from the beginning to the end, from the reason why to the doing of it to the living of it. Man-centered, on the other hand, suggests that this salvation revolves around YOU in some fashion. Now, having such a message pounded into our heads has forced us into a dilemma. What I’m saying is that those who have received the Spirit of God are thrust into an incredible tension, a tension that is the result of the discrepancy between the witness of the Spirit (from within) and that of man (from the outside). For a message that, in word, CLAIMS the power of God, but, in reality, LEANS ON the power of man fools our hearts and leaves us desperate enough to try almost anything to ease the conflict. That’s right, we end up trying to rescue ourselves by our own efforts. Please realize that I’m not suggesting any kind of nit-picking to get people to reword their gospel message so that it lines up. What is needed is the revelation from God that brings confidence that all revolves around His Son and the work HE has done. For we have received all spiritual blessings IN HIM. The words will follow as the heart is settled. The beautiful part is that those words don’t have to mimic somebody else’s words, but instead, will be full of life.
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Posted: January 11, 2001 by Jeff

Hey Jim,

Thanks for that shoveletter. Great timing. ... I had one of those days where every color is the wrong color (and therefore needs to be complained about)... Everything seemed to warrent my "two-cents" worth. On the way here I found myself praying, but with some guilt. Like, "Jeff, you need to stop acting like that, how do you ever expect God to use you when your attitude sucks." I think you and I have had the same type of experiences with churhes...or something...because what you wrote in your last letter was right on. Thoughts like "I need to be on my very best behavior, so they will know that I'm alive in Him... and I will try MY hardest to rely on You tonight" went through my head as I drove here. I know that Christ is in me. He's changing the way I see things.


Posted: January 11, 2001 by Nancy

Jim,

It's almost 2:00 a.m. Just read the shoveletter. I'm thankful to finally walk in the truth of what I've known all along. It's Jesus, not me. Keep shoveling.


Posted: January 11, 2001 by Marcus C

Jim

I saw your link from Eternity Now Ministries and I am so uplifted to know that there are several ministries that teach true grace. Thank you! Do you have books or pamplets I can obtain since I don't have a printer? My family gets looked at a wierd because we believe the grace message and they stick to legalistic ways of church. Again, thank you for telling the truth and allowing Jesus to set people free! I want to purchase everything you have and teach others about grace. Let me know! I love you brother!


Posted: January 11, 2001 by Neil

How true this is, Jim, this man-centered "gospel" of today. In fact it has become so pervasive and the lines so blurred that at times you can't tell whether the preacher is a motivational speaker or the motivational speaker is a preacher.


Posted: January 11, 2001 by Mike

Jim
Thank you bro for your inspiring and encouraging words! You are a voice crying in the wilderness of what I call Christian polytheism. Bless you for proclaiming what really is "good" news, not just the same old crap that doesn't have a hint of good news in it. Have a great week. Pray for me and three other ragamuffins who are retreating to Rhode Island for a weekend listening to God. Luvya! Mike

PS - praise the Lord for your ear!!

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