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Posts Tagged ‘false gospels’


ByFaith Magazine interviewed Michael Horton about his recent book Christless Christianity.  The subtitle is The Alternative Gospel of the American Church.  Dr. Horton is assessing a growing problem in the American Church which his book The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World seeks to answer.

Rather, it’s motivated by a concern that there’s this creeping fog of what sociologist Christian Smith called “moralistic-therapeutic-deism.” This has turned God into a tool we can use rather than the object of our faith and worship. I’m concerned that the gospel is being taken for granted, that Christ is a sort of life coach, but not the Savior. With the general shallowing within the culture, there is a shallowing of Christian faith and practice. We don’t really know what we believe and why we believe it.

I see this problem in a number of different ways.  You see it in the Word Faith movement and the related Prosperity (false) Gospel.  A minor theme of Scripture is treated like the main theme of Scripture at the expense of the real main theme of Scripture (redemption & restoration).  Jesus helps you get what you want rather than does whatever it takes to make you like Him.

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Less than $15 at WTS Books!

Less than $15 at WTS Books!

I own and read this book under its previous title: Whoredom: God’s Unfaithful Wife in Biblical Theology.  I’ve recommended the book to friends, and on my blog.  I guess that title was a bit over the top for some people.  It was re-released as God’s Unfaithful Wife: A Biblical Theology of Spiritual Adultery.  Ray Ortlund’s book is still part of the New Studies in Biblical Theology series.

This is a great book on a very difficult subject.  It makes for must reading if you are reading, studying or preaching from any of the prophets that wrestled with Israel’s apostasy.  It works through the many passages that show how ugly it is, and how prevalent our temptation really is.

I’m glad this book is still available, and wish more pastors would read it.  This is particularly true in America where Satan’s strategy to neutralize the Church is seduction rather than persecution.  We live in dangerous times as prosperity (and the prospect of losing that prosperity) silently seduces us from faithfulness to the Holy One who has created, redeemed and adopted us.  It is the silent spiritual killer that is corrupting many sermons, books and churches.

Sorry if I sound alarmist, pessimistic and negative.

This book is not an easy read.  It is a bit academic in that it assumes some working knowledge of the original languages.  It is also difficult due to the metaphors Scripture uses to convey how corrupt Israel was in pursuing false gods or engaging in synchretism.  Scripture often sexualizes it (and translators work to make it PG) to drive the point home, shocking us for holy purposes.  Even if you never preach on those difficult texts, this book will help you keep such texts in mind as you encounter the common call to return to God with all your heart, to love the Lord with all we are and to be blameless before Him.

No, not an easy read but a very important read.  I’m glad D.A. Carson asked Ray Ortlund Jr. to make this a part of the NSBT series.

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I just finished D.A. Carson’s A Model of Christian Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 10-13.  It was formerly published as From Triumphalism to Maturity.

It covers on of the more difficult passages of Paul’s letters, one which seems particularly appropriate in these times.  As I read the book, I could not help but think of many instances to “triumphalism” or an over-realized eschatology.

Carson writes in an understandable fashion that addresses the various exegetical problems of the text.  It is a book that is helpful for those wanting to better understand this passage of Scripture, or wanting to have a better understanding of mature Christian leadership.

In this passage of Scripture, Paul is trying to distinguish himself from the “super-apostles” who have entered the Corinthian church, seeking to supplant him.  Their ‘credentials’ lead us to believe that they are Judaizers who measure ministry by worldly standards of success rather than biblical standards of faithfulness.  They continually discredit Paul as not meeting their superior standards, seeking to win the Corinthians’ hearts and wallets.

They measure success by power- both in word and deed.  Their rhetorical style is worldly wisdom rather than the wisdom and scandal of Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1-2).  Like the Hellenistic teachers of the day, success is measured by the number of followers and the amount they are willing to pay to be taught by you.

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