There are countless man-centered “gospels” on offer today. Such “gospels” say things like, “God wants to make you rich and prosperous in this life,” or “God wants to heal you of every physical and emotional ailment,” or “God wants to provide for whatever needs you feel you have.”
But how do these man-centered gospels differ from the true, biblical, God-centered gospel?
We have to be careful to distinguish between principle and practice. For example it is a principle of Scripture that we should walk in purity. But the Bible does NOT forbid a long engagement in order to promote purity. To have a short engagement might be someone’s personal practice, but we should not make a personal practice equal to Scripture.
Words are powerful. They transform lives and make history. They birth nations and topple empires. They make peace and fuel wars. They commence marriage and wound those we most cherish. They change hearts and give news of eternal life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Words are foundational to everything we think, do, and say in all of life; nevertheless, words are not ends in themselves. Words exist because God spoke them into existence that he might communicate with us and that we might commune with him. God has spoken to us in a book, and the Holy Spirit illumines those inspired words to us who trust the God who spoke them. Therefore, we read God’s Word not merely to have read and to have said that we’ve read, but that we might devour every jot and tittle and, thus, be renewed in our minds and continually transformed in our hearts.
We seem to have been largely spared the celebrity pastor problem. Tim Keller is maybe the closest we’ve got. However, though fame has come to him, I don’t believe he’s gone looking for it (surely the defining characteristic of any celebrity). Others, like Sinclair Ferguson and Ligon Duncan have significant name recognition, but again who could ever argue that either of these two Christian gentlemen fit into the celebrity pastor mold? I mean they wear ties and blazers! Though popular and much-loved, they don’t have a whole entrepreneurial-industrial-business model built around them.