An Alien Gospel

“I was abducted by an alien gospel,” writes Dieter Zander. “…a gospel concerned only with how to deal with sin and death, with wrongdoing and its effects. We've got the past covered — past sins are forgiven. We've got the future covered — heaven when we die. But what about the present? Life, our actual daily existence, is strangely absent from [the modern] version of the good news.”

This alien gospel is, I am sad to say, what most evangelicals have been
taught to share. It is a gospel that is purely intellectual, a list of facts about God and Jesus.

Now, of course there is certainly nothing wrong with
proclaiming facts. Our problem comes when, at the end of our
presentation of the three or four facts that "God wants you to know,"
we tell the non Christian listener, "If you'll just express belief in these
facts about God, you can be sure that when you die, you'll go to
heaven. Nothing you do or don't do will change your position with God
after you agree with the four facts...once you pray them, you're in! So
now, go to church, and enjoy the great plans God has for you."

Jesus never said anything like this to anybody...not even close! Jesus
never performed an altar call, led someone in the sinner's prayer, or
gave out literature with a 1-2-3-gospel pitch. In fact, if we were
measuring by today's standards, Jesus wasn't that great of an
evangelist. Think of it: he turned away many people who were willing to
make a decision, and he taught things that were so hard, many of his
followers left him! (John 6:66)

Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator, wrote at the beginning of the 1700's:

“We are too apt to rest in a bare profession of faith, and to think
that this will save us; it is a cheap and easy religion to say, ‘We
believe in the articles of the Christian faith;' but it is a great
delusion to imagine that this is enough to bring us to heaven. Those
who argue thus wrong God…The most plausible profession of faith,
without works, is dead…We must not think that either, without the
other, will justify and save us. This is the grace of God wherein we
stand, and we should stand to it.”

Challenge: Have I studied the message of Jesus for myself, to discover
the gospel? Or have I been “abducted” by a version of the gospel that
is powerless to really change lives?

You can find the full text of Zander's article at


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