Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hybrid Gospel

One wacky fact about me is I love research. I truly enjoy digging up facts and/or proving a theory. Some might attribute this to an argumentative nature and I will agree somewhat, I can debate till the cows come home (do the cows ever come home in Chicago????).

Anyway, in high school I took debate and though I took it at first to force myself to speak in front of people without hiding behind a mask (drama/acting), I ended up loving it. Digging up data and research to prove my position on an argument excited me. Putting it all together and delivering was truly an adrenaline rush (stirred up that preaching gift!)… even when I got beat BADLY in my first debate by an opponent I had grossly underestimated. He slept through every class and was into a grunge lifestyle. He seemed not to care about anything at all. For the life of me I could not understand why no other teams were choosing to go up against him and his partner. I found out.

Though I was prepared, I was sideswiped by sarcasm and an apparently brilliant public speaker. But, after it was all over, we shook hands (after I crawled up off of the floor) and I was determined to sharpen my skills. I never lost another debate after that, and yes, I did beat him before the year was over.

Have mercy, I have no idea why I scampered down that rabbit trail! Anyway, research, we were talking about research!

I have been researching some of the recent new waves of manipulating the Gospel. No, I am not talking about the series I did on Finding the Sacred in the Secular,” I am talking about a new cafeteria style Gospel that is being preached. One where you can choose not to eat your “spiritual veggies” which are needed for growth but choose to gobble up all of the goodies that do not provide lasting nourishment.

I call this “Hybrid Gospel.” To understand why I have coined this term, take a look at the definition of the word “hybrid.”

Hybrid: the offspring produced by crossing two individuals of unlike genetic constitution; specif., the offspring of two animals or plants of different races, varieties, species, etc.

What is occurring springs from the parts of the Word of God that “tickle” our ears, but require nothing of us… that paired up with some New Age mumbo jumbo that declares a universalistic message equals what I call a “Hybrid Gospel.”

The basic underlying tone of this “Hybrid Gospel” seems to take everything about Jesus dying on the cross for granted. I hear the word “grace” mentioned over and over however, this Gospel perceives “grace” to be something we are “entitled” to. When we view the grace of God as something we are “entitled” to we are, in essence, ignoring the Giver of that grace!

I believe grace is about redemption. When I think about grace, I am always reminded of the hymn, “Amazing Grace.” His grace IS amazing, it is about being found, plucked up out of our own filth undeserving. It bothers me to think that this “Hybrid Gospel” paints a picture that is the opposite of what I just said in the previous sentence. This Gospel of the Entitlement of Grace paints a picture of grace wallowing in our filth with us. It is us saying, “Either you take me like this or not at all.”

Ironically, freedom itself is the most unique grace given to us by God. He has given us a will to choose our own way. He won’t cross our will and Satan can’t.

I consider myself someone who believes that God’s grace IS for all of us. I don’t believe there is anyone exempt from salvation. Allow me to go out on a limb and say if a murderer confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord of His life and asked Jesus to forgive him his sins, he would be saved by the same grace that saved me. That is some tough stuff to swallow, I know, but the Word of God says in John 3:16 that “For God so loved that world He gave His only Son that whosoever believes on Him will not perish but have eternal life.” That murderer we just spoke of is ‘whosoever’ just like you, just like me, but there is also a prerequisite.

How dare we believe that we are entitled to something as amazing as God’s grace without having to be responsible in our own lives? (1 Corinthians 6:20) God sacrificed His only Son, Jesus laid His life down and people feel they are “entitled?” I’m sorry, but I have a huge issue with that.

The Word states that He is “jealous for us.” The word “jealousy” means “vigilantly guarding your possession.” If we are simply entitled to His grace, if it is something He gives us with no perquisite why would He ever be jealous for us?

When we accept God’s grace that is offered to us and we abandon our carnal lives we come into covenant with Him. We have to understand the seriousness of our covenant with God (Hebrews 10:26-31).

When Craig and I married, he gave me his love freely, and I reciprocated and gave him mine as well. We made a covenant to one another and to God when we married. That meant that all of our previous romantic relationships were in the past, not to be revisited. I could not drag a former boyfriend into our new life together, nor could I call him or put up photos from my past with him. It is the same when we become saved. We are to leave our past, old nature behind.

In closing, as I looked up the definition of “hybrid” the first part of the definition “jumped” out at me. “The offspring produced by crossing two individuals of unlike genetic constitution.” We hear a lot of talk about “spiritual dna" these days. I have some thoughts on this too such as, I believe much of the church has confused "spiritual dna" with cloning and in that we are way off! But THAT is another post. The part of the definition I quoted above is also something we as the body of Christ need to run far away from, we need to slay the lie that says we can take part of the Gospel and parts of man made religion and be saved. We would never cross breed a horse and a sloth. Why? The two animals are of "unlike genetic constitution." The outcome, the fruit of this action would be devastating and grossly deformed. It is the same with this Hybrid Gospel.

The truth is in the Word folks. Grace is ours, oh yeah, it is freely given but with this gift let us not slap the giver in the face with feelings of entitlement. He loves us, desperately, passionately.

Just thinking out loud...

Love & Blessings!

No comments: