Pristine Grace

The Pop Gospel is Evil
But There Is Good News!
by John Pedersen
The Pop Gospel is Evil

     The popular, “God loves everybody and Jesus died for everybody” gospel is not an innocent mistake in Bible interpretation. It is an evil perversion of the message of Scripture. It glorifies man and denigrates God. It presents the picture of a God who loves all mankind and desperately longs for the salvation of all mankind, but is powerless to actually bring about His desire without the consent of those He loves. If God cannot do something without your permission, your power of contrary choice is greater than God’s love and desire to save you. That makes you more ultimate than God. Heady stuff. 

     The essence of this perversion is this: self-glorification. Man is glorified when God needs man’s help to save him. Man is glorified when God loves all men the same, and salvation is found in whether man decides to love God back. Man is glorified when the difference between one person and another is not in God’s discriminating love, but in man’s; in a person’s own decision to exercise his “free will”. 

     From the beginning, not one single person has been saved by this perverse message. Not one. This claim is not arrogant. It is a claim required by submission to the message of Scripture, wherein it is plain God does not and will not save by a lie. God cannot and will not save by a message denigrating His holy character and exalting the inherent ability and power of moral discrimination found in man. For God to save a person by this perverse message would be tantamount to God bringing His salvation by an act of self- contradiction and a denial of His own faithfulness and power. As the Scripture says, God cannot lie, and He cannot deny Himself. 

     Now it is true enough that the pop gospel has been the handmaiden of many a moral reformation and a change of life direction. But this is not to be confused with salvation as it is biblically described. To believe the gospel in the biblical understanding of the term is to believe “unto righteousness”, i.e., to leave off trusting in one’s own righteousness and to accept, receive, and embrace the righteousness of God as it is revealed in Christ. It is simply impossible to be saved by believing a message which actually fortifies one in a conviction of one’s own righteousness by teaching that one’s own "acceptance" of Christ makes His cross-work effectual. 

     Now I realize that many in the “Reformed community” claim to have been saved under the pop gospel of “Evangelical Arminianism” and to have “grown” into the “Reformed Faith”. That is like claiming to have been given life by a lie and “grown” into the truth. It is a false claim and it is really an extension of the thinking inherent to the pop-gospel. 

     God is not like a “bait-and-switch” car salesman who gets you “in the door” by flattering you and glorifying you as master and commander of your life, only to later on break the news that it is really of Him you are in Christ. To think and speak of God this way is arrogance and affrontery to the true God. 

     The gospel of the Bible is good news. It tells how forgiveness is found in Jesus Christ and what He has done. It tells how God can be just and at the same time justify and forgive a sinner. Nothing in the gospel of the Bible complements or glorifies man. Nothing. All of the good news of the gospel is good news concerning God, and glorifies God and the effective work of Jesus Christ on the cross, who saved each and every one of those He came to save and did not waste one drop of His precious blood. 

     Would you know forgiveness and peace of conscience, and assurance of eternal salvation? Look to Christ. Not the "christ" of the pop-gospel, who would flatter you into a false hope and compliment you into a pseudo-salvation, but the true Christ of the Bible, a Savior who really saves and Who keeps all who come to Him, renouncing their own pretended righteousness and embracing the perfection of His obedience and the satisfaction His death has made to the law and justice of God.