The American Gospel
Does Christianity mean Christ plus the American dream?
American Gospel: Christ Alone (2018), is a film directed by Brandon Kimber in which the audience is compelled to evaluate the misrepresentation of the gospel through the perverting lens of American culture.
Kimber, confronts the audience through the juxtaposition of falsehood and truth thus demonstrating the vivid eternal hope that is offered through the biblical gospel. Kimber argues that the American gospel, also referred to as the Word of Faith movement or prosperity gospel, is a gospel which elevates man and deposes God.
‘You thought that I was altogether like you (Psalm 50, verse 21).’
Our society has become disillusioned by the promises encapsulated by the American Dream. The promise of happiness and fulfilment ensuing material wealth and social status has left many people empty.
Society shakes their dirty fingers at God claiming that if he were good then he would make us happy. Yet, when we think that God is like us, we demean His deity. We create a false genie-like-god in our minds whose sole purpose is to give us the desires of our heart.
However, the Bible is not about you nor your happiness. In fact, Christianity is about dying. Dying to self and being born again in Christ.
The problem with our generation, every generation afore us, and every generation yet to come is the problem with man’s heart. Christianity requires a change of heart so that we hate the sin that we once loved and love the righteousness we once hated.
Selling a gospel of wealth, health and success may appeal to human nature but it will not harvest salvation. A gospel pumping out messages of prosperity exports the worst of Christianity – it popularises falsehood and negates our role in sharing truth.
Frauds, fakes and truth
'I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all (Galatians chapter 1, verses 6-7).’
In Matthew chapter 7, verses 15-23, we are called to watch out for false prophets who will come to us in sheep clothing but are inwardly ferocious wolves. Moreover, 2 Peter, chapter 2, verses 1-22, describes the characteristics of false teachers as well as describing their destruction.
So how do we know who these false teachers are?
God has given us His word, the Bible to guide us. Matthew chapter 7, verse 16, informs us that by their fruit you will know them. This requires us to exercise our discernment, given to us by the Holy Spirit, in evaluating if the principles our teachers share with us are indeed biblical teachings.
The truth is that we all have broken, sinful hearts. None of us are good people. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Any gospel which renounces the Cross revealing our inner depravity and Christ sacrificing Himself for our redemption is not the biblical gospel.
We are not to amend the Christian gospel so that it is more palatable – portraying humanity in a favourable light. We are all sinners and there is nothing we alone can do to make ourselves a good person.
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John chapter 3, verse 16).’
Thankfully, we have the Good News.
In an outpouring of God’s abundant love for us, He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sins. The Cross embodies both God’s judgement and mercy. Jesus, completely blameless, fully God and fully human, received the punishment for our sin.
The great exchange.
Jesus died on the Cross and rose again in order to offer us salvation – freedom from the wrath of God and the gift of eternal life.
Should we choose to accept it?
Jessica is a Registered Nurse who is passionate about caring for children. She enjoys spending time in nature and reading a good book. Writing is her way of communicating with God, expressing creativity and processing ideas. You can view her previous articles at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jessica-knell.html
Kiwi-born with British roots, Jessica Gardiner drinks tea religiously while her dinner table discussions reverberate between the sovereignty of God, global politics, and the public health system. Having experienced churches from conservative to everything but, Jessica writes out a desire for Christian orthodoxy and biblical literacy in her generation. Jessica is married to fellow young writer Blake Gardiner.