I am currently reading Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church. I only wish I had read such a good book a couple of years earlier. It pulls no punches and zaps like that tonic that the doctor ordered with a wink – and twinkle in his eye. No, it’s not racy and nor does it tickle your ego.
Michael Horton tells of the time when he had an opportunity to interview Dr. Robert Schuller (a self help author and televangelist) who always favoured a ‘human needs approach’ to Christianity insisted that “classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be ‘God centered,’ not ‘man centered’.” He defined sin as ‘any act or thought that robs,us or another human being of his or her self esteem…[infact says Schuller] a person is in hell when he has lost his self esteem.’
It is easy to see how Dr Schuller’s Christianized gospel lite became very popular and acceptable even among Muslims, Hindus and Atheists. After all who doesn’t like their ego tickled?
But what does the bible actually say? When asked to interpret the portion of scripture below, Dr Schuller’s response was a classic reply that many popular pastors give:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Tim 3:1-5
Schuller immediately responded by saying, ‘I hope you don’t preach that. It will hurt a lot of beautiful people.’
Well, oh yes, Robert! But isn’t that exactly what preaching of the truth should do?