Whatever happened to the old-fashioned idea that the church exists to preach the Gospel and that the purpose of the Gospel is to save souls?
Judging from some of the bulletins we see and some announcements we are asked to make, some churches of Christ today appear to have gone over to the YMCA.
We are all for families knowing how to make money, and we are equally happy to see people make a success out of their lives, but churches of Christ should be concerned to preach in today’s world the same Gospel that was delivered in primitive times—to save souls from sin. Using that Gospel as a guideline, they ought to teach people how to grow spiritually and be prepared for heaven.
The church today is in serious danger of falling victim to a materialistic gospel—how to make money, how to get rich, how to be successful in business, in social life, in school, etc. One of the surest signs that we are more interested in material values than in spiritual is when these types of lectures, because of their novelty, are more attractive than the message of a redeeming Savior.
One of the denominational journals we get had a lead article recently titled, “The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospel,” and the editors were deploring the popularity of a so-called gospel that tells us how to be either “healthy or wealthy.”
If the denominations, who make no attempt to practice New Testament Christianity, have come to denounce this type of emphasis for its complete lack of spiritual content, it is indeed strange how churches of Christ, who are supposed to be set for the defense of the Gospel can justify such spiritually empty messages.
The preachers who go around with this type of message betray a total lack of conception of what New Testament Christianity is all about. Elders who allow this sort of thing are either ignorant of the Bible or unable to withstand the pressure of a generation of super salesmen preachers. In both cases it is a disgrace to the cause of New Testament Christianity.
If the central theme of the Gospel is not Christ and Him crucified, as Paul delivered it in Corinth, then, in the words of the lamented Foy E. Wallace, Sr. “We have been reading the wrong book.”