The Damage Done by the Gospel Americana

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The Gospel Americana has created many Christians—passive, accommodating Christians who possess a sense of entitlement. They are trained consumers with a strong sense of individualism that overpowers the common good. A vocal minority are rigid and focus more on dogma than on making disciples.

The Gospel Americana has created even more people who have been told that they are Christians, but they are not. Having churches populated with people who believe they are believers but aren’t explains why so few professing Christians read the Bible, pray, give money, give time, or engage in any kind of mission. Why is it possible for people to believe they are Christians when they are not Christians?  It is quite simple: They have been taught that to profess Christ is to believe in Christ is to follow Christ. They have been taught that belief and verbally professing agreement with doctrine is saving faith—it is not, it never has been, and it never will be. In this paradigm, conversion is necessary, discipleship is optional.

Fifty-one percent of Christians have not heard of the great commission.[i] Research has demonstrated that the younger the churchgoer is, the less likely they can identify the proper passage or explain what the great commission is or means. Again, we can trace the root cause back to bad leadership and even further back to unfocused graduate-school curriculum. This is a fascinating, tragic debacle because it has led to so many problems. We could go on concerning this (and we will in future chapters), but for now, what can be done?

Christians should stop asking How am I doing?, and pastors should stop asking one another, “How is your church doing?” These are the wrong questions. They only enable our preoccupation with the wrong things. Jesus tells us to ask a different question: How am I doing loving the people God has given me to love? We are Christ’s disciples—let’s act like it!

We are encouraged to see growing dissatisfaction with the Gospel Americana; our hope is that The Cost of Cheap Grace can point the way and inspire the imagination to replace it with a more biblical understanding of salvation. Let us start with putting aside our selfish ways, with taking up our crosses and following Jesus. That is the kind of life he has called us to, not the self-preoccupation that our society teaches us that is eating the heart out of the church. Let us reject the Gospel Americana and pursue the kind of life Jesus modeled for us.

Taken from Cost of Cheap Grace: Reclaiming the Value of Discipleship by Bill Hull and Brandon Cook. Copyright © 2019. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

[i] Barna Group, “51% of Churchgoers Don’t Know of the Great Commission,” March 27, 2018, https://www.barna.com/research/half-churchgoers-not-heard-great-commission/

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