13 False Gospels

by Chad Allen, Lead Pastor of Cuyahoga Valley Church

Here’s a list of 13 False Gospels from week one of our Liberated sermon series. It’s adapted from a list found in “Counterfeit Gospels” by Trevin Wax.  Notice that they are “Man-centric” not “Christ-centric”.

  1. Therapeutic Gospel
    Sin robs us of our sense of fulfillment. Christ’s death proves our worth as humans and gives us power to reach our potential. The church is here to help us feel happy and feel good about ourselves.

  2. Moralist Gospel
    Our big problem is sins (plural) and not sin (nature). The purpose of Christ’s death is to make us better people and help us have spiritual willpower to be more moral.

  3. Mystic Gospel
    Salvation comes through an emotional experience with God. The church exists to provide me with powerful experiences to help me feel close to God and pursue a mystical union with Him.

  4. Works Gospel
    We have to pursue more good deeds than bad deeds in this life to be made right with God. Jesus showed us the way. Now, it’s up to us to do enough good works to be let into heaven.
  5. Legalistic Gospel
    Sin is failing to keep Christian rules and behavior. Once we become a follower of Christ we will live up to certain spiritual standards and the church helps us know what those standards are by giving us the religious rituals to keep, and divine expectations to fulfill.
  6. Universal Gospel
    We don’t have any personal responsibility in regards to our sin nor in responding to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Everyone will be saved because of Jesus, so just do the best you can in life to be kind to others and leave this planet a better place than when you arrived. God will reward all and judge no one – except maybe the extremely evil people from human history.
  7. Spiritually neutral Gospel
    As long as we have a sincere faith in something and follow a spiritual path of some kind, God will accept us. All spiritual paths lead to God and heaven. It’s just better if we make Jesus a part of the path since He is such a good example and heroic martyr.
  8. Fire Insurance Gospel
    As long as we prayed a “sinner’s prayer” at some point in our life then we are saved.  No life transformation needs to be evidenced, we are covered by this prayer and can go on living life as we choose free from the worry of hell.
  9. Prosperity Gospel
    Jesus wants us to live a life of health and wealth.  If we really have faith in Jesus, then we will be untouched by the brokenness of this world and live out God’s desire for us to be successful, rich, powerful, and daily a recipient of His special favor only reserved for those who truly believe in Jesus.
  10. Poverty Gospel
    As followers of Christ, we can never possess or enjoy anything in this world. A true faith relationship with Jesus results in choosing to be materially poor and spiritually rich. You cannot be a Christian and enjoy material possessions or earthly experiences.
  11. Social Activist Gospel
    Jesus died and rose so that we can be social and political activists in our culture.  Individuals hearing about the person and work of Jesus Christ is not as important as our efforts to bring social justice and peace to all areas of society.
  12. Self-Help Gospel
    We are our own worst problem and our negativity about ourselves hinders us from fully achieving all that we are and can be. Jesus wants us to see how great we really are and then pursue letting that greatness out. The solution to our problems is already within us and He is there to cheer us on.
  13. Labelistic Gospel
    Dedication to our own subcultural label of Christianity (conservative, liberal, evangelical, political, denominational, racial, or gender association). You convince yourself that the only people who understand the Bible and Jesus accurately are those who align with your particular label, language, views and subculture.