“accepting Jesus”, the gospel or humanism

I went to visit a church last week. They had an international missionary speaking. The service included a video while the missionary spoke of the things God is doing through her ministry in other nations.

It was an impressive presentation with pictures of people living in terrible conditions and afflicted with demons and diseases. Exciting accounts of the missionary and her team praying and people being healed and delivered.  Accounts of many people “accepting Jesus”.

Let me preface by saying I do believe Jesus loves us and wants to help us. I believe He does heal and deliver yet today. However, I came away empty. I came away very confused. Is that the gospel?

Then “reasoning” kicked in. What makes me think I have any right to question a missionary who is busy and ministering in other nations? Clearly people were responding to her message.

What do I have to show for my efforts? Not much. I couldn’t draw crowd like that, so who am I to question her methods and her results?

Her message of “Jesus loves you!” certainly seemed to bring results!

The net she casts out, “Will you accept Jesus into your heart? He loves you and wants to help you!” was certainly a whole lot fuller then any of my nets ever had been.

She also admonished us “spiritually overfed” American church goers to get busy and do something! Get out there into our neighborhoods where people are waiting to hear about Jesus! Tell them how much “Jesus loves them and wants to help them”!

{I have found most neighbourhoods in America have been saturated with the message they need to “accept Jesus” and don’t want any part of it.}

We were also exhorted to help send people like her to the nations that were “spiritually starving” while we Americans are sitting comfortable in our air conditioned churches.

So what was this lack of excitement in me? What was this emptiness? What was this sadness?

Did I misunderstand her presentation of the gospel?

What does it mean to “accept Jesus”? What does it mean when you say, “He loves you and wants to help you”?

What is the gospel?

Does “Will you accept Jesus into your heart? He loves you and wants to help you!” mean the same thing as Paul’s message of,  repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ? Acts 20:21 or, repent, turn to God and do works meet for repentance? Acts 26:20

Does it mean the same thing as, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me? Luke 9:23

Does it mirror, wide is the way that leads to destruction and narrow is the way that leads to life? Matt. 7: 13-14

Here is my problem, I have found there is this huge divide between my personal experience of salvation and the message of “accepting Jesus because He loves me”. The two are seemingly poles apart. Why is that?

I have joy in my heart, peace in my life and His Voice is the only thing that brings me life, nevertheless, it has cost me something to “accept Jesus”.

I have had to surrender my life and say “Yes Lord, your will, not mine,” to have and enjoy His Presence. And this surrender was not a one time thing, I’ve had to do it numerous times and it’s doesn’t always feel good and pleasant.

To “accept Jesus” for me meant I have had to confess and reject all sin in my life as it has been revealed to me. I have had to humble myself and that isn’t always easy either.

For me to “accept Jesus” meant losing status, reputation, friends and family. Not just once but several times. That hurts.

For me to “accept Jesus” has meant the exclusion of everything that’s not Him and everything that’s not for Him. It has meant loneliness and desert experiences .

Is the gospel simply Jesus pleading with me and patiently waiting in the wings for me to “accept Him” so He can “bless me and help me”?

Or does the gospel of Jesus Christ require my submission to His absolute Lordship in my life with no room for my own agenda?

Is the gospel a message that enables me to “accept Jesus into my life” as an addition that will help me be happier on earth and allow me to go to heaven when I die?

Or is the gospel a message that requires me to die to self now and take my place to serve Him and Him alone?

Is the gospel primarily a message with its sole purpose and goal being to bless me, help me and make my life better?

Or is the purpose of the gospel to reveal the Glory of God to all of creation? To reveal the power of God to completely change me and my life so that I look like Him?

I believe much of what is taught as the gospel is actually humanism. Humanism makes the gospel about man. Humanism says the gospel is to help man and mankind. It is to make man happier and less miserable on earth and to save man so he doesn’t have to go to a nasty hell.

Humanism puts the focus on the improvement, betterment and happiness of man both now and in eternity.

However, I believe all those things are wonderful by-products of the gospel!

But, I believe the gospel is about Jesus. He deserves our allegiance and obedience. He deserves to have the complete focus of our lives and be our reason for living.  He deserves to have people hear the story of the cross even if not one person gets saved. He deserves the reward of His suffering!

Humanism has no ability to produce new creations and we are left wondering why our churches are seated full of self focused, blessing seeking, attention requiring people who have no power to live sanctified lives.

The gospel of Jesus Christ produces new creatures that are citizens of another realm! Sons of God who are passionate and care only about pleasing their Father and living in His Presence! Followers who shake the powers of darkness with their radical obedience!

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About Geneva

The road in my rear view mirror is marked by hard places. My Guide has been faithful. He came into my life and I was branded. Marked. Labeled. Ridiculed. Judged. Stoned. But the road ahead always looks grand and full of light! The furnaces from the past have only caused the fire of His Spirit to burn hotter. The edicts of man have tried many times to make me bend in worship to him, yet I have met the true Flame who delivers me in every furnace!
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10 Responses to “accepting Jesus”, the gospel or humanism

  1. Jayne Otterson says:

    Your writings always take my breath away with a big WOW! This was incredible. Thanks for sharing your insights and keep writing. In the meantime, I am passing this along to the very few who might read it but unfortunately, most just only want ear-tickling stuff.

    • Geneva says:

      I appreciate your encouraging words, Jayne! For me, it is worth putting my thoughts “on paper” if they encourage just one person to keep seeking Truth! Unfortunately, I also know what you mean when you say “most only want ear-tickling stuff”.

  2. Tracy Earley says:

    and enters The Narrow Gate…yes it is tied around my neck, written on my heart. Something that is weighty and not frivolous; something that requires death…only to bring life!

  3. Jayne Otterson says:

    I have read all your post (I think) and am very amazed at your insight and way with words. I don’t mean for this to sound like flattery but you such a blessing to me. Maybe it is because you were Amish and thus, I know that stepping away from all of that is so HUGE (as I was basically in a Mennonite Church (among many of the denominations/religions we tried to partake of ) thus I know much about the patriarchy teaching (false) and all the many entanglements of that. All that to say…your writings, especially about women are tremendous. I have only come to understand some of this for 1 1/2 yrs…Wow, how liberating it has been. Jon Zens has been a big blessing to us by his books and writings and also his (and his wonderful wife Dotty’s) friendship. Well, thank you for your contribution to “edify the body”. Hugs and blessings to you sister!!! I hope we can meet someday. 🙂

    • Geneva says:

      I too, appreciate the work of John Zens on behalf of women in the church. Thank you again for your kind words and I agree, it would be great to meet someday! Hugs right back to you!

  4. kaleymayer says:

    Amen! I loved how you put the humanistic approach to salvation. Today it is put as though it is all for us. The truth is it is all for Christ. That all things in all would be filled by Jesus Christ. Including us! The point of salvation is that we die to everything of ourselves and Christ then lives in and through us. This is the real gospel – Jesus Christ! He is the way, the reality, and the light. A very different reality than our own. We cannot simply add Christ to our lives, but must let Him live in us.

  5. kaleymayer says:

    By the way did you know in those days when a new emperor of Rome was announced they would go “preach the good news” to the nations. It was also called spreading the gospel. Frank Viola posted a very interesting blog about that awhile ago. Anyways the gist was that when a new emperor of Rome was established they would go out into all the nations proclaiming the good news. Which was to basically say this is your new King, here is his new rules, live by his leading, and bow the knee in full submission. Gives “gospel” a new meaning.

    • Geneva says:

      That is very interesting! It does give a better picture of what the early church would have “heard” when they heard the command, “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel”

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