What Gospel Do You Preach?

In 1982, evangelist Keith Green and his two children were killed in an airplane crash. Green and his wife had founded The Last Days Ministry, an outreach and teaching ministry. This organization was unusual in a number of ways, one of which separated it from just about every similar ministry that I was and am aware of.

The Greens and their associates produced a number of evangelical and teaching pamphlets and VHS videos in which they addressed not only Christian doctrines but also the manner in which those doctrines were being preached. The reader might comment that this is no big thing, since many media and other public ministries are grinding out such items even today.

The big thing was that Last Days Ministry, while offering their tracts and videos to the public at a modest price also made them available at no cost—not even postage—to those who asked for them. That impressed me. I used some of those tracts in my own Pro-Life work.

Melody continued their work and Last Days Ministry is alive and well today. They continue to offer a wide variety of articles dealing with evangelism, Christian living, etc. Many of them may be read here.

I purchased a number of videotapes from Last Days Ministry, among them Keith's teaching tapes entitled What's Wrong With The Gospel?, Parts 1 and 2. In these tapes, the evangelist was quick to point out that absolutely nothing is wrong with the Gospel. What is wrong is the way the Gospel was being preached then and is being preached now.

In Part 1, Green discussed how things are being left out of the Gospel and a number of reasons why that was so. In Part 2, Green then examined innovations that have been added to the Gospel as preached in far too many churches. His arguments boiled down to just a few points, the foremost of which was that the omission or addition of anything to the Gospel can and likely does stumble seekers.

I don't agree with everything Green wrote or taught concerning the role of man in God's salvific program, but I heartily agree with the teaching and preaching errors he addresses. For example:

It Produces Selfish, "Blessed," and Feelings-Oriented "Converts." Anyone who is made to believe he becomes a Christian under such preaching will seldom bring forth the true fruits of a real convert. He will remain just as selfish as he always was, only now his selfishness will take on a religious form. If he wants something for himself, he will say he "has a burden" for something, or he will say, "It is the desire of my heart," or some other religious-sounding phrase like that. He will pray selfishly, desiring blessings for himself, and even if he does pray for others, it usually will be for selfish reasons. After all, when he "accepted the Lord," he was told how much Jesus wanted to bless him and how much God had stored up for his account, and how the Bible was like "a checkbook full of promises, just waiting to be cashed!"

Such a person always seeks to "feel" good about himself, his own church, his own pastor, etc. His whole world is built on feeling blessed. He was never shown how he was created to bless God... God was not created to bless him. (Psalm 149:4; Phil. 2:13)

As you can see, the "converts" described above are not like those pictured in the book of Acts, when the Church was new and the fire was hot. Take a look at Acts 2:41-47 and 4:31-35, and you will see the tender spirit of love, and the mighty spirit of power that prevailed among the brethren in those early days. I believe that one of the great reasons that "everyone kept feeling a sense of awe" (Acts 2:43), was because "they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to prayer. "(vs. 42) I believe that Peter and the others made every effort to convey the whole message of the Gospel when they preached and taught, and that is why the Spirit of God could anoint and bless the new converts so powerfully- God always anoints the truth! (Isaiah 55:11)—Keith Green, What's Wrong With The Gospel? Part 1, © Copyright  2002 Last Days Ministries

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