In my engagement with public theology, especially in the American context, it has become clear to me that what many claim as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is something else. For the most part, what many see as the good news is ultimately something that is counter to the true hope of Jesus Christ. It is also a gospel that is cultural in its message and application.
That gospel is an American Gospel. This gospel has its own unique characteristics and definitions that often comes near apostolic faith in Jesus Christ, but often runs counter to the true hopeful message. Instead of proclaiming Jesus Christ, it is a gospel that often props up self over community, the teachings of the Founding Fathers above all else, and political party as the main interpretive tool.
The dangers of the American Gospel are many and the consequences of its message are being felt, I believe, in churches and communities throughout our country. In order to understand these consequences, one must understand what comprises the American Gospel. What follows are what I consider to be characteristics of the American Gospel. These are ideas that are often expressed in churches and theological discussions as being true to faith, but are counter to what God truly desires. This is not a complete list, but a sampling of views that can hinder apostolic faith in Jesus Christ. Continue reading