Do you find that the sermons at your church lack depth? Does your minister teach only the nice things about Jesus Christ and not his “hard sayings?” When I returned to church in 1996, I felt that the Sunday service lacked the needful teachings laid out in the letters of Peter, James, Paul, John, and especially Jude.
Why was this so? Certainly Pastor Keith and Pastor Wayne used meaningful scriptures in their sermons. Even so, I enjoyed the Tuesday evening Bible studies much more. What made me feel something was missing at the churches I attended? A recent post by Zachary Perkins cleared up my ambivalence regarding the discontentment I felt at church.
In his post, Mr. Perkins wrote about the “me” gospel. Basically, it consists of telling people how good they are and to believe in themselves. No warning of sin and repentance is mentioned. Neither is counting the cost of discipleship and taking up one’s cross even hinted at. The Jesus they preach is more like a coach or buddy instead of the dynamic character portrayed in the gospels. No wonder I felt uneasy with all this “me” stuff.
I find much more edification and enjoyment in the sermons of John MacArthur and Conrad Mbewe. These men explain the scriptures rather than just telling moral stories. I’ve learned much from Hank Hanegraaff and June Hunt as well. Instead of telling their congregations and audiences what sinful people want to hear, these saints preach the full counsel of God. This is more like what the first-century apostles did. The self-esteem teachings don’t correspond to what Scripture teaches, therefore I reject them.
So what can we feel good about? For those of us who have surrendered our lives to Christ, we have a great deal to celebrate. Christ paid for our sin debt that we never could have paid by ourselves. He adopted us, who have given our lives to him, into his family. The Holy Spirit helps sanctify us so that we become more and more like our Lord in character. At the resurrection of the dead, we’ll have perfect bodies and live with our heavenly Father forever. If that doesn’t build a Christian’s self-esteem, that person should check his or her feelings against what the scriptures teach.
I wrote regarding the qualms I felt about the gospel of self esteem in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Discover the wondrous way the heavenly Father rescued me from errant beliefs and slavery to selfishness at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.