The Escapism Gospel is Not the Gospel.
The words of one escapism artist are: "Why do I know the Gospel is about escaping. Because I believe the grace preacher Paul and reject the modern day grace preachers that doesn't have an escape plan."
"Paul says if we don`t murmur and complain when we are tempted God will provide a way of escape."
The escapism artist then follows the pattern of quoting Bible verses to back up the Escapism Gospel, one of which is: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1Cor. 10:13
The CONTEXT of this portion of scripture is not about escaping hell, it is not even about escaping going through trials...it is talking about providing a way out of the trials one will go through. This sort of contextual illiteracy is common among Bible literalists.
Many people consider the goal of the gospel is to get to heaven by a "get out of hell escape ticket" called salvation acquired by saying the "sinner's prayer."
Is the gospel about gaining heaven and escaping hell as programmed into people by the escapism artist? Is our understanding of heaven and hell, how to get to one and escape the other the catalyst of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
The escapism gospel focuses on the glories of heaven or the agony of hell and the fear mongering of hell to convince people to convert so as to escape hell's travesty in order to gain heaven's bliss.
This mentality of the gospel makes Jesus a get out of hell ticket and makes the Son of the living God a “means to an end”!
Now, don’t get me wrong…Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE! However, Jesus's WAY, TRUTH and LIFE is much more than the ESCAPISM GOSPEL MENTALITY!
Escapism gospel proponents have made Jesus into a “fixer upper” who is promoted as the “fix it” person for all our problems. He is used as the fixer-upper of our marriages, the fixer-upper of our business, the fixer-upper of our poverty, the fixer-upper of our lives, He is the “fixer-upper” fixer.
The problem with that understanding is that in the post-cross testament we don’t see Jesus merely as the means to an end, the means of escaping hell to gain heaven. To present Jesus as merely the means is not presenting the total reality of the gospel. He is also the truth and the life. Finding the truth and the life of the gospel is more than finding the way of the gospel. The man-made christian religion portrayed Jesus as the the way to be the totality of without finding truth and life of the gospel. This has robbed the joy of the fullness gospel from people and kept them in the prison of escapism gospel deficiency.
The goal of the escapism gospel is heaven. The punishment of the escapism gospel is hell
The goal of the post-cross gospel, the Gospel of Grace is JESUS! The benefit of the Gospel of Grace is that we become a citizen of His Community of the Redeemed Kingdom and a vital asset to the Community of Humanity in the here-and-now...not just about being part of His Kingdom in some sweet-by-and-by afterlife.
Jesus did not make heaven and hell the cornerstone of His message. He made HIMSELF the conerstone of His message. “you search the scriptures” (the written word about me) “for in them you THINK you will find eternal life, yet these are the scriptures who testify of ME. Yet, you do not come to ME that you might be have life.” This is what happens when you buy into the escapism gospel!
Jesus is not just the way, He is not just the how. JESUS IS THE LIFE OF THE GOSPEL...HE IS THE GOSPEL!
What we end up doing when we prioritize the escapism gospel in that there is a beautiful place called heaven and an repugnant place called hell and merely portray Jesus as "the way" we make Him a scapegoat.
The Gospel of Grace will give people a fresh vision of Jesus as the goal of the gospel and people will become attracted to Him and life, not attracted to gaining heaven by escaping hell because of the escapism gospel!
The gospel is not about getting to heaven or escaping hell. The Gospel is about being in a vital relationship with God that points people to Him in here-and-now living. It is a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God.
Jesus is the beginning and the end and everything in between...His is the Gospel!
The escapism gospel has subjugated Jesus into being a scapegoat, a spiritual tool to use to satisfy our selfish desires. When in fact...He is the very goal of a believer's life.
This is why to get the gospel right is so very important. When we get the gospel wrong and fail to understand and preach the whole council of God we actually inoculate people to the true gospel. We tell them to repeat the "sinner's prayer", repent of your sins and go to heaven and then we wonder why people don't demonstrate anything of kingdom living in their life. It is because we have not given them the goal of the gospel...JESUS...instead we have given the the goal of escaping hell and the gospel becomes nothing more that fire insurance.
People are programmed to preach a gospel of fear mongering rather than the gospel of love and forgiveness.
Food for thought...if our view of the goal of the gospel is wrong...is it possible that our view of heaven and hell as the goal are wrong as well?
The Gospel Goal...for many...is Escaping the Tribulation and the Escaping of Hell to Gain Heaven.
I grew up hearing that the Gospel is "Good News"...however...the "Good News" was always overshadowed by "Bad News"! My response, as well as many people of my time, to the Gospel was initiated by fear of God sending me to hell fire and not the love of God or His goodness.
It seemed that the crux of the Gospel was not the Grace of God and the freedom it brings, rather the Gospel was based on the fear of God and the hell it brings!
The fear of hell and damnation scared the living hell out of people and because of the manipulative tactics, the judgement and condemnation of the preacher and one's thinking that the preacher was the mouth piece of God speaking the truth of God, masses have accepted the fear-mongering tactics as the Gospel.
The angles were right in their proclamation that the Gospel is Good News...AMAZINGLY GOOD NEWS...and...there is NO BAD NEWS associated with it! Jesus came with an announcement from heaven that He came to bring GOOD NEWS...and I would add, NOTHING but GOOD NEWS for ALL of MANKIND!
Like most people, I grew up an “end times” believer where the Good News of the Gospel was mixed up in a mess of destruction and the good news was communicated against a backdrop of some terrible, no-good, absolutely abhorrent, very BAD NEWS! This Bad News was the key to getting people to respond to the alter call. This Gospel is very manipulative and controlling and very Un-Christ like in character.
The good-news bad-news gospel usually starts out with "God loves you so much He sent His only Son to die in your place and took upon Himself your sin. Followed by, if you do not say the "sinner's prayer" and ask Him to forgive you of your sin.
If you fail to repent by saying the sinner's prayer, you are on the the train to the torture chamber of hell and God is going to torture you for ever and ever by setting you on fire, except, you will never die and you will literately burn forever and ever.
The fear-mongering continues...sinner friend, things are going to get progressively worse in these last days...and no matter what happens, there’s no stopping this train from on the track to hell...oh yes, on the way you will pass through the great tribulation where you will also suffer like you or anybody else has suffered since the dawn of humanity!
The escapism mentality is that people are completely and utterly doomed, and the job of a Christian is get as many people into the Ark of safety as possible and get so they will escape hell.
One source of the good news of the escapism gospel is, a girl named Margaret MacDonald, she had a dream about how people can escape the tribulation and hell. A man named John Nelson Darby capitalized on this girl's dream in making a doctrine out of it, in that God has provided a way of escape for certain elect people...an escape called the “secret rapture of the church.” By the 20th Century, end times theology caught on and it didn’t take long for the Good News that Christ came to bring, to get perverted into a theology of detachment and escapism. Of all the negative things that have occurred in church history the invention of the escapism gospel and the modern end-times movement that was born from such man-invented hogwash ushered in an era where Christians waited for the Good News (escape) to be realized, instead of bringing good news for people living in the world in the here and now. The good news was promoted as escaping the tribulation and hell and getting to heaven!
But, that kind of teaching is false...God is not interested in making people fit to go to heaven and in doing so bring the atmosphere of earth to heaven...He is about making people fit to live on earth and bring the atmosphere of heaven to earth.
The end times version of the Gospel that many of us grew up with is very popular, not because it’s true, but because it’s easy escapism believe-ism.
Jesus is in people and desires working through them to help those around them experience God's love and goodness, the presence God in the here-and-now, and the trans-formative nature of God’s reconciliation...all things that were truly Good News in every respect, without the bad news of the escapism doctrine.
But religion with its end times paradigm caused things to radically go down hill after Darby’s teachings caught on because his alternate version of being a child of God is so much easier to believe.
However, what I’ve learned from the life of Christ and viewing the scripture through the lens of Christ is that the Good News isn’t about escaping the tribulation, nor is it about escaping hell, it’s about transforming people who will fill the earth with His glory so people will experience His Love and Grace. The Good News is an invitation to empty oneself of himself, and to be agents of reconciliation who act as a soothing balm on hurting people.
The message of Jesus was never about escapism. Instead, the message of Jesus was always about the fact that the Kingdom of God has come...and through the salvation that Jesus has provided by forgiving ALL people of their sin and through our repentance to enter in and enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom. Kingdom living is to be a reality in the here and now...not in the great beyond! Instead of teaching leaving earth to go to heaven by a secret rapture escape, Jesus invites us to bring heaven to earth on the way to heaven while we are living on this earth.
This invitation to be the Community of the Redeemed on earth, producing the works of Jesus by Him working through us and filling the earth with His glory so that people will desire to repent, (turn from their selfish way to God's way) is much more difficult than escapism theory. Another factor of the escapism gospel is that hell fear-mongering helps religion to keep people under control and keeps the wheels of religion turning.
The Transformation Gospel of Grace is the Love of our loving Father in action, and IS the GOOD NEWS!.
If you are a escapism end times believer, my prayer is that you’ll be able to break free from that and experience Grace Living, building God’s Kingdom and experiencing everlasting life in the here-and-now.
The Good News was never about escaping this world...the tribulation or hell, but about transforming the Community of Humanity through the Community of the Redeemed living in it.