Identifying a Man-Centered Gospel

 So how does one distinguish between a man-centered gospel message and a God-centered gospel message?

Let me identify four factors that I have noticed.

1.  Man-centered messages focus entirely on man.

Man-oriented messages are all about man.  The messages begin with man, continue with man and end with man in mind.

The preacher of a man-focused message will often be heard saying something like this:

            “YOUR destiny awaits YOU.”

            “Discover YOUR purpose.”

            “YOUR harvest is coming.”

            “Be all YOU can be.”

            “YOU deserve better.”

2.  Man-centered messages are works oriented.

These messages talk about what you must do in order to be happier, healthier, better or richer.  These messages usually have a few principles you must practice or several rules you must obey or many things you must do.

I know how works-centered messages can be tiresome because I used to preach them.  I would often grow weary of all the things I had to manage or to do in order to live this way.

3.  Man-centered messages are usually topical in nature.

Most of the time when a preacher is communicating this type of message he will use a sentence or phrase in the Bible to start his message, and yet never return to the Bible to complete what he is teaching.  The Bible text is a starting point.  What is said after that is typically non-biblical in nature.

Not all topical messages are man-centered.  The converse is true: not all expositional messages are God-centered.  Yet I find most man-focused preachers are very topical in their delivery.  Topical messages give the preacher freedom to veer from the text and to say what is more in line with his opinion than with God’s word.

4.  Man-centered message often center more on the messenger than on the message.

In more times than I can count, most man-centered messages are delivered by man-centered preachers.  Every preacher must wrestle with his own ego in the delivery of each message.  I have more than a few times talked more about myself than about God in my own preaching.  Soon after doing that the Lord has corrected me.  It has been my experience that man-centered messages are based on the experiences of the man delivering the message.

I would be interested to know if you have any insight into some of the common traits associated with man-centered messages.  If so, please share them with us.


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