7 Counterfeit Gospels

Counterfeit gospels are ways we try to justify and "save" ourselves apart from the gospel of grace. Paul Tripp, in his book, How People Change, identifies 7 counterfeit gospels (the quotes are mine):

  1. Formalism. "I faithfully participate in our church meetings. I'm judgmental and critical of those who are not as committed as I."
  2. Legalism. "I live by the rules I create for myself and for others. I'm upset with those who don't live up to the standards I set for them."
  3. Mysticism. "I constantly need an emotional experience with God. If I don't feel it, I'm discouraged."
  4. Activism. "I live for mission and I expect others to live for mission. I need to fix those who are not missional."
  5. Biblicism. "I'm critical of those who don't know the Bible well."
  6. Therapism. "I view hurt as a greater problem than sin, and I view Christ as more Therapist than Savior."
  7. Social-ism. "I replace fellowship with fellow Christians in church with fellowship with Christ himself."
I think that we default so easily to one of these counterfeits because of our sinful inclination to always depend on something else other than Jesus. We depend on our faithfulness, our rules, our feelings, our mission, our church, etc, more than Jesus, often without realizing it. The evidence is that we get quite angry and defensive when our counterfeit gospel idols are pointed out.

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