Posted in theology

Don’t “help” the Gospel

By Elizabeth Prata

The Gospel is simple. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again, ascended to heaven and will return in judgment. That’s it. Repent and believe. It’s simple, but profound. It’s eternally life saving. It’s countercultural. It’s offensive. It’s foolish to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Because it is too simple for some people, or too offensive for others to hear, well-intentioned Christians, even pastors, sometimes tweak the Gospel, change the Gospel, soften the Gospel, in order to “help.”

The Gospel comes out looking like this:

Source for image

We were talking about this in Bible Study at church last night when one of my elders brought this nine-year-old incident up again. The incident happened in 2012 in Spain. The UK Guardian has the story. They are calling the fresco ‘The Monkey Christ‘. Here are excerpts:

There can be little doubt that the woman, identified only as an octogenarian local, was just trying to help when she noticed that the face of the scourged Christ on the wall of a small church in the city was looking a bit faded, and decided to freshen it up a bit. Sadly for her – and Elías García Martínez, the 19th-century artist who painted the mural – her brush skills were not quite up to the job. The unnamed amateur has transformed what was once a pleasant, if unremarkable, Ecce Homo into something that more closely resembles a bloated hedgehog than the image of Jesus before Pilate. The press have dubbed her efforts "the worst restoration in history" and "a botched job", and the Borja authorities fear they are right." Source

She took it upon herself to go ahead and “fix it.” She noticed the fresco was looking a little bedraggled, and since she had previously worked on the tunic a little bit, and without authorization decided to take it upon herself to help the painting along and touch it up.

You see how it came out. The Gospel is a masterpiece of ALL masterpieces. It is perfect the way it is. It needs no help from 80-year old church ladies, or anyone else. It doesn’t need tweaking, fixing, or even hiding. It stands alone as a masterpiece. We’re ambassadors, representing the One who gives the message, charged with repeating the message exactly. Ambassadors don’t take it upon themselves to alter the message, just to present it.

Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us …(2 Corinthians 5:20)

We are to guard the deposit, as we were taught last night at Bible Study-

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:14 ESV).

We are to proclaim it, treasure it, guard it, share it. But not “fix it.”

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

2 thoughts on “Don’t “help” the Gospel

  1. The Chosen “helps”the gospel. I am very troubled by Christians who are supportive of the tv series “The Chosen”. I have a dear friend who clearly believes this series is a good teaching tool, despite its obvious contradictions to scripture. I have not watched and do not intend to. However, I have a critique based on a conversation I had with my friend. She was gleefully telling me all about “Mary Magdalene”, where she apparently hides behind an altar ego by the name of Lilith. I researched this and could find nothing, nada, zilch on where this bit of fiction came from. She also told me that she is portrayed as the same Mary who anointed Jesus with the perfume and that she was a prostitute. I researched this as well, this is a lie from the RCC, who decided this Mary’s sin was prostitution. There has never been any scriptural evidence of this at all. Also, the Mary who anointed Jesus feet, was Mary of Bethany–sister of Lazaras and Martha, at least that is what my research and reading of the scripture tells me. So I am guessing Mr. Jenkins got this bit of fiction from his RCC “expert”. I read another reviewer who quotes Mr. Jenkins “that this series is 95% fiction”. Do the math and that makes it 5% truth. The one other thing she mentioned was how Jesus has to “prepare” for his sermon on the mount, so he can get it “just right”. I truly doubt that Jesus needed to prepare in this way, after all he was able to respond very quickly to those manipulative pharisees who were always trying to trap him into saying the wrong thing, it was the pharisees who always went away from those confrontations as losers of the battle of words. How does this help spread the gospel when it perpetuates the fables from other false churches?

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  2. So well put, Elizabeth. Thank you for this. The example of the touched up fresco of Christ is perfectly descriptive of the touched up Gospel in so many churches today.

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