by Herold Weiss
Having discussed with some seriousness critical topics of interest to Christians who value what the Bible has to say about them, I think it is time for me to take an ironic pen in hand and draw a caricature of the history of the Gospel. Caricatures distinguish themselves by taking a feature and exaggerating it out of proportion. As such, caricatures can be mean, and may give offense to those who see themselves as the victims of someone’s lack of respect for authority, or malicious distortion of the past. On the other hand, caricatures may also be valid ways to call attention to aspects of the truth that are often overlooked, or are distorted in order to promote a particular version of reality. While the appreciation of caricatures requires a sense of humor, once their picaresque dress is recognized they may be the best way to bring to the forefront an issue worthy of serious consideration. In this case caricatures are used as the basis for a thesis about the Gospel.
Thus, with tongue in cheek, I offer my condensed history of the Gospel in twenty five words . . . or more:
The Gospel of Christ was power to do the will of the God who gives life to the dead.
The Greeks made it a mystical philosophy.
The Romans made it a legal state.
The Russians made it an icon paraded for veneration.
The Germans made it a proletarian revolution.
The Spaniards made it a colonial instrument for the subjugation of native peoples.
The Portuguese made it what consecrated their imaginary multicontinental nation.
The Dutch made it the protector of a profitable laisse faire.
The English made it an agent for mercantile empire building.
The Americans made it a financial enterprise for the benefit of shareholders.
The Mainline Churches made it a bourgeois living standard.
The Conservatives made it an idol with traditional authority.
The Liberals made it a cultural monument to be evaluated.
The Fundamentalists made it a divine message that can be manipulated.
The Evangelicals made it the means for a romantic forever-friendship with Jesus.
The Charismatics made it the escape hatch to another world.
The Apocalypticists made it a mystery locked in a safe to which only they have the key.
Throughout history the Gospel of Christ has been in need of being rescued from its purveyors.