THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
THE AUTHENTIC GOSPEL
Today’s reading: Galatians 1:6-12
Evangelization is proclamation of the gospel of salvation
in Jesus. New Evangelization is proclamation of the same gospel,
but ensuring that indeed it is the one true gospel. It is
important to stress this, because through the years many gospels
(or what is claimed to be good news) have been brought forth,
even by clerics.
are some of these false gospels?
is the gospel of prosperity. This proclaims that one is to
just accept Jesus and he will be prosperous, will have his
prayers answered, will be healed of his illnesses, will receive
his heart’s desires. Now if we accept Jesus, indeed
we will be blessed tremendously, including these things. However,
the authentic gospel of Jesus is the gospel of the cross.
In the midst of all the blessings would be persecution and
suffering and pain. The gospel of prosperity keeps us focused
on the humanly pleasurable things, and many end up missing
the spiritual realities that truly count. Indeed, the prosperous
Western world has turned its back on the faith, while poor
persecuted Christians are the ones steadfast in their faith.
is the gospel of liberation and social justice. This proclaims
that the Church’s call and the mission of Christians
in the world is to make it a better place, to eradicate poverty,
to preserve the environment. Now indeed God wants all these,
and the Church proclaims a preferential option for the poor.
But the gospel is not about seeking a socialist utopia, but
rather building the kingdom of God in the world, together
with all the trials and challenges and injustices of life.
The gospel of social justice looks to helping the poor but
on human terms, often neglecting their spiritual formation.
Thus, this gospel proclaims that because there is poverty,
then population should be controlled, thus the acceptance
of contraception and abortion.
is the gospel of humanism and modernism. This in effect proclaims
that man and not God is at the center. What is important is
for man to be happy, to be free to do whatever he wants. This
gospel leads to hedonism, licentious sex, rejection of faith,
and assault on family and life. The authentic gospel of course
speaks of freedom and happiness, but these are always in Christ.
is the gospel of political correctness. We are not supposed
to offend. And since people are offended when they are confronted
by their sin (such as active homosexuality), then we should
not speak out on the matter. This is the church of “nice.”
We are just to be nice, smiling, friendly people, who do not
engage in any talk or action that rubs people the wrong way.
But this is not the way of Jesus. Jesus confronted the hypocrisy
of the Pharisees. He spoke a clear message of sin and the
need for repentance. He clearly told people what was right
and wrong. If we are to be instruments of the New Evangelization,
we need to do the same. We take the posture of Paul: “Am
I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking
to please people? If I were still trying to please people,
I would not be a slave of Christ.” (Gal 1:10).
Many Christians have been blinded by the seductive message
of the false gospels. “I am amazed that you are so quickly
forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for
a different gospel (not that there is another).” (Gal
1:6-7a). Paul is asserting that there is just one authentic
gospel of Jesus Christ, and to reject that gospel is to forsake
Christ himself. A false gospel, no longer centered on Christ,
becomes bad news. Unfortunately, many persons in authority
and leadership, at the prodding of the enemy, “wish
to pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal 1:7b).
are many man-made gospels, but there is only one authentic
gospel of Jesus Christ. It is of divine origin. It is the
only gospel that we preach. “Now I want you to know,
brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.”
(Gal 1:11). Ultimately, this gospel is a revelation by God
Himself, passed on by the Church that Jesus established. “For
I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught
it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
enemy has perverted the gospel. He has presented as good news
what would ultimately lead people away from God and keep them
out of heaven. These perverted gospels come in attractive
packages, proclaimed by eloquent preachers. Even Satan comes
as an angel of light. As these lead Christians away, Church
leaders need to speak strongly against them, just as Paul
did. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should
preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached
to you, let that one be accursed!” (Gal 1:8). For good
measure, Paul repeats himself, as he says he has said before
We are slaves of Christ, we are witnesses of Jesus, our preaching
the good news is divinely ordained. As we respond to the call
to the New Evangelization, let us make sure that indeed we
are loyal to the authentic gospel.