12 essential quotes from Counterfeit Gods by Trevin Wax

What if the biggest threat [to the church] is counterfeit gospels within the church, ways of thinking and speaking about the good news that lead to a gradual drift from the truth of Scripture?
That's the issue that Trevin Wax addresses in Counterfeit Gods. Check out some quotes below:


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The power of the gospel is not in us or our presentation. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to open a heart; strategies, methods, and presentations are merely tools


Ironically, when we live as if our personal story is at the center of our universe, we struggle to find meaning and significance. But when Christ is at the center and we are pushed to the periphery, it is then—in that place of seeming obscurity and insignificance—that we find true worth and value, by giving glory to the crucified and risen King with whom we can become united through faith.


When “God wants me to be happy” becomes the measuring stick for making decisions, we have fallen for a counterfeit. The tragedy of the therapeutic gospel is that it affirms the wrong concepts with the right words. God does want us to be happy, but not in a way defined by twenty-first-century American culture. God’s desire for our joy goes beyond the Happy Meal


Scripture is clear that our biggest problem is not that we feel guilty; it’s that we are guilty. It’s not that we have a low view of ourselves; it’s that we have too low a view of God. Our hearts are not empty. They are already filled with all sorts of cancerous sinful desires that needed to be rooted out. We don’t have depleted hearts in need of a fill-up; we have deceitful hearts in need of replacement


Neglecting or denying the idea of God as Judge changes the story. Without judgment, sin becomes less serious. The implications of human rebellion are downplayed. No longer is human sin considered cosmic treason against our Creator, and the offer of forgiveness loses its power.


It puzzles me that so many people seem to be angry with God for allowing evil and suffering to exist in this world, and yet they are also angry with the idea of God as Judge. You can’t have it both ways. If you expect God to do something about the evil in this world, then you want God to judge


God the Judge has promised to completely wipe out the evil of the world. And yet, He loves us. In His grace, He is the righteous judge and the gracious redeemer. His wrath toward evil is poured out upon His only Son on the cross. Justice and mercy are not at war with one another. They meet at the cross. And we can find both judgment and mercy as good news. We need only recognize our guilt in light of God’s holiness and then bask in forgiveness in light of God’s grace


Christ not only died for us, He lived for us. He fulfills God’s intention for humanity by being perfectly faithful to his Father’s will.


[In response to the question: why does god allow suffering] God does not give us an explanation. He gives us Himself. The cross is God’s answer to our cry.


Because Jesus was filled with horror and cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” we are filled with wonder and cry, “My God, my God, why have you accepted me?” Because Jesus cried, “Father, forgive!” the taunts we hurled at Him on the cross are transformed into praise for His generous mercy. Because Jesus said, “I thirst,” we can drink from the fountain of living water and never thirst again. Because Jesus said, “Woman, behold your son,” and felt the pain of separation from His earthly family, we can experience the blessing of being united with a heavenly family. Because Jesus cried, “It is finished!” our new life can begin. Because Jesus committed His spirit into the Father’s hands, God commits His Spirit into our hearts.


When we share the gospel, we are not just inviting people to try a new religious experience. We are proclaiming news about something that has happened. We are proclaiming truth so radical that it turns upside down all notions of what is generally accepted as possible


The gospel is a story to be entered, an announcement to be proclaimed, and it births a community to be experienced

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