(used with permission)

There is a church in my town which features inspirational speakers, although they never mention sin or salvation through Jesus Christ. Sometimes they seem to say that we are actually gods. What, someone asks, do I think of that?

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The Bible informs us that there is one true God, who made all that exists, including our own human kind. Nature is not God and neither are we. We are mortal, dependent creatures, who exist at God's will, through his power and by his grace. Although we consist of earthly elements, we bear the divine image. Yet from Adam forward, we humans have denied our mortal limitations and coveted the place of God. Like the mythological Icarus, who shaped wings of wax in order to fly, then perished when his wings melted as he flew too close to the sun, the destruction that inevitably follows pride finally underlines the unyielding mortality which is our true lot. God is God, and we are not.

John's Gospel tells us that the divine Word became flesh and lived among us in the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. In Jesus, God became a human mother's baby, to make us humans children of God. In him, Life was put to death, to destroy Death itself and to give us dying people life. In the risen and ascended Jesus of Nazareth, the dust of the earth sits on the throne of the universe. By acknowledging what we are and who he is -- and building our lives on those truths -- we can become more than we yet have been but all that God intended for us to be.

The church you mention probably has many good things to say. Its messages likely encourage people to strive for excellence, offer a lift during times of discouragement and stimulate self-improvement through positive thinking. Those are worthwhile goals. But they are not what Jesus is about, and they ought not to be confused with the Christian gospel. This church has a right to do its own thing, but it misleads the public if it claims to be Christian or to teach the message of the Bible.