Is Joe Carter Selling Snake Oil?

I saw the post from Joe Carter and the Gospel Coalition floating around Facebook and finally took a gander at it. The title was: How to Change Your Mind, and Mr. Carter opened with these words:

The beginning of a New Year is an an excellent time to try something new. As you make your list of resolutions and goals I want to recommend adding a simple four step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind.

Sorry, but that put me off from the get go. It’s not the making of resolutions, or reading the Bible, as he is advocating. It’s his sales pitch. Whenever I hear of programs, or ministries, or other things put forth that can transform your life, and change your mind, I get very skeptical about those putting them forth because they are promising us what only the gospel can do.

I use to see this terrible mistake in a large church I joined a number of years ago. Every Sunday, they would have a ministry moment where they would trot out some member of the ministry who would proclaim to us how that ministry changed their life. This always seems good at the time, but the message we are sending others is that you just need the right ministry, or bible-reading program and you too can have a changed life.

But alas, the last time I looked, it was the gospel of Jesus Christ that was the power unto salvation. It’s the gospel in which we are to renew our minds, so that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Yes, we can use Bible reading programs to help us. I’m not opposed to that at all, but let’s not couch them in terms that make the program itself sound like the gospel. Programs are not the gospel and never can be. The gospel is never about what we do as Christians, but about what Christ has already done. To say otherwise is nothing more than selling snake oil.


3 thoughts on “Is Joe Carter Selling Snake Oil?

  1. Keep pointing us to the gospel and to Christ, Timothy. This is time well-spent on your part.

    As an aside, I’m not much of a believer in New Year’s Resolutions. If a change is needed in my life, why wait for a new year? We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, let’s do the good works He has given us to do today.


  2. I dislike (hate?) formulas. “Do this and your wife will love you.” “Use this product and your life will be better.” “Take these 12 easy steps to success.” Maybe. Maybe not. They shouldn’t make promises they can’t keep … kind of like resolutions.

    On the other hand, I don’t think it’s the gospel that renews our minds; I think it’s the word of God (see, for instance, Eph 5:26). As such, Carter’s general suggestion to read, read, read the Bible isn’t a bad one. But promising that it will accomplish something (like a changed mind) is questionable to me. Been burned too many times by slick sales tactics.


  3. hi Timothy I sent you a comment a week ago. ******

    I don’t know how to get ahold of you privately Timothy this is the only way I know how to get ahold of you.

    (Edited for privacy concerns. thanks Curt. Blessings)


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