We in the west shrunk the gospel in response to an increasingly individualistic, self-centered society. The good news of the kingdom went from a sweeping story of God’s mighty acts, His plan to reconcile all things to himself and restore creation, to personal life insurance. The cost has been enormous. We have more depression, guilt and shame than any other culture.
When we shrunk God and His agenda to fit our culture, we made the gospel unbelievable at some level. If God is so small, how can he really ensure any salvation? So it must be up to me.. my individual performance. This obviously works against grace and produces huge anxiety.
That's good and true stuff.
Len is talking about sin management and goes on to suggest the Christus Victor gospel as an upgrade from substitutionary atonement. Personally, I'm tired of the either/or thing. I look out at the culture of the church and I don't see that our problem is that we preach "substitutionary atonement" too much; we don't really preach it at all, for the "life insurance" thing Len is bemoaning is a distortion, a cheap grace perversion of the real thing.
What is needed as remedy is not swinging from one portion of the gospel for another, but a clear and honest preaching of the whole gospel, the whole glory of the atonement. I have heard this called a "symphonic view" of the atonement. I like that a lot.