I just have to say that I'm amazed at what passes for the Gospel nowadays.
I think the words of Paul in II Cor. 11:1-6 would be instructive to us regarding the "accepting" of a "different gospel". So there is something that can be accepted, that can feel good, that can give you all of the goose bumps but not be the real and true Gospel of Jesus Christ. So I ask you, what would that look like? I'm glad that you asked. A couple of months ago, while being a parasite on my wife's facebook account, I saw a post that was shared by a deacon at a church that said we should see the baptism service that took place. So immediately going to the site, I finally watched 2 months later, but found something disturbing. Here is an excerpt from a testimony given by someone who is now a "Christian":
"I had no where else to go, I was looking for something and this is where it brought me."
"...I just had this feeling and I knew that I had to go up there...I was overwhelmed with what I felt...I knew I needed to change my life."
"There was joy and sadness because I had waited so long...I searched for it...I [had] never really opened up my heart...giving up control is very hard but that is where I needed to go, that is what I needed to be doing."
"I would've never said yes, but before I let myself reason w/ me, I said, YES!"
Okay now, let me give a couple of qualifiers, I'm not doubting that this person had a serious encounter with God. But this is what the Gospel often turns into, an ASSUMPTION, not an actual encounter with God through the work of the Holy Spirit where someone recognizes their sinfulness and God's holiness. God turns into, "something", among other things, faith turns into a "me centered" focus that drives all of God's desires. I mean, when I go and see the Grand Canyon, that is awesome, but I don't want to forget my mirror so I can remember who all of God's affections are on. :) Would the above "testimony" be different from the tax collector in Luke 18:13? Should he have said, "God, be merciful to me/myself and I, I need a change and I'm feeling like you could be the one to do it but I'm not real sure what I need to change, maybe be happier?" Exactly.
As I have discussed recently with a friend, faith is your faith, but it is only operative based on the free gift of the grace of God in your life. I can have "faith" in many things and, operate in that faith, but only faith in God is operational by His work through grace. "But God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved." Eph. 2:4-5
So, back to Paul, I think that what he would say to us today is what he said to the Corinthians, "indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things." v. 6b. What isn't plain is, as I said in my last post, the perspecuity of the Gospel, when someone can give a testimony and never, accept when prompted, use the name of Jesus or see the wickedness of their own standing before God, you don't have the Gospel.
Your boasting friend,