Paul wrote this letter in response to some who were promoting a different gospel (1:6) than the one he presented at a previous visit to this area.
Are there other "gospels" being promoted in our culture today?
How can they be recognized?
What distinguishes the gospel of Christ from these other gospels?
Before I begin to discuss the other “gospels” being promoted in “our” culture, I would like to discuss the cultural tension that scripted and introduced the different gospel to the Galatians, in order to form a parallel to today.
According to anthropologist Dr. Kraft, the early believers were Jewish, who believed that the cultural context in which they received the Gospel was to be normative for all others. Meaning that if one was to come to Jesus, he or she must also convert to Jewish culture and customs as reflected not only in the book of Galatians, with respect to circumcision, but also in Acts. An example in Acts 15.1 reads:
1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved."
If the culture problem appears to be of lesser importance than the concept of works versus faith, a closer look into history might be interesting.
In my anthropology class in APU we discussed a bit of the history through Dr. Kraft’s notes. He says, the Protestant Reformation was the discovery that God could love people who spoke German and worshipped ways in German ways. This community did not convert to Roman Language and customs. Kraft describes the use of the English Language and custom as “part of the Anglican break with Rome” (Kraft 2) Furthermore when Wesley the theologian, stepped away from Anglicanism, it was greatly in part in regards to the fact that God accepted the common people of England as they were culturally.
Returning to our letter writer, Paul; Paul went against the current and chose to live like a Gentile, when working with those communities. This was important, so that they would not get confused and “believe God’s message was about culture change” (Kraft 2).
Now, to answer those questions. I believe the other "gospels" being promoted in our culture today relate closely with the works a particular culture and their worldview. The book Hidden Worldviews by Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford, describe eight Worldviews that pertain to American culture and subtly undermine the message of the gospel. ( I read this book last semester). A point Wilkens and Sanford state in the beginning of the book is that often most worldview let Christian readers off the hook easily, because they agree with all the flaws of the other worldviews and conclude that “their faith faith remains untainted by...