Imagine a buffet. See the towering stacks of plates, the orange heat lamps, the steam rising. The freedom to pick and choose however much (or however little) you want. Now imagine modern Christianity. A choice between the many perceived in-roads to salvation. Pick one or a few based on culture, theology and denomination. Do these individual pieces make up the gospel? Absolutely. Can we choose a few and leave the rest? Absolutely not…

You can’t dine at the Segmented Gospel Buffet without a little something from the grill-master. I know you can smell what I’m cooking. Perfectly marbled, impossibly juicy and melts in your mouth. I’m talking about a big fat steak, baby…

Prosperity gospel. We’ve all heard the term. Usually associated with smily pastors in expensive tailored suits. Ooo, double-breasted … fancy. The claim is that since we’re all children of God—and since God owns the cattle on a thousand hills—we get first dibs on all the top notch ribeye in life. Houses. Cars. Jets. Quadruple-ply toilet paper. But the truth is, believers were never promised the privileged cut. In all likelihood, it might be beef jerky from start to finish.

What if—instead of looking for all the ways to make the gospel attractive and acceptable—we focused on what true, spirit-to-spirit communion with God actually means. Not a charmed earthly standard of living for the split second we’re here. But a transformative and deeply personal relationship with our creator. After all, what kind of gold-digging shmuck only stays friends with someone for their cattle… Moo.

If our measure of the gospel’s effectiveness can be quantified in how much we get, how little we struggle, and how easy our lives are, we’re setting our hearts, minds and souls on a prize that’s far too narrow. In fact, the touchstone of the real gospel is dependence on Christ for everything we need. It’s our job to know him.

If the blessings of God mean more to us than the person of God—you guessed it—we’re living a deception called … The Segmented Gospel.