Go online or to a coffee shop or somewhere that Christianity is discussed and you may hear what I'm writing about. I call it, because I'm modifying a C. S. Lewis quote, "The Gospel And...". To illustrate what I mean I will quote from "The Screwtape Letters" letter number 25 (in the following quote remember that one demon is writing to another).
"What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call 'Christianity And'. You know... Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform."
In the book the demon Screwtape encourages his nephew Wormwood to do things that ruin a man's faith or when the man obtains saving faith to dilute the potency of his faith. "Christianity And..." or as I would say "The Gospel And..." dilutes one's faith.
Online or in the coffee shop you may hear men and women espousing: "The Gospel and Homeschooling, the Gospel and Military Service, the Gospel and Pacifism, the Gospel and Teetotaling, the Gospel and Stay at Home Moms, the Gospel and Fitness, the Gospel and Conservatism, the Gospel and Liberalism, the Gospel and Shopping Local, etc."
None of the things that come after "The Gospel And..." are inherently bad, in fact they may be good and even Godly things, but they are not to be added to the message of the Gospel. There is nothing wrong with homeschooling or fitness, but they are not the Gospel.
Here's the kind of thing you might hear in the coffee shop or read online from someone who espouses the philosophy of "The Gospel And..."
"He says he's a Christian, but I'm not sure. I heard he voted for Trump."
"She says she's a Christian, but I'm not sure. She sends her kids to public school."
"He says he's a Christian, but I'm not sure. Did you know he's a Democrat?"
"She says she's a Christian, but I'm not sure. I saw beer bottles in their recycling."
"He says he's a Christian, but I'm not sure. He does all his shopping at Wal-Mart."
You might chuckle at some of these, but you might also find one of these statements to be a mirror. Be careful because "The Gospel And..." is no gospel at all.
When we try to add to the Gospel we dilute it. We don't magnify the Gospel by attempting to or mistakenly adding to it our own pet cause. Now, again there is nothing wrong with having some of the convictions listed above, but don't you dare try to make it another hurdle on the way to Jesus. When we install hurdles in front of the cross we act like the Pharisees.
Let us instead imitate the Apostle Paul.
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Christ and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2
Christians, there are standards for our conduct; Christians there are fruits that we're known by, but let us be very careful to not try and make a "The Gospel And..." because the Gospel is already glorious, it alone is what saves us. Let us imitate the Apostles and our Lord not the Pharisees. Have your convictions and passions born out of your study of Scripture and sense of morality but don't lose sight of the main thing. Resolve to keep the Gospel pure today.