The Popularity Gospel is most difficult to explain. In short, the Prosperity Gospel is stated, but not preached, orthodoxy without orthopraxy. It reduces Jesus to the popular kid in high school. Its hard to describe a heresy that creates an idol out of the living God, but this phenomenon is prophesied in scripture:
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NASBThe Popularity Gospel is an artificial image of Jesus that appeals to the masses. It’s often identifiable in those who employ a worldly definition of love when talking about a savior whose kingdom is not of this world. God is all “love” and no wrath. Its favorite verses poll extremely well. We aren’t being saved from sin; we are trusting in Jesus to protect, lead, and bless us. You are good. Jesus makes you better. This diluted gospel accepts worldly premises on goodness, judgment, love, and Christianity as a whole. Its church organizations are mass growth marketing mechanisms. Its sermons are elementary. Its commission is to baptize believers, nevermind discipleship. Discipleship requires critically thinking. With the Popularity Gospel, one just has to sit back, enjoy the entertainment, ambiance, and childcare. Unlike the Social Justice Gospel, the Popularity Gospel is self-sustaining because marketing works, and the masses enjoy being entertained. What I described was the megachurch motif. But often times a church that preaches the Popularity Gospel is in the closet for the others. We like to define discernment as being able to tell right from almost right and the Popularity Gospel is almost right.