“When psychological needs, rather than sin, are seen as our primary problem, not only is our self-understanding affected, but the gospel itself is changed. A needs theory suggests that the gospel is, most deeply, intended to meet psychological needs. In other words, the gospel is aimed at our self-esteem problem. It is aimed at our tendency to dwell on our failures. It is intended to be a statement of God’s love saying that ‘God doesn’t make junk.’
“This sounds good to us, but it is not the gospel. The good news of Jesus is not intended to make us feel good about ourselves. Instead, the good news humbles us. In Isaiah 6, for example, the presence of God first destroyed Isaiah’s view of himself, then it cleansed him and liberated him from himself and his own sinful desires. After his symbolic cleansing and liberation, Isaiah was freed to be less concerned about himself and more concerned about the plan of God.
“Jesus did not die to increase our self-esteem. Rather, Jesus died to bring glory to the Father by redeeming people from the curse of sin. Of course, the cross has many benefits, one being that we are no longer cast out of the presence of God and we have intimacy with the Holy One. But the cross deals with our sin problem, our spiritual need.”
from When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch.