Conrad Gempf over at Not Quite Art, Not Quite Living makes a very strong case that the blunt truth of the Gospel isn’t meant to be massaged and done up with daisies so that it is palatable. It’s not a politically correct message and never will be. Moreover, the Holy Spirit fills the Gospel messengers not only when they are received, but when they are rejected!
Here’s an excerpt:
The early Christians’ idea of being missional wasn’t about shaping the gospel in a way that made sense to everyone and conformed to their culture and expectations. The early Christians’ gospel conformed to Jesus. And Jesus was about provoking a decision: are you for him or against him?
As always, read the whole thing!
We’ve been talking quite a bit about issues confronting men this last week. I noted that David Morrow over at www.churchformen.com is looking for ways to masculinize the Church. I think what Conrad points out nails it: you don’t “pansy up” the Gospel. It’s an in-your-face, take it or leave it message. If our churches were less concerned about keeping every last wishy-washy, never-will-get-there slacker who darkens the sanctuary, maybe we’d get back to preaching messages that appeal to men, messages that ask something of the hearers, messages like, “Choose this day whom you shall serve.” We may lose even some of the people we thought we had, but at least we would know that the dross had fled and the gold remained. Then maybe we could actually get something done for God.
A half-hearted message is no message at all in the Kingdom of God.
Update: Conrad hits another homer with his follow-up post asking for whom the Church exists. Great, great stuff and definitely needed to be read by everyone.
9 thoughts on “The Gospel’s Only Choice: For Him or Against Him?”
The other end of this double-edged and decidely sharp criticism of the deplorable state the Church is in, in terms of identity, is the name of God.
Do we ever hear our public/political Christian leaders refer to the “Lord Jesus”, or “Lord Jesus Christ” when, say, praying in public for this or that?
Nah — “God” isn’t an offensive name to anyone, really, be they Muslim or Jew or Kalthumpin-Whatever. “God” is a catch-all-offend-no-one term which is so comfortable and synchrotistically acceptable, it offends no-one.
It gets worse whe you hear Christians speak of Allah as one and the same as our Lord Jesus, because Allah is the familiar “God” term to muslims, and Jesus is “God” (too).
According to the Koran, Allah had no son!
Time we gave some respect to our Lord Jesus and took the courage to proclaim him as the one and only Saviour of the world. It is only by his NAME that we can be saved.
Nice one Dan. Thanks.
The Catholic Church is getting ready to tackle this exact issue. It looks like the new pope is going to do some house cleaning (and I pray he does!) I hate to lose christians of any denomination, but if we don’t start taking a tougher stance on the faith you have seen what has happened…
Just a warning for those who may disagree with this post…The Catholic Church is not #1 in child abuse…we are #3…Independent Ministers are #1…I was stunned to discover this! I am not stating this to say see we are only #3 we shouldn’t even have one case! I used it to point out to my protestant brothers in sisters in Christ that when you don’t keep an eye on who really believes what they say they believe you can pay a painful price…I pray we all clean up…I don’t want my protestant families to learn this lesson the way we did recently!
I hope we lose no-one, but I am afraid of the cost if we don’t start being Christians, instead of weekend warriors, we are going to have a lot of explaining to do to our Lord and God.
Great Post Dan!
The Holy Spirit only establishs the word of God. The churchs will have the amount of word they preach, no more no less. If the Lord doesn’t build the church, they labor in vain. We want God? Preach the word, not the part we like, all of it. Those things that offend us at this time, will bless us for eternity.
you know what’s wild? while the people of this world are spreading porn, and sex tapes.. .. we, as the beautiful bride of Jesus, aka the Church are not only encouraging each other… but teaching, being taught so that we can stay walking on this straight and narrow road! thanks so much dan for sharing your experiences and wisdom! keep pressin on brother!
– christina kim
Amen, Dan. I like the work you quote—Conrad is one of my most favorite bloggers. I also liked the graphic. As I recall, it’s from a CCM album cover of the early 1980s. Was it Keith Green?
Us old guys know our classic CCM from the 1970s, don’t we?
I don’t know if I’m violating a copyright by my scan of my old LP of Keith Green’s No Compromise (the best CCM album of all time, IMHO), but I’ve long wanted to showcase Joe Zucker’s fabulous graphic on my blog since that image is my favorite album cover art (Christian or otherwise) of all time. Makes a great statement, too.
That’s one thing I miss in LPs; the format made for large graphics that let designers and artists really show their stuff. A four inch square CD cover just doesn’t cut it!
You got that right! (In my day we had vinyl LPs — with really awesome artwork!
A “take it or leave it” message? Well, when it’s delivered by people who portray their arrogant contempt for their fellow humans as something noble, Biblical, and true to the Gospel, then I’ll leave it.
If you truly want to reach out to non-Christians like me, I am more than willing to say that you don’t have to pretty up the message or change your beliefs to suit me so that I’ll join in. But you sound like Bush: “You’re either with us or against us!” You are making Christianity adversarial and warlike by declaring that those who don’t believe what you preach can just get lost, kicked out in the “housekeeping.” And as much as you want to believe otherwise, Christianity is not a war. If it were, then Christ would be the Prince of War, not the Prince of Peace.
You can preach a clear, unadulterated, and undecorated message with kindness. Frankly, you’re not doing that. You aren’t inviting people to Christ. You’re demanding that they conform. You aren’t teaching. You’re lecturing.
Thank you for reinforcing my decision to stay as far away from Christianity as I can get. And if I am condemned to the hell your God so lovingly created, then I would prefer to spend an eternity there than 5 minutes in any religion represented by sanctimonious, self-serving people like some of the ones I’ve read here. And don’t bother to tell me how happy it makes you to think of me in hell. It’s already abundantly clear, Christian.
I remember that picture…wasn’t that from a Keith Green Album or newsletter!