In the first part of this blog reflection (bloglection?) I noted that “I believe that that in some cases the gospel message has become muddled to the degree that resultant “converts” reflect, at best, shallow shadows of true Christians. At worst, they might not even be saved.” How did this come to be? A variety of things seem to have conspired to “mess up” our gospel message. Please not that I’m sure that in most cases the motives involved are pure, but the practice seems off. In some cases ignorance of biblical teaching may be at the root. I’ve discerned at least four reasons might lead us to a muddled gospel message.
- A mindset in churches and church leaders that is numbers conscious to the extreme. When we make growth and increasing attendance numbers, or baptisms, or conversions, or whatever the measure of success we can be tempted to water down the message to get a response or a lot of responses. The tendency can easily become one of subtly changing the message to be more palatable while leaving out important parts of the message.
- A “fast food” society that demands information in small bites, and results in thirty minutes or less. We need to be committed to the “whole counsel” of God and commitment to long-term redemptive relationships.
- A humanism that has infiltrated our theology and practice that leads us to cater to the egocentric “felt needs” of men and women in our culture. An emphasis on therapy may be leading us astray from confronting the real need of man (which is to deal with sin that so corrupts everything). Helping someone through their personal struggles and “felt needs” may be a worthy task, but if that becomes the ultimate goal we may present a message of self-fulfillment rather that divine redemption.
- A “muddling of the means” of salvation, forgetting that it is not men, or methods, or prayers, or activities that save. Salvation is a gracious work of God as he alone can redeem us from our sins.
More to come…