Like Button

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Scandalous Gospel

Jesus assures us that the world will hate us (John 15:19). Given. Paul says that our Gospel -- our good news -- is offensive (1 Cor 1:18). Why is that?

I can't make sense of it based on the gospel I hear in so many places. There's the "Jesus loves you, so come" gospel. That is warm and friendly and inviting. Why would it be offensive? There is the therapeutic gospel, the "God has a solution to all your problems" gospel. How can that be a bad thing? There is the "God has a wonderful plan for your life" gospel. Okay, maybe that might edge a few the wrong way since it may hint that God's plan is better than yours, but it's not really that bad, is it? So what is it that makes the Gospel an offense? Or, to ask another way, are we offering THE Gospel when we offer these oh-so-comfortable versions?

The "offensive Gospel" has edges no one likes. No one, hearing the Gospel, wants to hear, "Although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." (Rom 1:32) They aren't pleased with well-known passages that say things like "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9-10) Conversely, the world gets upset when a Jeffrey Dahmer repents and we say he's forgiven. That, too, is offensive. Jesus's Gospel would certainly be offensive. He offered "Repent" (Matt 4:17) and "Allow the dead to bury the dead" (Luke 9:60) and "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23) and "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26) This is a scandalous Gospel.

I'm not sure we're doing people any favors by offering them a "friendly gospel". It may be true that "Jesus loves you" and "God has a wonderful plan for your life" and even "God has the solution to your problems" (as long as we admit that "love" may not look like they think it does, God's "wonderful plan" may not be the warm and fuzzy they're expecting, and His solutions to life's problems may not be the kind of solutions most people would think of), but that isn't the Gospel. The Gospel includes "repent" and "surrender" and the warning of Hell. Anything else seems to me to be "another gospel", and you know what the Bible says about that (Gal 1:6-9).

1 comment:

Bob said...

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
the christian world today does not appreciate the deep Mystery of the Gospel. they treat the Gospel as though it were like any other news item. yes Good news. but never the less, just common knowledge. so get the bumper sticker and slap it on the lunch box. NO; the Gospel is for those that have ears to hear. the Gospel is a wonderful mystery revealed by the Holy Spirit; to those He has called (children of the Promise) from before the foundation of the earth. take that to the world and watch what happens....