Wednesday, August 17

The Gospel: Cool, or Glorious?

One of the most persistent issues in my Christian experience over the last fifty years has been the presentation of the Gospel as if it were a popular, cool thing to be saved. It has been pervasive in America. What I couldn't have known (until years later) was that someone like A. W. Tozer saw this way back in the pre early 60's! In my naivete, I imagined that those were the "good ol' days" and that only in subsequent years did such an attitude arise! Guess I was wrong. I suspect such an approach would be inevitable in a consumeristic culture, where everything draws it's value from it's ability to pad the coffers of it's owner with yet one more toy. That God would save anyone is a most salutary blessing, bar none! But that somehow doesn't seem to be enough to many in gospel churches these days. See if this doesn't ring true in our culture.    

But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness and handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. --2 Corinthians 4:2

Here again is seen the glaring discrepancy between Biblical Christianity and that of present-day evangelicals, particularly in the United States....

To make converts here we are forced to play down the difficulties and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those who accept Christ. We must assure our hearers that Christianity is now a proper and respectable thing and that Christ has become quite popular with political bigwigs, well-to-do business tycoons and the Hollywood swimming pool set. Thus assured, hell-deserving sinners are coming in droves to "accept" Christ for what they can get out of Him; and though one now and again may drop a tear as proof of his sincerity, it is hard to escape the conclusion that most of them are stooping to patronize the Lord of glory much as a young couple might fawn on a boresome but rich old uncle in order to be mentioned in his will later on.

Born After Midnight, 17.

Now, what remains for us to do is to repent of such a bowdlerizing of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and present it as it is presented in the New Testament, warnings and all. Need it be reiterated that God knew what He was doing when He gave us the crucified Jesus? Have we not yet learned that man is missing more than he imagines, not the least of which is a clear perception of what is truth? What was needed was good news that cuts through our world, and conquers our sin, not one that blends with it or sugar-coats it. We don't need another toy! We need the joyous victory over sin and self that can only be accomplished by the RE-creation of our souls by the atoning work of Jesus Christ. That's glorious!

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