Monday, February 13, 2006

Watered down gospel

I was having coffee with a friend tonight and evangelism came up. Throughout our conversation we realized that as Christians often times we water down the gospel message in order to get the 'sale'. What I mean by that is we offer Jesus and how much he died for you and wants to be in your heart. We talk about the Holy Spirit and his assistance in our lives. We talk about the fathers love almost consuming us with his love. But I think that all too often we set people up for a false pretense of a relationship with God and in essence they get a skewed version of christianity.

We need to be brutally honest with non christians. They need to realize that thier troubles will not go away. They will still be tempted by the same temptations. Life will still be tough and at times suck. What they do need to know is that as they accept Jesus by faith (did you know that there is no place in the New Testiment where people 'asked' Jesus into thier hearts....they accepted him through faith.....interesting) Anyways as we talk about salvation and life with Christ we need to tell people the truth. So many people get siderailed when they pray for salvation, then they go into thier daily life and they get frustrated because the elevated feeling they had is gone and they are back feeling the pressures of life.

There is so much to learn about sharing the gospel of Jesus with people. I do believe thought that if we simply share the "gentle Jesus" gospel we will be setting people up for a false understanding of Christianity.



8 comments:

rene the rugrat said...

http://www3.calvarychapel.com/library/Tozer-AW/PursuitOfGod/0.htm

need I say more

Let Grace Rain Down said...

Very true, thanks for sharing! Oh and thanks for the invite over for supper ment a huge deal.
Blessings!

CWG said...

thanks Rene
LBF 2
It was fun having you over...come anytime

Song of Joy said...

Good post. My husband has said basically the same thing more than a few times. I'm realizing if we emphasize that salvation is 'asking Jesus into your heart' and that's it, a person misses what the heart of the gospel really is.

Leighton was reading the bible with David the other day and found out David's understanding of being a Christian was that he needed to be 'good enough' and that if he wasn't 'good enough', he wouldn't be able to go to heaven. David had no understanding that salvation is through grace by faith.

rene the rugrat said...

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

Matthew 25:41-42

It would appear to me Jesus has given us very specific and objective instructions. Despite everything else if we simply fail to do these few things we can expect to be "cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels"

Song of Joy said...

Rene:

If we zero in on the passage you quoted outside the context of the entire word of God, the motivating factor behind being ‘good enough’ would be fear of going to hell, not love for God. The New Testament writers did not focus on ‘being saved from hell’ as the motivator to follow Christ (although that is what is often focused upon when presenting the gospel today). Following Christ was a response to what He had already done. It was because of God’s unfathomable love for us, while we were yet sinners, while we could do nothing to save ourselves, that we can experience salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9

I believe there are many ways in which the gospel of Christ has been distorted. Painting a picture of always happiness and never suffering is not the true gospel, but neither is the gospel a message of a list of requirements to follow in order to obtain salvation (if you follow this line of thinking, anyone who cannot productively contribute to the kingdom of God cannot be a part of it – that would exclude children, the physically and mentally handicapped, and many elderly people).

Jesus did tell us to care for the poor and oppressed, a theme that runs throughout the New Testament. However, if we emphasize works BEFORE grace, we are creating a new law. If a person does not understand the message of grace, they will end up striving to ‘earn’ their salvation. On the other hand, those who understand that their salvation is a ‘gift of God’, understand they are no better than the ‘least of these’ that Jesus was talking about, and as a result, live lives of gratitude and service to others.

RK said...

Worshipwarrior:

It seems to me that modern x'tians do emphasize works before grace. We first have to believe ancient stories to be true, then accept their central character(christ) into our lives, then continue to live as x'tians, and only then will we receive god's grace(eternal life). As Marcus Borg has said "grace that has conditions attached is no longer grace". True grace should be this - when we die and stand before our Maker he will say to us "you are forgiven, will you join me in my kingdom?"

Roger said...

Read:
A Door That No Man Can Shut - http://whilethereistime.blogspot.com