The Gospel, Not Happy-Talk
Mark Lauterbach's GospelDrivenLife is one of the most consistently valuable personal weblogs in the Christian Blogosphere. Lately Mark has been running a series called "What hill to die on?" Especially for those who call themselves soldiers, that's an an important question, don't you think? This little series of blogposts is full of riches, but I want to draw your attention to #5 in the series.
Here is where all this lands -- are we being clear about the Gospel? That is what is most urgent and I believe clarity on the Gospel brings resolutions to hundreds of other problems. We are often sloppy on the Gospel -- soft-pedaling sin, not dealing with God as the offended party, not speaking of the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sin. All too often I have found the fruit of poor "labor and delivery" -- supposedly new Christians who were clueless about the Gospel.Mark goes on to list important aspects of the Gospel that are often soft-pedaled by earnest evangelists. When Mark says he runs into many Christians who don't seem to know what the Gospel is, well, that's a bitter pill, but I've seen it enough times myself. The Gospel and just any old happy-talk are not synonymous.
BTW, Mark Dever at Together for the Gospel makes a similar point here.
One part of clarity sometimes missed by earnest evangelists, however, is the willingness to offend. Clarity with the claims of Christ certainly will include the translation of the Gospel into words that our hearer understands, but it doesn’t necessarily mean translating it into words that our hearer will like. Too often advocates of relevant evangelism verge over into being advocates of irrelevant non-evangelism. A gospel which in no way offends the sinner has not been understood.Good word!