The Director’s Corner (Written)
Ashamed of the Gospel?
It doesn’t take much observing people or many nights watching TV to discover that we’re not in very good shape. Hardly a day goes by when I’m not reminded of our total depravity and self destructive motives. Worse still this attitude isn’t just present in the world but it has been given a place of authority in our churches. Vindictive church leaders and vicious church members act more like wolves than sheep, the thief than the good shepherd. The men of the church would rather debate football than lead and the children get spiritually starved and eventually turn away from the church.
It’s true that Paul promised Timothy these things would happen (2 Tim. 3:1-9). But there’s a reason he followed this message with the hope of scripture (3:10-17). Paul knew the world would turn against God, he knew that some in the church would give up the example of Christ. But he still wants the young pastor to show himself as “a workman approved by God, not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ” (2:15). He wants the young pastor of stay strong in the faith, staying with his upbringing in the Word and Spirit of God (2 Tim. 1:3-18).
But today, in a world where Rob Bell and Brian McClaren are popular, where Hell is just a burn pit outside of Jerusalem and we serve a God with no backbone I have to ask the question; Are we ashamed of the Gospel? It would certainly seem that way, we have pastors teaching seeker friendly “Cookie-cutter” religion that requires you to attend church and be nice to others. Who tell us we don’t have to change anything, but that we are already perfect, apparently in our blatant sin. It would seem that way, as I’ve watched my own denomination decide to endorse something that Paul calls a product of our Depravity (Romans 1:24-32).
But yet, like Thomas Jefferson before us we like to take the things from the bible that offend us. Romans 1-3 can’t be true, Jesus never told us to love our neighbor or our enemies. These things were meant for a different time right? Wrong, as Christian Dashielle once pointed out to our Spiritual Formations class “you can’t have the good news without the bad news.” Meaning how can we truly understand the good news of the Gospel of Christ without the bad news? We can’t, without some reason to save us Christ wouldn’t have had to die, if there was nothing wrong with us then we wouldn’t have needed a perfect sacrifice.
The gospel is offensive; I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s offensive to me, sometimes I can’t read it because I know I fall short in what I’m reading. I’m not perfect in love, as hard as I try to be Holy I’m not sometimes. There are times I engage in foolish talk, there are times when I still want to couple the old life with the new life (Eph. 4:17-5:21, Col. 3:1-17, Romans 1-8). Sometimes I find it offensive that not everyone will be saved (Romans 9). But that doesn’t mean I should be ashamed of it that means I should rejoice because the word is doing what it was meant to do, “Dividing soul and spirit, Bone and marrow” (Heb. 4:12b).
To me, the offensive stuff is something to rejoice in if only because it makes the good news of Christ’s Death and Resurrection more incredible and God more praise worthy. To think that God has saved and is saving me from those things simply because He loves me amazes me, it’s not something to be ashamed of, its something to rejoice in.
Yet we mistreat the word of God; we throw it by the wayside and only take out the things that are comfortable or non-offensive. We prefer Rob Bell over Paul, Brian McClaren over Jesus. Demeaning and discrediting the astonishing work done by Christ on the cross, not by a Christ without a cross.
So I challenge you to think, are you ashamed of the gospel? Paul tells the church in Colossae to “Let the word of God dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Col 3:16). We can’t teach or admonish others in “All wisdom” if we don’t know all wisdom and scripture is the source of that wisdom, but it must be taken as a whole and that means the offensive stuff. We must seek to understand, let the Holy Spirit work through it. Then we can honestly say that we have presented ourselves as approved workman who are truly unashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
All Scripture used is from the ESV