In this series I have been developing the basis for my concern for the integrity of the Gospel. In this my final post I will summarise my thoughts.
On the one hand I am seeing a distinct tendency among some evangelists to present just a part of the Gospel message. Salvation is often portrayed as a passport to heaven or a get-out-of-hell-free card. There is little or no explanation of who Jesus is, what He has done, and how people are to respond to Him and his Gospel. All the recipients of the ‘good news’ are often asked to do is accept Jesus into their hearts, say a ‘sinner’s prayer’, or even just put up their hands. All of this seems to take its lead from Romans 10:13 which reads, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” However, that very text continues in verse 14 with, ‘How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?’ This is the question which troubles me so. Surely the good news of Jesus must be articulated so that people may know the one they need to believe in? Of course the Holy Spirit could take even the speech of a donkey to communicate but we cannot, with integrity, claim that because of this we do not need to articulate a clear and complete Gospel message. Where is the validity of inviting people to receive salvation if they have no understanding of who Jesus is, what He has done for them, and how He requires them to respond?
Our churches are filled with nominal ‘Christians’, men and women who show little commitment to Jesus, little if any spiritual growth, and almost no desire to proclaim the Gospel to others. This is little wonder if in fact so many come into the Church without first being born again of the Spirit of God! And how are they to be born again if they do not REPENT – ACCEPT – ASK – RECEIVE – and CONFESS?
On the other hand, I see many people who have grown up in a Christian environment, but who have never received new spiritual life in Jesus name. They know the language, rights, and rituals of the church, but they do not evidence spiritual life and growth. Again, little wonder if they have never been born again from above.
I am not making judgements here concerning the worth of individuals, and I do not presume to know their inner thoughts or how they may have related to Jesus in their lives. I am just deeply concerned! I am concerned that, generally speaking, the church appears to be in trouble, and I suspect that a big part of the problem is that it consists to a large measure of unregenerate adherents to the Christian ‘religion’ but who lack spiritual life. I am equally concerned that many of those who assume the role of evangelists preach an inadequate Gospel that is in effect no Gospel at all.
I am aware that I am generalising and that I am perhaps also overstating the case. I do this in order to make the point with as much impact as I can. However, you be the judge of what I say. Do you share my concern, or do you think that generally speaking the Gospel is being adequately and faithfully proclaimed?