I just returned from holidays and am lining up some content for the following weeks. In the meantime this is what I've been reflecting on lately.
Sometimes I feel like we’ve simplified the guts right out of the gospel. In our effort to communicate something of the good news to the people God puts in our lives there is a temptation to gloss over the demands that the gospel makes on anyone who embraces it. As Paul tells us in Romans, the only reasonable response to the gospel is to present our whole selves to God. Anything less is not enough. I’ve been reflecting on this recently on my own blog and evaluating my own presentation of the gospel to those God has given me to love.
There is a certain danger in missing this important part of the gospel. That danger is that eventually those we share our gospel messages with will catch on to the actual cost of the gospel. It is helpful at this point to note that Jesus never sells it short in the gospels. All that talk about taking up our crosses is not about lapel pins. More and more often I am running into Christians who feel that Christianity did not turn out to be what they were told it was – and tragically they have invested many years into something that just does not work. In the worst of these cases the folk have given up on their faith, or at least in the institutions that should be life giving to their faith. The best cases end up with folk finding new ways of taking the gospel’s claims serious. While any misrepresentation of the gospel is tragic, I think the lesson we can learn is that we need to find better ways to communicate the gospel in its entirety.
John Wimber once said that a faulty gospel produces faulty Christians. Such an insight should cause us to always be vigilant as to the content and character of the gospel we preach. Let’s face it, we do not always get it right and different seasons bring out different aspects of the gospel. Our responsibility is to take seriously the need to continually reflect on and refine our understanding of the gospel. This is a serious charge we have been given. I personally think that this is now a season where God is calling us to consider the cost of the gospel and make that part, once again, of the content of the gospel we share with the people God leads us to.
Frank Emanuel, Freedom Vineyard, Ottawa.