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I would first ask the question, "How is the Gospel presented in the New Testament?" Consider the book of Acts. Not once is a message preached along the basis of "God loves you". The basis, instead, was the fact that we are fallen and in need of a savior (and that God, through his love, gave us one). Certainly one can present such a message in an uncaring and thoughtless manner, and that should never be excused, but what is the reason for tailoring a presentation of the Gospel so as not to offend the non-Christian? It seems to me that any message which has, as its foundation, the fact that someone died for my sins, cannot escape the offensive notion that I am a sinner.
Good points Rusty. I think that the presentation has changed. While we have to present the whole Gospel I see the presentation of hope as being very effective.Many people already know they are not good and really don't want to hear me say it. They do want to know if there is hope in a world that seems hopeless.
Ron,I can appreciate our responsibility to demonstrate hope to the hopeless. My concern has more to do with presenting the Gospel as the means to achieving "comfort", where our culture's notion of comfort runs counter to the Gospel's. In J.I. Packer's Knowing God, he writes, "'Comfort' is of course used here in the old strong sense of that which encourages and nerves, not in the modern sense of that which tranquillises and enervates. The quest for 'comfort' in the modern sense is self-indulgent, sentimental and unreal, and the modern religion of 'I-go-to-church-for-comfort' is not Christianity."
Would agree with that. The gospel is not about comfort. It is about hope! When families are crashing down, people see wars throughout the world. The Christian message must center on Christ who is our only hope, not some prosperity tinged doctrine that is me centered.
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