Saturday, May 30, 2015

Are you not preaching the real Gospel if you're not offending people?

That is a popular notion among some "Conservative" Christians.  Like here.
If You're Not Offending Someone You're Not Preaching The Gospel

That article really doesn't use much Scripture to back up it's premise.  Luke 5:32 I feel is particularly misused there.  The intent there was clearly not to offend sinners but those who thought they were righteous.

The people who were offended by what Jesus and Paul were preaching, were those who thought they were already believers in The God of The Bible.  The Jews in their various sects were the limit of that at the time, but now we have various forms of Christianity that are effectively the same things the Pharisees and Sadducees were, and many of them seem Evangelical.

Yes we are told we will be hated by The World, the Greek terminology there means more precisely the world System (ruled by Satan).  But this notion I've seen from some Baptist preachers that your not a real Believer if non-believers find you tolerable at all is not supported by Scripture.  Joseph was pretty good at making friends in Egypt, his problems there only came when one person liked him too much.

The people of Faith through out the Old Testament that became hated by heathens were not really hated for their faith.  Mordecai wouldn't bow down in-front of an ego-maniac, Daniel and his Friends were the object of envy because the King was fond of them.

Likewise in Acts 16 Paul got into trouble for depriving some greedy people of their cash cow.

Jesus had mixed receptions from Jews, but never once did a Greek or Roman dislike him, Pilate was flabbergasted how much the Priests and Pharisees wanted him dead.

Paul's sermon at Mars Hill in Acts 17 didn't outrage anyone.  Some laughed at it, some were curious, and some believed.  But none were offended.

Now back to the article I linked to.
Jesus didn’t seem to care about the rich young ruler’s feelings when he told him to sell everything and give it to the poor.
I'm really tired of people alluding to this incident from Matthew 19 without the proper context that he asked the wrong question.  That I will be talking about more in a future post.
Jesus didn’t seem to worry about offending the adulteress when he told her to go and sin no more.
I would respect citing this incident from John 8 more if it was about her accusers being possibly offended by realizing they were no better then her.   As for the Adulteress, the fact that he just saved her life pretty much guaranteed there would be no offense.  A good perspective on that line is here.
Jesus didn’t seem concerned about the Pharisee’s feelings when He called them a brood of vipers.
You see there is a theme here, the only people offended by Jesus were those who went around offending others.
Jesus didn’t give Nicodemus other options to being born again.
And Nicodemus was not offended by this, he was merely confused at first.
Jesus wasn’t worried about driving away the multitudes when He commanded them to eat His flesh and drink His blood.
The people who went away didn't understand his message here.

Of course the premise of this rant was that the Truth is offensive.  It will be to some people, but not all people, and it's often those who think they know The Bible but are blinded by tradition that find the Truth most offensive to their sensibilities.

Intricately linked to this is the idea that we shouldn't be afraid of offending LGBT people.  Even putting aside my disagreement with the traditional view of Homosexuality.  You can preach "All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God" without pointing fingers at any specific sins, and yes Id say the same about murder.  Give the message of Salvation, and once they have The Holy Spirit leave it up to the Spirit to direct them in what they do or do not need to change about their lives in their walk with God.

But some people think you have to "Repent" (thinking Repent always means turn from Sin) to be Saved.  That is an error that undermines Faith Alone just as much as denying Eternal Security does.

If the Gospel your Preaching has works in addition to Faith it might be offensive to many people

If the Gospel your Preaching requires repentance it might be offensive to many people

If the Gospel your preaching denies assurance of Salvation it might be offensive to many people.

If the Gospel your preaching says Salvation can be lost it might be offensive to many people

If the Gospel your preaching says not everyone is eligible for Salvation it might be offensive to many people.

But if the Gospel your Preaching is that Salvation is by Grace through Faith alone apart from works lest any should boast.  The only people offended will be those who want to boast.  Maybe the modern world has those people in larger numbers then Ancient times, I don't know.

If someone is offended that they might be be unable to qualify or because they think it's too difficult for them to do it, we've hindered The Gospel which is supposed to be that Salvation is easy, Jesus did all the work.  If your presenting that Gospel in a way that makes it seem offensive, you are doing a disservice to it.

 If someone is offended about the possibility of others getting into Heaven with them who did less then them, then yes it's Okay to offend those people.

My personal family experience is that my Catholic Father is far more offended by my Free Grace approach to Faith then my Neo-Pagan cousin.

2 comments:

  1. While I agree with your overall premise, Jared, I have to take exception to some of your statements, as I did to what you said at Decompose. Here for example you said, "Jesus had mixed receptions from Jews, but never once did a Greek or Roman dislike him." This doesn't seem accurate in light of the mocking and beating the Roman soldiers gave Jesus. They didn't put on the crown of thorns and slap Him and as Him who hit him because they wanted to follow Him.

    What about the Gentiles who were afraid of Jesus after He cast the demonic Legion into the pigs? They begged Him to leave. Offended? Maybe not, but I don't think you'd say they were fans or indifferent. So that would leave, opposed to, as I calculate things.

    Jesus was most offensive to the crowd following Him when He told them to take up their cross daily, that the first would be last and the last first. It was at that point He asked His disciples if they would go away too. The people who had listened to His stories and watched Him heal people did not stick around when He told them what His Messiah-ship would actually look like. Those were not just the priests and Levites.

    In short, the Gospel is offensive to those who don't believe. As you point out, that includes those who think they can do it on their own, but there's a growing number of people who are offended by the "myth" of God and Jesus and heaven and salvation. They don't even think they need to be saved, so there's no works concept, no personal I'll-do-it-myself idea. They simply don't think they need a savior. One of the greatest problem of our culture, I think, is the idea that Humankind is good. So when you tell a person who believes that that instead, they are a sinner, they are offended.

    I really am not sure why you find Mike's post offensive, Jared. He does not believe in works salvation and I don't think what he wrote in that post suggests he does.

    Becky

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    1. The mocking and beating from Roman Soldiers wasn't in response to his message. That's just I suspect they always treated their victims. They were mocking his claim to Kingship without understanding it.

      The people who simply stopped following were not necessarily offended, but they were by far mostly Jewish.

      That post set me off form attitudes I'd been seeing the Church for awhile, like the Pastor I do not like to name. Mike seems fairly like able over all.

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