Is It Okay to Spread an Attractive Gospel?
I recently read an article about the dangers of trying to share an attractive gospel. The writer claimed that we spend too much time as Christians today “dressing up” a message that doesn’t need to be dressed up… so much so that the meaning behind the message has been lost. And while he certainly made a few valid points, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it all. So I looked to God’s Word and Jesus’ ministry for answers.
How would you personally define an attractive Gospel? Is making the Good News attractive something we should strive to do as Christians, or should we run from the idea altogether?
There seems to be several schools of thought on the topic:
View #1: The Gospel doesn’t need to be “dressed up.” Churches that try to make it attractive also tend to water it down. They speak only of blessings with little or no repentance.
View #2: There’s nothing wrong with making the Gospel attractive. After all, we need to be relevant to today’s culture in order to reach the lost.
View #3: The Gospel should be attractive to non-believers based on our lives as Christians. If we are living in love the way Jesus commanded, the world should want what we have.
To be honest, I tend to agree with all three viewpoints to some extent. For one thing, the Good News is good all by itself. It doesn’t need to be dressed up with fancy gimmicks. Secondly, we need to be relevant and use the tools of our day to reach people. (For example, Christians today have the internet and are able to reach the masses in ways we never thought possible.)
Lastly, our lives should reflect the love of Christ. The peace and joy we receive as believers should be clearly seen by the world around us. And isn’t that what everyone wants? Peace and joy even in the midst of difficult times?
Jesus made the gospel attractive. How do I know? Well for starters, we know that He spent time with sinners. Think about it this way: sinners wanted to spend time with Jesus. In today’s American culture, “sinners” typically want nothing to do with Christians. They feel judged, uncomfortable, unaccepted, and all around unloved. But the sinners of Jesus’ day didn’t feel that way around Him. They wanted to be near Him.
And since we know that Jesus never condoned their sin, this speaks volumes about how He must have treated them and how He made them feel in spite of their sin.
The gospel Jesus presented was all or nothing. It meant taking up your cross and surrendering your whole life to Him. It wasn’t watered down whatsoever. And while there were some who thought the message of Christ to be extreme, there were others still who wholeheartedly craved what Jesus was offering.
Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. – Titus 2:9-10 (NLT)
Keep in mind that Paul wasn’t endorsing slavery in this passage. He was simply speaking to the reality that many of the first century Christians converts were in fact slaves. Often, they were mistreated; and in spite of being mistreated, he told them to be the best workers they could possibly be. Why? Because it would help to make the Good News attractive.
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I’ve noticed far too many Christians today doing one of two things when spreading the Gospel: They either water down the message to appeal to more people or they shout at the world telling them to repent because they’re awful sinners.
Jesus didn’t use either one of these methods during His ministry.
If we want to make the gospel attractive the way Jesus did, we have to be living examples of what His love can do to change lives.
Jesus loved. He forgave. And He showed us what life was like in His Kingdom. So if we’re going to do ministry the way Jesus did ministry, we have to love. We have to forgive. And we have to walk in the light of our King.
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