Today, my mind reflects on how Christians communicate the Gospel with those who do not know Christ. Are we speaking in a clear and straightforward manner, or have we adopted the popular approach of eliminating all uncomfortable confrontation concerning human sin and the righteousness of God? Much of modern Christianity intentionally removes the sharp edges and supplies a smooth, comfortable substitute. It’s “molasses evangelism” — sweet going down but unhealthy when it settles.
While I am not one who operates in obnoxious, unkind “jackhammer-evangelism,” I wonder if it is not fitting that we should aim for some level of felt-guilt in those with whom we share Christ? Are we being unloving if we employ communication which might arouse a dreadful sense of guilt over sin? Is it even possible for someone to come to Christ without experiencing some level of guilt before God and the dread which should accompany it? Can someone be delivered before they sense that they have been enslaved?
Sadly, many soul winners are doing scriptural gymnastics in order to avoid passages or topics which may cause lost people to feel uncomfortable. Great strides are taken not to offend potentially convict-able souls so that the soulwinner may gain their approval, acceptance, and attendance at the next church service. The seeker-friendly, “let’s love them to Jesus” approach preaches a message that is ecstasy to the carnal soul because it constantly echoes that all is well — they are good, God is good, life is good — all they need to do is just believe in Jesus. That was not the message of John the Baptist nor of Christ and His apostles!
In my observation, many Christians and doctrinally sound Baptist churches are running to the extreme of professional, profit-seeking evangelism; they have bitten into the apple of modern-day tactics which bring visible results but little lasting spiritual fruit. They are abandoning the principles of the Bible to follow the latest outreach program and it is creating an even bigger problem — a generation of “saved” lost people!
The Gospel is offensive. It offends the carnal man, but for those of us who have felt the guilt of our sin and turned to Christ for salvation, it is both wonderful and overwhelming. I cannot get over the fact that my sin crucified the Son of God. I deserved to die for my rebellion against God; I was guilty of breaking His holy law! Yet Jesus paid my debt and pursued me in His love to tell me that He offers complete forgiveness and eternal life. His grace is both stunning and unmerited.
Our salvation is not given to us so that we might ignore all sense of former guilt. The fact that our guilt is now gone should create a more fertile ground for gratitude. Those who easily dismiss their guilt fail to show gratitude to God because they were never aware of the enormous charges against them. Does the pardoned criminal fail to compare his current freedom with the memory of his jail cell? Does he not rejoice because the judge has set him free? If you are in Christ, then you have escaped death! Breathe in the fresh air of freedom; but, for the glory of Jesus Christ, never forget the price of your pardon.
This abandonment of biblical evangelism is an undeniable reality of our age, and it concerns me. I’m not a seeker-friendly preacher, but neither am I seeker opposed. I’m seeker-honoring because I love the lost enough to tell them the truth without slick tactics. I’m seeker-respecting because I leave their decision between them and God. I’m seeker-urgent because I leave them with no doubts that there IS a decision that they need to make. Let’s be honest with the lost — they deserve to know the truth!