Representing the Gospel

When we preach, we are representing an absolutely glorious gospel!  I was just emailing with a friend in another country who made the observation that in some cultures preachers entertain people to death, while in others they bore people to death.  So true.  So wrong.

The preacher is representing a message from a communicating and wonderfully gracious God, and it is a message of great news.  Here are some ways that we might fall into a false representation:

1. Boring news.  If we ponder it for half a minute, we should repent of ever boring people with the message of the Bible.  How can we take such a magnificent message and make it boring?  If it doesn’t even keep our preaching from being dull, it can’t be that good, can it?

2. Restricting news. If we really read the New Testament carefully, we should never come across as if the gospel is the good news of life restricted.  It sets people free from slavery to sin to know life to the full.  Certainly there are costs involved, perhaps even our lives, but if the preacher looks like all life has been strangled out of them, what does that represent?

3. Angry news. If all the preacher offers is a visual representation of the wrath of God through their demeanor and expression, might that indicate that they don’t know the God they preach about as well as they should?  Christ attracted the broken, he didn’t scare them all away.

4. Silly news. If the preacher has to act like a clown to get the attention of the listeners, I suspect there may be a problem in the content of the message.  If the preacher has to be a sophisticated entertainer, then I still suspect there may be a problem in the content of the message.

5. Illogical news.  If I can be honest, some preachers almost convince me that the atheists are right.  It sounds like everything is about a petty creator judging well-meaning people for the smallest of sins with the greatest of torture, but its okay because we just need to say a magic phrase to get a ticket to paradise.  Sometimes the gospel just seems illogical, and…

6. Flimsy news. If I can continue from the previous point, sometimes the message just seems so lightweight that it doesn’t seem to stand up to listeners questions, let alone any real scrutiny.  Is the simplistic and self-centred gospel really what so many have given their lives for?  Were they burned at the stake for something so flimsy?  Surely not.

7. Tired news. If listeners are not stirred by the gospel, it should be because they are blinded by the god of this age, not because it isn’t stirring.  Christians listening should be responsive, and if they are not showing some indication of how great the news is, perhaps that shows the preacher hasn’t really represented the gospel well.

What would you add?

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2 thoughts on “Representing the Gospel

  1. Great list! Interesting how the “news” element should counteract all these counterfeit styles. If it’s *really* an announcement of something ever-new – something earth-shattering that’s happened in Jesus – something direct from the triune God – how could it ever be boring, restricting, angry, silly… If we’re falling into the boring, flimsy, tired thing – perhaps we need to remember that we’re heralds!

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