Thursday, July 1, 2010
Not a Truncated Gospel
(Taken from "Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People" by Will Metzger; InterVarsity Press)
How dangerous a half-truth can be when presented as the whole truth! For instance, the truth that God loves sinners is a wonderful part of the gospel. However, if the whole presentation of the gospel rests on this truth, distortion develops. Sinners can relax with the thought of God's love for them and find an excuse to delay repentance. The biblical truth can also be interpreted by non-Christians to mean "Love is God." That is, a human definition of love is substituted and sinners find great comfort in the fact that such love personified will never hurt them or judge them. A biblical truth thus becomes twisted into an excuse for complacency.
But what if the truth that God is love were balanced with God is light? God is pure, holy, perfect. He is angry with sin and will punish those who persist in it. The love of God is now given a backbone. It is seen as a tough love not as sentimentalism. That he can still love sinners and freely offer himself to all who believe becomes astounding news. One good question to evaluate any gospel presentation of God is, "Was the nature of God defined clearly?"
Another example of a half-truth found in much gospel literature is this: "To become a Christian is to become happy, fulfilled, and to live an adventurous and exciting life." But what about the other side of the coin? In evangelism we should also mention the suffering and cost of discipleship.