When The Gospel Is Marginalized There Is Always An Agenda

Over the past decade a floodwater of cultural change in our country has occurred, leaving a massive impact on the church in America. Twenty years ago, there was a push to address the issue of mercy ministry and evangelism in our churches. Much of this was, no doubt, a helpful corrective to a perceived deficiency in local churches.

Today, the loudest voices speak incessantly about issues related to social justice, intersectionality, and human flourishing. Time will most certainly tell whether this was a needed corrective or a toxic corrosive for the church. Movements and organizations spring up almost as fast as they whither. The leaders of many social and para-ecclesial syndicates wish to influence the church in such a way that the church will embrace the obligations they press on her.

When I sit back and read the deluge of thoughts and opinions online about what the church ought to be doing, I sense a noticeable lack of focus on the Gospel. In the many Twitter rants that recur on a daily basis, there is a discernible deficiency with regard to Scripture and the Gospel. Any intellectually honest assessment of the content of so much that is bandied about on the Internet must necessarily lead to the conclusion that people are bored with the Gospel.

Either they don’t believe that it is “the power of God unto salvation for those who believe,” or they have convinced themselves that the Gospel is simply one among many messages that ought to take front seat in the message and ministry of the church. In either case, the only conclusion we can draw from the fact that the preaching of the Gospel is no longer the center of gravity in the message and ministry of many churches in our day is that people don’t believe the Gospel works. They are not astonished by the glory, majesty, unspeakable greatness of the message of Christ crucified and risen.

Nick Batzig, Are You Bored With the Gospel?

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  1. The author is quite right in his observation (at least it comports with my own experience). Since gospel preaching is a mark of a true church, the lack of gospel noted may be a red flag as to the growing number of false churches. At a minimum it should be an elixir for godly ministers to do a check of their preaching and make sure the gospel has not accidentally slipped to a back pew in their mind.

  2. Proper gospel preaching must begin with law preaching. How are people going to realize their need for a “true” gospel unless they are convinced that they are broken and corrupt sinners? How can someone have a desire to be saved from something unless they see the need for that salvation? And therein lies the crux of the matter. Our culture, generation after generation has been so steeped in secular devices that downplay the sin and corruption inherent in mankind that the concept of eternal salvation has a nebulous impact, if any.

    Seeing this condition for what it is, many pastors and church leaders, either out of fear for their positions or just outright disbelief, turn to those social justice, intersectionality, and human flourishing issues as what their perceive to be the glue that will hold their congregations together, as Batzig points out. Of course, that won’t work in the long run, either. Just like everything else nowadays, we live in a throw away society where people soon become bored with just about everything and scramble for what Horton likes to call “the next big thing.”

    Perhaps Dreher is on the right track when he speaks of the church having to “morph” in a way that allows the few and faithful to cluster together in smaller groups just to survive the future onslaught of paganism.

    • Yes and Amen to your comment about beginning the gospel with preaching the law. I was a 50-something believer since being saved in my teens before I heard the law properly preached with the gospel. I am still learning what this means, still being surprised by the delightfulness of the gospel, continuously amazed at our salvation, and most of all, supremely grateful for our Savior and Redeemer.

  3. George:
    You nailed it. Until anyone realizes their desperate condition under sin, they will have only a superficial relationship to the gospel. The modern church is afraid to confront them with their sin problem for fear of offending anyone. It shies away from preaching the law. Without an appreciation of the severity of the law’s demands no one looks to Christ for salvation.

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