For those looking for the latest and greatest, the Gospel of Jesus Christ seems old and worn. To many, it is downright offensive. But, is this a new thing?
In this first letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul reminded them that he preached Christ crucified, “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23 ESV). About the same time, Peter, quoting the prophet Isaiah, mentions that many find Jesus to be “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Pet 2:8 ESV).
But what about many of the modern churches in American whose message is more about moralistic therapeutic deism (more on this another time) than Jesus Christ. It seems like many “Christian” churches seem to consider the gospel of Jesus Christ a foolish stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. Why don’t they preach the biblical message of Jesus Christ? Is this new?
I recently shared the following quote with a pastor who is struggling with some church members over this very issue.
“Let the minister of Christ know, I say, that as long as he preaches Christ purely, there will be no lack of perverse persons, even among our own people, who will make it their business to cause trouble in the Church. And he may comfort himself with the thought that there is no peace between Christ and Belial, or between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the Serpent. Indeed, he may rejoice in the trouble he is caused by sects and the constant succession of seditious spirits. For this is our glory, the testimony of our conscience that we are found standing and fighting on the side of the Seed of the woman against the seed of the Serpent. Let him bite our heel and never cease biting; we for our part will not cease to crush his head through Christ, the first to crush it, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Martin Luther, Preface to the Second Edition, “Commentary on St. Paul’s the Epistle to the Galatians” (1538)
Opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ is apparently not new.
I can assure you, however, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not old and worn. As the prophet, Jeremiah writes of the Lord God:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Grace and peace,