On yesterday's news, a pastor described his church's popular Christmas "attraction" (my words, not his) as being a "non-intrusive presentation of the Gospel." He said his church's program would be a great place to bring non-believers.
I'm sorry, but that just seems wrong.
I am probably being overly critical of this pastor's words and I don't think that he quite realized what he was saying, so my prayer for him is that he just made an innocent mistake in his choice of words. However, these days there is so much emphasis in churches to be "seeker-friendly," which to some degree is a great way to be. But, when we start watering down the Gospel so that people will accept it, we are doing them and the Kingdom a major disservice!! I don't know if you have ever read some of the Bible, but its words are often radical and harsh!
To my readers, please know that I am not in the habit of attacking pastors. I am sure this pastor was well-intentioned, though maybe slightly misguided. However, I am in the habit of pointing out "false advertising" and bringing the Truth to light. The words he chose were totally false... there is no "non-intrusive" way to present the Gospel. The Gospel - from the prophets of God who proclaimed a coming King to the dying Lamb of Heaven who bled and died on the cross and rose again - is the most intrusive story ever told.
God's workmanship is so intricately designed that He knows and sees everything. In one of the most famous Psalms, we read that God's knowledge of us is intimately invasive. "For you created my inmost being... When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body." (Psalm 129:13, 15) I don't know about you, but I don't think anyone has ever seen my "inmost being." In fact, I'm not even sure I know what that is! But, God knows... because not only has He seen it, but He also created it.
God's love is powerful and compelling. To describe His greatest act of love - sacrificing His son to pay for the weight of the world's sin - as "non-intrusive" is like a slap in the face. The miracle of Jesus' birth is nothing to scoff at, either - what an incredible plan! And Jesus' birth wasn't just an afterthought... like God said, "Hmph. These people have been suffering since the creation of earth. Oh! Hey, I know... I'll send town a teeny tiny little baby to be the Savior of the world. That'll work." NO! God's plan was practically an ancient one by the time Jesus was born!! For hundreds of years, prophets were foretelling the birth and life of Jesus with specific, God-breathed details.
The Gospel, at its core, is personal and uncomfortable. To think that the God of the universe had such an audacious plan for His creation and to know that part of that plan included me and you - that's mesmerizing. Not that we should be screaming the Gospel in people's faces from the street-corners, but we also shouldn't seek to hide the harsh reality of the Gospel and only present the flowery details. The Gospel is full of grace and compassion, but it is also full of Truth - and as we all know, sometimes... the Truth hurts.