I continue to find this crippling misunderstanding among disciples today. It is the notion that to say there are core teachings that make up the gospel, which are absolutely true for all people for all time AND someone knows what those teachings are, instantly makes them arrogant and puts a wall between them and other people.
Instead we have a massive number of people who claim to follow Jesus who cannot – or will not – state what the gospel is. They sound like Mr. Rogers on a field trip to a factory and not like Jesus-followers who have counted the cost and will follow Jesus trhough the gates of hell to rescue the lost regardless of consequences. Many American Christians these days speak as if they are recruiting folks – subtly – for a minimalist, one-world, feel-good club versus rescuing the lost from oppression by Satan and certain alienation from the God who made them.
Lastly, if we cannot – or will not – speak the core teachings that make up the gospel, then our words will not have the power of God behind them. If you remove the core teachings of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament, you are left with “let’s play nice together” as the main goal. Lots of people say that! That’s not unique to Jesus. It sounds like we have no idea what matters, who God is or why anyone really should follow Jesus. Is it any wonder that we don’t get the reactions that the believers in Acts received when they spoke and lived out their faith? As Wolfgang Simson says, often…“The church is not worth being persecuted” because it blends so much with the world around it (Houses That Change The World p. 159).
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