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The Great Sin of Trying to Make the Gospel Palatable
by Michael Brown
One of the greatest failures of the contemporary church of America is our attempt to make the gospel of Jesus palatable to lost sinners—our effort to take away its offense, remove its reproach, water down its contents and explain away its standards. In doing so, we dishonor the Lord and contribute to the damnation of the lost. It’s time we wake up and repent of this worldly, faithless approach.
There’s a story I often tell to illustrate the folly of trying to preach a palatable gospel.
A doctor made an amazing scientific breakthrough, perhaps the greatest of all time. He discovered a cure for cancer that was 100% successful, and it worked for all forms and all stages of cancer. Perhaps the most incredible thing of all was that just one dose of the medicine would cure the cancer for life.
The only problem was that the medicine had to be taken in pill form; each pill cost $1 million dollars, the pill was huge and very difficult to swallow, and it left a terrible, bitter taste that lasted for seven days.
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Of course, the research and development team was ecstatic over the discovery, and they met with the doctor, telling him he had to make three simple changes for his breakthrough to be successful: He needed to figure out a way to reduce the cost of each pill so it would sell for $10,000 per dose; he needed to reduce the size of the pill so people wouldn’t choke on it; and he needed to remove the bitter taste.
After two years of hard work, the doctor called the team back, announcing he had succeeded on all fronts. With the new formula he had developed, each pill would cost just $10,000, it would be packaged in a small gel cap, and it would actually have a pleasant aftertaste.
There was only problem. The pill no longer cured cancer!
And that is exactly what we have done with the gospel. We have tried to make the narrow gate wide and tried to make the cross of Christ popular, thinking somehow we would get more people “saved.” But our message no longer saves!
We have tried to make Jesus acceptable to sinners rather than making sinners acceptable to Him…
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