Necessary Offense

safe_image.phpI recently saw a shocking video of a church group in Missouri being arrested and carted off to jail. To be honest I don’t know the church, the pastor, or any of the details or the circumstances (and context is always key). I did watch the video with interest and at first shock, sorrow, and a little anger. How can this be? How could it be against the law, in America, to stand on the street and plead with people to trust in Jesus Christ? Have we really reached a point in America in which our most basic freedoms are being totally stripped away?

As I have thought about that video and considered the implications of it, a few other “church” groups came to mind. One is from my home town. They are a small group of sincere folks who love the Lord and aggressively believe in the sanctity of human life. While I whole-heartily agree that every child conceived is precious and a gift from God, I fear that the methods these folks use (shock tactics and billboards) create unnecessary offenses.

I know of another church group who has traveled to Salt Lake City in order to share the Gospel with Mormons. This is a wonderful objective! In fact, we have dear friends who choose to live in that region for the purpose of sharing the Gospel and planting Bible churches. The group that traveled to Utah for a couple weeks of “soul-winning” spent themselves standing on street corners shouting, accusing, mocking, and ultimately being an unnecessary offense.

The third group that comes to mind is the church group that protests at military funerals. (I don’t want to give them inadvertent attention so I won’t name them.) Personally, I struggle to find any redeeming qualities or motives in this. It is just offensive. Which appears to be their primary objective.

I understand that the Gospel is naturally offensive. Whenever you talk to people about their sin and the exclusive “one way” to God through Christ, it is offensive to people. The Gospel is the “stumbling block” and Jesus Christ himself is the “rock of offense.” This is the necessary offense. We must never soften the message of the cross in order to appeal to the sensitivities of men. (See John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Peter 2:8)

It is necessary that we offend people. We must inform lost people that they are “condemned already” (Jn 3:18) or they will never understand (by faith) what it means that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).

If we really want to reach people with the good news of the offensive Gospel, then we must learn to avoid all unnecessary offenses. I suggest we try something radical: Be nice.

 

(This article was originally published: HERE)

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