Do we need to change the Gospel to speak to today’s world?

Feb 26, 2021 by

by David Robertson, Christian Today:

The question was asked this last week: are we preaching the ‘wrong Gospel for today’s world?’ The implication being that we are, and we should change it so that it is more appealing to today’s society. That is the question (or challenge) that Peter Crumpler, former Church of England communications director, asks in his most recent CT article and I’d like to propose an alternative answer if I may because, for a number of reasons, I don’t think we are.

Peter suggests that we should shift the emphasis from guilt to shame because today’s society would resonate better with that. Whereas in the past we spoke about the need to repent from our sins and seek forgiveness from Christ, now we should show people their true worth in Christ and turn them from shame.

From one perspective it’s an attractive proposal. Telling people they are sinners is not attractive and telling them they should be freed from shame because they are worth it is a winning formula – just ask Joel Osteen! As the popular saying goes, Christ came to give us all our ‘best life now’. But is it the Gospel?

Generally it is recognised that guilt is ‘I have done something bad’, whereas shame is ‘I am bad’. Guilt is the wound; shame is the scar and the Bible clearly addresses both. Jesus talks about people being guilty of sin (John 9:41), Isaiah indicates the need for our guilt to be taken away and our sin atoned for (Isaiah 6:7). The Good News of the Gospel is clearly tied up with the fact that we commit sins. That is why Jesus tells us that we are to ‘repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). In fact, Jesus goes so far as to say that if we do not repent, we will all perish (Luke 13;3).

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