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THE GOSPEL IS OFFENSIVE


There is something about the gospel that is inherently offensive. I don’t like saying that, and you may not like hearing it. But it is incontestable. The gospel puts some people off.


Take David and Roland, two high school friends of mine. David was what you might call a nominal Christian, by which I mean he was a Christian in name only. He and his family belonged to a church, but you wouldn’t exactly call it the church they went to. It was more like the church they stayed away from.


One time, just to get David to go to his own church, I went with him. For him, the faith was inessential, at best a nicety. If he ever even thought about what churches are for, he might have said, as others have, that they’re there simply to "hatch, match, and dispatch." The church is nothing more than a place to get baptized, married, and buried.


My other friend, Roland, was not nearly so amicable in his estimation of the faith. He considered himself an agnostic, and not only did he think that religion was inessential; he considered it to be dangerous. For him, the faith was intellectually indefensible. He could see very little evidence for the existence of God and much evidence against it. I spent I-don’t-know-how-many evenings composing letters that I would give to Roland the next morning, in hopes that I could persuade him of the truth of the gospel. I never did.


Both David and Roland found the gospel to be offensive. For David, Christianity was simply inconvenient. It seemed much too restrictive in its demands. It was an irritant that threatened his independence. It was a commitment too costly to make. It was an uninviting path.


For Roland, the offense was different. Christianity was philosophically inconsistent. He couldn’t match up its claims with his coveted rationality. He found the Bible and it system of beliefs to be beneath him intellectually. I was unable to persuade either David or Roland of the truth of the church’s creed. Like many others before and after them, they found the gospel to be offensive. And they rejected it.

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