Gleanings – Jesus Is Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

1 Peter 2:1-10

“A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall.”

The Gospel drives and draws. In a world where everyone wins a trophy this is hardly acceptable and indeed an offense. We like to teach things that we think are universal in their acceptability. Certainly we don’t want to teach something that has the power to exclude. And so we struggle to teach and preach Jesus. Why? Because he drives and draws!

A fellow blogger, whom I admire greatly, is taking a beating for suggesting church discipline is a vital and necessary component to the Christian life and that in the absence of it more destruction, pain and sorrow follow. Consequently, he would say, we should not shrink back from exercising it. In response some howl saying how presumptuous and judgmental discipline is as are the people who would dare to exercise it. This blogger rightly points out that their problem is not with him but with the Bible, specifically Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5.

No one is required to believe and/or practice what is in the New Testament. But you cannot change what it says. You cannot dismiss, even soften, the truth that Gospel drives and draws, that some hear it and embrace it while other runs from it like it is the plague. Some follow. Some fall.

This is a problem with attractional models of church. We try to make universally attractive what is wonderfully attractive to some and utterly repelling to others. This is a slippery slope because we might so accentuate the positive to the exclusion of the negative so as to make the Gospel something other than what it is. We are stuck then with half the Gospel or Gospel light or engaging in a bait and switch in which we must tell the people that we did not tell them all the essentials at the outset. We should not be surprised if they doubt our integrity. When we accentuate the positive to the exclusion of the negative we have stopped “spinning” and started deceiving.

Let’s own the dichotomies from the outset. Jesus is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Greeks. But he is the power of God to those called to believe. He makes some stumble and some fall. Let’s live with it and resist the temptation to make the Gospel something it is not, specifically universally acceptable. Some will never accept that they are sinners. Others will never accept that God’s mercy extends even to their undesirable neighbor.



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