Is It Okay to Spread an Attractive Gospel?

I recently read an article about the dangers of trying to share an attractive gospel. The writer claimed that we spend too much time as Christians today “dressing up” a message that doesn’t need to be dressed up… so much so that the meaning behind the message has been lost. And while he certainly made a few valid points, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it all. So I looked to God’s Word and Jesus’ ministry for answers.

 

Is It Okay to Spread an Attractive Gospel? | alyssajhoward.com

 

How would you personally define an attractive Gospel?  Is making the Good News attractive something we should strive to do as Christians, or should we run from the idea altogether?

 

There seems to be several schools of thought on the topic:

 

View #1: The Gospel doesn’t need to be “dressed up.” Churches that try to make it attractive also tend to water it down. They speak only of blessings with little or no repentance.

View #2: There’s nothing wrong with making the Gospel attractive. After all, we need to be relevant to today’s culture in order to reach the lost.

View #3: The Gospel should be attractive to non-believers based on our lives as Christians. If we are living in love the way Jesus commanded, the world should want what we have.

 

To be honest, I tend to agree with all three viewpoints to some extent. For one thing, the Good News is good all by itself. It doesn’t need to be dressed up with fancy gimmicks. Secondly, we need to be relevant and use the tools of our day to reach people. (For example, Christians today have the internet and are able to reach the masses in ways we never thought possible.)

Lastly, our lives should reflect the love of Christ. The peace and joy we receive as believers should be clearly seen by the world around us.  And isn’t that what everyone wants? Peace and joy even in the midst of difficult times?

 

Jesus made the gospel attractive. How do I know? Well for starters, we know that He spent time with sinners. Think about it this way: sinners wanted to spend time with Jesus. In today’s American culture, “sinners” typically want nothing to do with Christians. They feel judged, uncomfortable, unaccepted, and all around unloved. But the sinners of Jesus’ day didn’t feel that way around Him. They wanted to be near Him.

And since we know that Jesus never condoned their sin, this speaks volumes about how He must have treated them and how He made them feel in spite of their sin.

 

The gospel Jesus presented was all or nothing. It meant taking up your cross and surrendering your whole life to Him. It wasn’t watered down whatsoever. And while there were some who thought the message of Christ to be extreme, there were others still who wholeheartedly craved what Jesus was offering.

 

Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. – Titus 2:9-10 (NLT)

 

Keep in mind that Paul wasn’t endorsing slavery in this passage. He was simply speaking to the reality that many of the first century Christians converts were in fact slaves. Often, they were mistreated; and in spite of being mistreated, he told them to be the best workers they could possibly be. Why? Because it would help to make the Good News attractive.

 

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I’ve noticed far too many Christians today doing one of two things when spreading the Gospel: They either water down the message to appeal to more people or they shout at the world telling them to repent because they’re awful sinners.

Jesus didn’t use either one of these methods during His ministry.

 

If we want to make the gospel attractive the way Jesus did, we have to be living examples of what His love can do to change lives.

 

Jesus loved. He forgave. And He showed us what life was like in His Kingdom. So if we’re going to do ministry the way Jesus did ministry, we have to love. We have to forgive. And we have to walk in the light of our King.

 

Is It Okay to Spread an Attractive Gospel? | alyssajhoward.com

 

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11 Replies to “Is It Okay to Spread an Attractive Gospel?”

  1. Stopping by fro #RaRaLinkup where we’re neighbors today, Alyssa. This is a great post and you are right on! Every generation is faced with challenges of finding balance in this area. If we are His representatives on the earth – we must make the Gospel relative, welcoming and attractive. Of course, this Gospel is founded on the mess of humanity and the suffering of Jesus that brings us to repentence – we must tell the whole Gospel…while being living examples of His love.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that we should be striving to find a balance. The best way to make the Gospel attractive is for our lives to demonstrate God’s transforming power. When we abide in His peace and joy, when we find our hope and confidence in Him… the world will be able to clearly see that following Him is more than worth the cost. We don’t have to water down the message if the world can clearly see it’s fruit in our lives.

  2. That is an awesome question, Alyssa. Do we make this life, this walk with God look like something others want? I know here in our small town a lot of times certain religious groups are very judgmental. So much so to the point that even I as a believer feel belittled. My thought has always been, “How would a non-believer ever want what you have if you are being so hateful…” I think as long as we aren’t trying to present the gospel as something it isn’t like easy and a get in to heaven card, it is good to present it as attractive. It definitely can make us more attractive as people if we allow God’s beautiful love to shine through. Great post!

    1. Thank you, Rhiannon! I couldn’t agree with you more. I personally think that the truth of the Gospel is more attractive when it’s unedited and real – when believers actually live it out, love others, forgive, and produce fruit. Gimmicks and a watered-down message don’t necessarily make things more attractive. It may get people in the door initially, but there’s no “staying” power.

  3. “If we want to make the gospel attractive the way Jesus did, we have to be living examples of what His love can do to change lives.”
    That’s my take-home message. I love it.

    Your posts are very edifying.
    They are not watered down and full of fluff.
    I pray that God will continue to unveil Himself to you as you do the work of His Kingdom.
    You are blessed.

    1. I was just thinking this morning about how when Jesus spoke to the crowds, He most often spoke in parables. He was able to be both “filtered” and “unfiltered” at the same time. He found a way to be all things to all people, much like Paul did. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) 🙂

  4. This is thought-provoking. I agree with you that some aspects of all three perspectives can be correct. I think it comes down to the way we define “making the gospel attractive.” For every point made about how Jesus made the gospel attractive, we could probably come up with as many (or even more!) about how He made it UNattractive. He Himself wasn’t physically appealing (Isaiah 53:2). His message also wasn’t attractive to many, many people who heard it; in fact, He often spoke in parables in order to confuse people, which surely was repelling. His death was downright gory – certainly not what we would call “attractive” – and it’s that same blood that Christians glory in!

    At the end of the day, I tend to think the gospel will be attractive to those whose hearts are prepared by the Holy Spirit, and it will be unattractive to those whose hearts are hard. So what’s our role? We are to “adorn the gospel” (Titus 2:10) with our good works, and definitely (as you said) to love other people with the same beautiful passion that led our Savior to a horrible death. Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

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