The Necessary Offense of the Gospel

14May09

Mohler’s article today on whether Christians should respect Muslims and Islam is quite challenging, particularly these paragraphs:

Thus, evangelical Christians may respect the sincerity with which Muslims hold their beliefs, but we cannot respect the beliefs themselves.  We can respect Muslim people for their contributions to human welfare, scholarship, and culture.  We can respect the brilliance of Muslim scholarship in the medieval era and the wonders of Islamic art and architecture.  But we cannot respect a belief system that denies the truth of the gospel, insists that Jesus was not God’s Son, and takes millions of souls captive.

This does not make for good diplomacy, but we are called to witness, not public relations.  We must aim to be gracious and winsome in our witness to Christ, but the bottom line is that the gospel will necessarily come into open conflict with its rivals.

I know I, for one, too often tend toward PR in my “witness.” While we’re not called to try to offend others, the gospel we are called to share is offensive. May we be so bold and clear in our witness that this is apparent, and may we not fear the consequences. As one hymn puts it:

May I fear You greater than
I fear man, I fear man.
May my love for You be measured
By obedience, by repentance.
And in that moment humbly bow –
Teach my heart, show me how
To fear you more my Lord, my God!
Faithful Friend, Greatest End.

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