Tuesday, September 09, 2014


I recently read a blog written to show that no one should be surprised when non-believers dislike us as believers. It went on to point out the danger some mega-church pastors face in the watering down of the teaching of the gospel and even some standards of behavior in the scriptures because of a desire that non-believers not be offended and thus closed to the gospel or refuse to come to their church services.

The comment section of that blog also spoke about Christians who often disagree with the teaching being done and the problems it can cause. I didn't comment on that blog. But if I had, here's what I would have wanted to say.

I believe that I, as a preacher or pastor, am NOT to compromise or water down the gospel at all. It is by its own nature offensive to the lost. Nor am I to alter out of any kind of fear what I see or believe is being said in any biblical passage when I speak or teach on that passage.

But, I AM to be careful to do two things. One is to remember that I am just as human as my audience and can err in my conclusions about revealed truth on occasion. Two is to remember is that whatever truth I think I'm delivering is to be delivered in a loving and gracious way, without shaming or condemning those who might differ with me. 

If some Christian does disagree with me about what I'm teaching and talks to me about it afterward, I would want to listen to that person and clarify if possible what I'm saying, all the while checking the validity my own conclusion. Then if that person still takes issue with what I believe I can and will need to learn to live with that difference. They're not my servant after all

Further, if some non-believer gets annoyed or even offended at a standard of behavior I hold to and am teaching, that is an issue between their conscience and God with any eternal ramifications out of my hands entirely. My responsibility is to love them where they are.  Only the Holy Spirit can convict or convince someone of truth. That convicting or even convincing job is not mine to do.

But, for me to be offended, much less shocked, by either a disagreeing Christian or an offended non-believer, or even surprised by either, is a little silly, if not a bit naive. And, for me to COMDEMN either of them is just wrong and for me to get ANGRY at either is beyond the pale.

Finally, whether someone chooses to agree or disagree, returns to another service of the fellowship I'm pastoring [remember that I am, in fact, no longer pastoring] or does not return, likes me or chooses to despise me, while not unimportant to be sure, is FAR DOWN on the list of concerns I might have when I stand to preach or teach the truth as I see it as the pastor of a fellowship.

It seems fairly simple to me. Am I missing something here?

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


Brother! I think you covered it so very well.

I am reminded of a "ministry" which specializes in disagreeing with anyone who doesn't cross "T's" and dot"I'S" in lock step with them.

If we are truly preaching the Gospel it will be offensive to "those who are perishing".

As you say, only the Holy Spirit can do anything about that.

By the way;I'm sure you will agree that there is a big difference between the message of the Gospel according to Scripture, and, the offensive delivery of a message, no matter how correct it may be!

Bob Cleveland said...

As has been said, "If you would win some, be winsome".

Bobby Brown said...

Actually the gospel is much more palatable to sinners than it is to Pharisees. Luke 15:1-2

Paul Burleson said...

I think this..."By the way;I'm sure you will agree that there is a big difference between the message of the Gospel according to Scripture, and, the offensive delivery of a message, no matter how correct it may be!"....says, as I remember people used to say it, "a mouthful."

Bobby Brown said...

Yes and I would add that what I would refer to as the apostle Paul's gospel is very offensive to pharisees' in the church even if it is delivered in a kind wholesome way. The gospel of grace is offensive to anyone seeking to be accepted or remain accepted by God by what they do. The gospel says,
"it is finished."

Paul Burleson said...

I think we can all agree on two things as I've read the comments. One is the gospel will be viewed as offensive to a degree by anyone outside the realm of grace. The other is that the delivery of the gospel can be done in an offensive manner that has nothing to do with the message being delivered. I'm good with the first and would want to not be counted among the second. Grace means too much to me to wind up being ungracious with the message of grace. I'm thinking all commenting here would agree.

Bobby Brown said...


Victorious said...

Another excellent post, Paul...thank you! I agree that the gospel cannot be watered down nor compromised but should be delivered with diplomacy and grace rather than inducing condemnation and fear. It can be a wonderful message of conviction but hope at the same time.