If you’re not offending someone, you’re not preaching the Gospel!
M ost believers have fallen into the same old rut of sitting through a church service, singing a few songs, laughing at a few corny jokes from the pastor, passing the offering plate, and then hearing a sugar-stick sermonette which has been carefully curtailed as to not to offend certain people in the church.
Oh My My- After 45+ years of being a follower of Christ every time I hear a cotton candy sermon that has been carefully edited and reduced down to;
“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”
It just makes me want to puke! So many preachers seem stuck on “Be quick to hear, Be slow to speak, Be Slow to anger, Be kind, God is love, yada yada yada.
I am certainly not claiming these teachings are wrong. Yes of course we should be Christlike having good character, but that’s like saying “look both ways when you cross the street” to a 50 year old.
This may be helpful for the lost or a new christian that’s still nursing on milk, but for us mature christians it is preaching to the choir , or even worse, nauseating. Another thing that was so nauseating and in my opinion dangerous was the verses I saw on his powerpoint presentation as well as the ones he was reading from his NKJV bible.
There I was trying to follow the words of the pastor in the book of Acts when I noticed that what the pastor was saying and what God’s words were saying in my King James 1611 bible were not the same! In the book of Acts the pastor called Jesus God’s servant! But what I was reading from God’s word (KJV) said Jesus was God’s son. What was so alarming was the fact the pastor did not seem to notice he just called Jesus God’s servant! Folks how can a pastor who claims to be called by God not know he is using a corrupt bible? Read more about that
When it sounds like the last week’s sermon and hundreds of prior sundays as well. I had to turn to a more experienced pastor to get down to the meat of God’s word. While also continuing to pray for my last pastor. The more God fed me and opened my eyes to the cotton candy, the more I felt compelled by the holy spirit to write this article as a way to educate others who may fall victim to similar experiences. As most of us know if you eat to much cotton candy you will get sick and vomit. The same goes for cotton candy sermons.
Some pastors complain that so many in their congregation are spiritually immature, but often that is the pastor’s fault. The people are simply following a pastor whom they have grown to admire and like and they have become just like him (Hosea 4:9). In many churches today the words that God wrote are often ignored because the priority of the pastor is not to explain what God wrote but to use it as a springboard to urge the congregation to some action about which the pastor feels deeply.
The pastor told me it was the milk of the gospel, when I complained that I cannot live on milk he told me that so many in the congregation were going in circles and not spiritually mature. I displayed my perplexed look and tongue in cheek thought knowing he was not realizing his response spoke volumes in regards to them going in circles because he was preaching in circles. Yes often times that really is the pastor’s fault. Congregations have grown accustomed to believing that they are being taught the Bible, but they are simply hearing repetitive sermons filled with light fluffy cotton candy make you feel good about being a sinner sermonette with calls to come get saved at the alter right after the cotton candy has been digested. A pastor’s responsibility is to teach the sermon God wrote. Not the one he wrote, or purchased from pastors.com. Pastors need to provide milk to new believers and steak for the rest of their congregation. Teach ALL of the Word of God!
Does a school teacher hold back the whole class just because a few of the students are slow or struggling? Meh… Every Christian who desires to grow spiritually should seek a church that teaches the Bible book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse. You should want to be taught the “Meat” of the Word and not just sip milk. That is the only way to grow spiritually.
“…reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
II Timothy 4.2
When Jesus said, “Feed my sheep!” He meant spiritual meat and potatoes, Not cotton candy! People not only need to be saved but they need to know what they are being saved from! When pastors commit the sin of Removing the Terrifying Danger of God’s Impending Wrath Against Our Sin nothing good can come from it. Some people have the misguided notion that Jesus was a “feel-good” preacher who was always sweet, kind, diplomatic and never made waves or rocked the boat. Are you kidding me? What Bible have they been reading?
Jesus didn’t preach what I call “cotton candy sermons” that are in vogue today—fluffy strings of sugar-coated thoughts woven together to make people feel good, but containing little spiritual substance. In fact,
Mark 12:37 (KJV)
indicates that “The common people heard Him gladly,” The disciples felt a little conscience about the force of Jesus teaching style. They had been with Him enough to know that He did not concern Himself with mincing words against the religious leaders who sought to trap Him. He wasn’t concerned about offending the homosexual, the dunk, the adultress, or the government. Then the disciples came to him and asked,
“Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? Mat 15:12
He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Mat 15:13,14)
What many people reject is not Christ, but a false caricature. Likewise, if a church is portraying a “false caricature” of Christ or Christianity, it should be left.
While the gospel-centered movement has gained substantial steam of late, it is paralleled by an increasing tendency within Christianity to focus on a personal feelings- and experience-based relationship with God, while downplaying the need for biblical doctrine to define who God actually is and what His Word actually teaches.
Pastor’s who show fear are undervaluing the conscious belief in biblical doctrine that goes against Jesus’ commission to teach others to obey His commands (Matt 28:20) and certainly opens up the flood-gates to a whole lot of false teaching.
Gospel-centrality, on the other hand, starts with the Gospel of Christ at the center from which everything else then stems, adhering firmly to the core truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). And the part that these Pastor’s don’t have the guts to say is the fact that hell is real and those who reject Christ will burn in hell fire for eternity. I think that is worth noting.
Speaking the truth in love doesn’t guarantee people will see our heart of love and credit us with our intention. If the gospel offends them, they’re apt to see us as offensive. Yes the truth can hurt, but not as bad as hell. And when people’s feelings are hurt, the messenger can be accused of being an unChristlike meanie. Which many accuse Christians of being. However Christ’s love for them didn’t stop Him from speaking the truth.
Remember, Don’t fall in love with a pastor, fall in love with God’s Word, because your pastor may hurt you deeply one day when you find out he committed some horrible sin. It happens all the time. My wife & I found that out the hard way. Even the best of God’s men are still dirty, rotten sinners, myself included, (and so are you). But we got to keep loving. So Pray for pastors. No matter if the church be big or small, the pressure to compromise is massive. Acts 20:27 2 Timothy 4
Either way, if we have to minimize or tinker with the Gospel to make it more palatable, then it’s not the Gospel we’re preaching. In light of this, we need to exercise discernment when we pick up a Christian book, attend a Christian conference, or seek a new church home, and ask ourselves, is the teaching I am exposing myself to really edifying? Does it glorify God or something else? It is rooted in ALL of the gospel or just the fluffy cotton candy message to make you feel good?
We need to replace cotton candy for the soul with the bread of life—the gospel of Jesus Christ—in all aspects of our lives. For it is the gospel alone that will transform our hearts and minds and prepare our souls for a faith that endures to the end. Satan cannot destroy the gospel, therefore, he will do all he can to distract us from it. So then, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, feeding our souls on the bread of life, not on cotton candy that simply tastes good.
The Best Preacher Ever!
He called Herod Antipas, who killed his brother, Philip, and stole his wife, Herodias, a "fox" (Luke 13:32). Foxes are predators who prey on weaker animals.
Jesus nicknamed James and John "Boanerges" meaning "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17), which was not a compliment, but a dig at their loud-mouthed, hot-headed, quick-tempered, prejudiced ways (Luke 9:49-56).
He called Peter "Satan" for trying to interfere with God's plan for Him to go to the cross (Matt. 16:21-23).
He called Judas Iscariot a "devil" and the "son of perdition" for his treachery (John 6:70; 17:12).
He called His own disciples "doubters" with little faith when He calmed a storm (Matt. 8:26), a "faithless and perverse generation" when they failed to cast out a demon (Matt. 17:17), and "fools" and "slow of heart to believe" when they doubted His resurrection (Luke 24:25).
Jesus reserved His strongest verbal barbs for the self-righteous religious leaders. In Matthew 23, He called them "blind," "blind guides," "serpents," "generation of vipers," "fools" and "hypocrites."