If you think about it, Paul makes a rather peculiar declaration when he asserts: “I am not ashamed of the gospel…”. (Romans 1.16) Usually I don’t give these words much thought. But with a little reflection I find myself asking questions like:
- Who suggested Paul was ashamed?
- What Christians are ashamed of the gospel?
- What does it look like for someone be ashamed of the gospel?
As one who is committed to gospel-centrality for both my ministry and my life, I want to be able to share Paul’s steadfastness. And I do. But I also understand the temptations to waver. There are times I ask myself what I am doing? I wonder if we should add something more to the arsenal. Is gospel fidelity enough?
What are we doing when we commit to gospel-centered preaching and teaching in the face of non-apparent results? Every chance we get we hold up Jesus Christ as preeminent and precious, we exult in his glorious excellencies, and we present the gospel boldly, clearly, and with unction. Still nary a crack in the surface of reception. It is like preaching, as they say, to a brick wall.
Should we switch things up? Try another tack? Testable non-results is one of the reasons so many churches tuck the gospel behind fog and lasers or adjust their teaching to the 7 Steps busywork of moralistic therapeutic deism. I mean, isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
I appreciate Jared’s candor. And I commend his thoughts to anyone who may sometimes struggle with temptations to look for something other than or in addtion to the gospel to procalim – to others, or to ourselves. Let’s remind ourselves, and one another, that it is the Gospel that is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1.16)