Many want to make the gospel more attractive. It took a long time for me to unpack what people meant by this and I am still working it out. For some, it’s as simple as keeping the church tidy and making sure your greeters pop a breath mint. For others, it’s hiding culturally unpopular Christian beliefs in the shadows or trying to dress them up as worldly as possible. At best, the hope is that cynical people will put up with Jesus followers long enough to maybe choose to follow Him. At worst, we want to remake Jesus so modern people will like Him.
In reading through the Gospels there is one way people come to Jesus.
It’s through humility.
Letting go of this world.
You can’t follow Jesus with caveats. The Gospel is offensive to people who want to keep defining right and wrong by their own standards. Christianity isn’t a tool to validate preferred ethics but to supplant them. It means there is a heavenly Kingdom ethic you must accept and a worldly one you must denounce. The disposition of a person ready to hand their lives over to Jesus is one who is totally humbled. In Christianity everyone is welcome and is seen as an eternally valuable child of God. Yet, those that really choose to accept the call of Jesus are not left the same. There is an inclusion and exclusion in the Gospel. God pulls us through a painful filter of humility. This process is such a big deal Jesus pushes it on people who come to him with no externally visible sin issue, like the rich young ruler. This humility process is mandatory. You must be offended and face your offenses first. You cannot follow Jesus and bring another ethic along. You cannot follow Jesus without first being undone. All are welcome, only the undone will actually follow Him.
I believe we are in a season where the church as we know it will split into two roads. Today many are still a valid church. In 20 years many will no longer be the church at all. One road will slowly sacrifice more and more of the Gospel for cultural acceptance and the other will slowly lose cultural acceptance for the Gospel. I believe God is allowing (maybe forcing) this divide to happen. Pause and look at your own heart. What road are you on? Are you trying to change the Gospel or are you letting the Gospel change you? The churches that center on the Gospel will become increasingly less attractive. The churches that center on attraction will be increasingly less church.
We cannot undo Jesus. Jesus requires we begin our journey undone so we can be made into something better than we were before.
2 Kings 5