Bible

The Gospel Is Supposed To Be Good News

Not a series of vague eternal threats of damnation.

In America more and more people are seeing the Gospel message as negative. I’ve heard a thousands reasons why, but I think it comes down to how the Gospel is being portrayed. It’s on us, it’s on the church.

At some point we’ve shifted the message of the Gospel to a series of vague eternal threats of damnation.

All throughout the Gospel we are told over and over that this is Good News. From the very first announcement of Jesus we are told that this was a good thing; the best thing. But somewhere along the way we’ve lost the “good” part and just tell people the news. We threaten them with what we think will happen when they die. We love to take a seat on God’s throne and judge people, but rarely do we want to tell them (god forbid show them) the love that’s found for everyone in the Gospel.

Whenever I say something like this I get the response… Well we’ve got to tell the truth too. Which typically is just an excuse to not try and understand that person’s story, to keep them aside. But if the Bible really is true, and I believe it is, we need to be bringing good news. And we need to live it that way. Jesus could have told everyone Hey! You know what, if you don’t follow me you’re going to burn in hellBut he didn’t do that…

In fact he focused very little of his time on warning of eternal hell. Rather he focused on the literal hells that people were currently experiencing and living. At the center of Jesus’ message was good news.

If you are following Jesus you are carrying the best news possible. Your words AND actions should reflect that. The way you talk to people, about people, and treat people should show the Gospel. And what’s that message? That everyone is invited to the party. Even the people that we as a society say are out, Jesus says no, they are in.

Love, Don’t Threaten

Jesus never threatened anyone. The one person that was righteous and had every right to condemn the wrongdoings he saw didn’t. Rather he had grace and compassion. That’s not to say that he never spoke of judgement or showed anger. But he didn’t lead off with it. And more often than not when judgment did come up it was directed at the religious who were condemning people they were supposed to love. 

The approach we need to take both with our words and our actions is not judgement but grace. Especially with those that are different than us. Lead with grace, lead with love.

I think we are starting to see the long term effect of the turn or burn movement, as I like to call it. And it’s a total rejection of the Gospel, or at least a rejection of the Gospel they were presented. You can get someone to temporarily change via a threat, but long term change rarely takes hold. Threats don’t bread change. They bread short-term fear. And that’s the what the Gospel is about. 

The church needs to love those that are different than them, not threaten them. It should concern us that the people that wanted to be around Jesus the most were the ones that the religious avoided. People that are nothing like us should want to be around us. Why? Because the love that we show them.

That’s the message of the Gospel. That we are more loved then we have dared dream, even though we are more sinful that we could have realize. That’s not a threat, that’s good news.

Focus on the Injustice People Face Now

Christians have flipped Jesus’ approach. We focus on warning people that if they don’t repent then they will go to hell. But we spend little time on helping people out of the literal hell they are currently living in. We’ve taken the good news and turned it into a warning; you better believe what I do or else… Rather than offering grace and showing our love and care for people in their current circumstances.

Jesus met with many people that were outcasts that the religious leaders refused to associate with. Rather than ignore them, Jesus went to them. He listened to their stories, had compassion on them, and showed them grace.

It saddens me that the church is largely known for standing against many social justice issues. It saddens me even more when the church outright refuses to even associate with people behind the issues. How can we justify throwing someone standing for justice under the bus because we don’t like their issue? When did we become so sure of ourselves that our views are right and everyone else is wrong?

When there’s a people group saying Hey! We’re feeling opposed how ignorant is it for Christians to respond. Yeah… You’re not.

You cannot ignore what is important to someone and the issues they are passionate about and expect them to continue listening to your message. We’ve got to refocus our message and our priorities. And learn to understand where people are coming from. We’ve got to stand for the injustice, not being done to us, but what’s being done to others.

We have people in our society that are crying out for help. And the church should be the first people to come to their rescue.

It’s time the church starts living and talking about the GOOD news again. Let’s take our cues from Jesus and how he interacted with those around him. 


Why do you think the Church doesn’t focus on the good news anymore? Have you experienced this?

25 comments on “The Gospel Is Supposed To Be Good News

  1. Worry. Doubt. Fear. That’s the bottom line. The Lord ministered this to me last night and I’m still meditating on it this morning. Now, he leads me to see your post. Many want to prophesy few want to live. Jeffrey may you be the example God has created you to be and continue teaching the truth. Continue to pray for those that don’t know what they do.

    REJOICE for this is the day that the LORD has made. Rejoice!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have an Interesting perspective… I can feel your heart through your post! Can you please clarify for me the injustices That you are speaking of?

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    • For posts like this I don’t like to label specific issues, I think it distracts from the actual meaning. If I name one than it just becomes an argument for/against said issue. There are posts where those issues can be talked about, but I felt this one it would just distract.

      In this case I was thinking specifically about the NFL protests because I had just listened to a podcast on it. I think it’s ironic that you have one group of people saying “we are opposed” and the other side won’t even acknowledge it. That is what it is, but when the church won’t take a stand that gets me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, that makes since… I am new to blogging, and I’ve never thought to leave things out that would distract from the meaning of my posts, and have different posts that have issues for arguments, or debates. Thanks for explaining it to me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s tough. But I always try to come up with one main point and have everything point to that. Some of those hot button issues can cause people to totally miss the point because they get hung up. Sometimes that’s good, because that’s the point of a post. Other times it’s just distracting.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was just thinking about this subject over the weekend, and I love the perspective in this post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t know why that was anonymous…

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  5. Love your work, as always Jeff! So true, that often the “good news” aspect gets so overrun by bullhorn preachers shouting “hellfire and brimstone”. We might be called to judge other Christians and call them back to holy living, but we’re NOT called to judge sinners – we’re called to bring them to Christ for salvation. Good news for them, we should remember it! Because it was good news for us when we were first given it! Nailed it, as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What’s good news for them, was once good news for us. Sometimes I think we forget who we were and think of ourselves higher than we ought too. At least I know I’m guilty of that. But the reality is we are all on even ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Salt and light, grace and Truth, faith and works….maybe the church is forgetting the ‘ands’?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Probably onto something there. We often like to focus on one and not both. Jesus managed to live in the tension between two, seemingly, opposing ideas.

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  7. “Christians have flipped Jesus’ approach. We focus on warning people that if they don’t repent then they will go to hell. But we spend little time on helping people out of the literal hell they are currently living in.” Love it!

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    • Yes. This is where the joy is, coming along side the lost sheep. I was just listening to the lost sheep parable. Jesus is explaining that the desire for a position in power is the goat motivation with the sheep motivation is to go out and care about the other sheep. The shepherd leaves the 99 and goes and finds the lost sheep! And we choices when he brings them back down and so only as we become aware of the pain and suffering and how to relieve it, do we become true Christians. Millions of Christians are still in the judgment mode as you say.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. if you start looking at all the verses that refer to the gospel, you will find a treasure trove. That’s where the power is and that’s with the glorious and that’s where the love is. And that’s where the transformation is. Here’s one from Isaiah: “how beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news who publishes salvation, , Who says on to Zion, your God rules!” so when we begin to look at what this means, we realize that what is beautiful is when some one tells us something we need to hear which is good news, the notice specifically the good news that salvation is accessible and available to us, that we can , That we can overcome no matter what – – and that explains that God is actually in charge that God rules that God is absolutely able to sustain his people no matter how chaotic things are.

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  9. A wonderful post and a big amen! I have always said the same thing. No place for manipulation in the Gospel.
    Dwight

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  10. Amazing! Thank you!

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  11. Some days I read an article and wish wordpress had a LOVE button instead of a LIKE button. “We have people in our society that are crying out for help. And the church should be the first people to come to their rescue. It’s time the church starts living and talking about the GOOD news again.” Amen! It’s our pray that more will heed this sort of rallying cry to action.

    Like

  12. Reblogged this on Rogue Millennials and commented:
    Sometimes a Christian author really nails it. We wanted to share this post with you all because it sums up so much of what we like to talk about on our blog. Let’s be honest, the modern American church has the reputation of making people captives to whatever arbitrary and stringent man-made laws are – a judgmental body of believers who decide who is in and who is out based on things God never said is the norm. Yet the Gospel is supposed to be “Good News” – not bad news. Check out Rethink Now’s article on what we’ve missed and where we need to go from here. “It’s time the church starts living and talking about the GOOD news again.”

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  13. There are so many things I love about this post. I have had the fortune of being a part of several church cultures that emphasized the “good” in the Good News, and I am very thankful for it.

    But let me play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, if you don’t mind: If we choose to omit Hell, are we really giving them good news? And if the prescription is not to lead with hell, how then do you suggest we introduce it? I might guess at the answer but I am interested to know your thoughts.

    Blessings 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting question… I don’t know that we don’t ever talk about hell. I think it comes down with how we talk about it. It’s almost never effective to use it as a scare tactic. You can’t scare someone into following Jesus. That’s not love. You can show someone God’s love and let them decide if they want to follow Him or not.

      As to your follow up question of how to lead into it, is something I struggle with. Jesus talked rather sparely and very vaguely about what hell is and who is going there. It’s all parables and phrases like “Hell is like…”. So I think that’s tough. It seems to me that Jesus never intended for us to focus much on hell.

      Typically the way I talk about it and the way I preach it is. We all deserve hell, but God paid the price for us. Our sin separated us, but Jesus closed that gap. That’s not using hell as a weapon or trying to scare someone into believing. But it still leaves the question of will God send those who reject or those who never hear the Gospel to hell? For that, I have no answer. I have my suspicions, but they are founded in my thinking and not in scripture. For that I rest on the fact that God is all loving and all just, and what he does will be full of Grace and full of Justice.

      What about you, how would you answer your questions?

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  14. Wow that is a good question (I know it was mine, but it was not one I was planning to answer :))

    Let me start by saying: I think the modern church has an image problem, not necessarily a truth problem. It is in other words not that we believe in hell but how we have positioned hell in relation to the rest of humanity that is the problem, something that you have nicely put your finger on.

    For instance, a friend of my sister who was a self-professed lesbian visited a church that was very Gospel-centered, meaning it was all about the Cross. She was hungry for God, but she was told because of her lifestyle choice she “was going to hell.” Really? What happened to “all of us have sinned and have fallen short” and “it is by grace you have been saved through faith”? Hell in this instance was used to keep distance between the church and those they did not know what to do with — or worst case, they deemed beyond the reach of God’s mercy.

    But the very moment we determine there is a place beyond the reach of God’s mercy, we place ourselves there. Yet there is no place the mercy of Jesus Christ cannot reach. No place. He will go out and find us.

    I have already taken too much space but let me just say quickly that the way I believe we properly introduce hell is to be the body of Christ — not just His mouth but His hands and feet, and ears as well. And by all means, let us be His heart. We go. We love. We listen. We feel. We dare to understand.

    When we have done this and have become a reflection of Him to the rest of the world, discussing hell I imagine will not be a problem, for us or for those to whom God sends us.

    Blessings and thank you again for your heart.

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  15. Christians should be known for their love and fruits of the Spirit. I don’t believe in an eternal hell. I know there will be a Judgement Day and a second death for the wicked from which they will never waken. I could never love a God who would torture people.

    I wish churches would just accept people as they are and not tell them they need to change in order to “join” them. It takes a lifetime to learn how to live like Jesus, and in fact I doubt anyone does it perfectly. Yet we expect people to be our idea of “righteous”. Really? Do you own more than one coat? Do you sell what you have and give to the poor? Do you always give a soft anwer and turn the other cheek? Do you take the homeless poor into your house?

    See? Yet they think being gay is an awful sin?

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