After all that my family went through a couple of years ago, I am so very thankful to be in a church that preaches the Gospel unashamedly. An article I read this week reminded me again how much I appreciate our pastors and their willingness to stand firm. Pastor Tim Challies’ article is about “niceness” and how it can hide a person’s rebellion from God. He uses Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, as an example:
Is there anyone nicer than Joel Osteen? Yet is there anyone whose message has less of the gospel and more anti-biblical nonsense? You can watch him in this video, sitting with Oprah, receiving accolades, nicely, smilingly leading an eager crowd farther and farther from the cross. He is nice, but he, too, will nice you straight to the gates of hell, flashing that brilliant smile all the while.
Pastor Challies goes on to say:
Christians are called by God to stand firm on what the Bible says is true, no matter how counter-cultural, and no matter how odious to the spirit of the age. When Christians do this we are so often portrayed as being unpleasant or disagreeable, the very opposite of nice. We need to allow ourselves to be portrayed as not nice. We cannot afford to allow niceness to be a fruit of the Spirit along with the rest. It may be impossible to be nice when we stand with firm conviction on what the Bible says about marriage, about the value of unborn children, or any other area where culture conflicts with Scripture. We need to be okay with that, as long as the fruit of the Spirit is present in its place. If we are to be nice at all, we must first be full of love, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and the other character qualities that are genuinely reflective of the Spirit.
In our former church, a pastor preached that Christians will be the most popular people around, if they’re living like Jesus. I’m still not sure how that jives with the whole of Scripture and what actually happened to Jesus. While I know we are to be at peace with all men, as much as it depends on us, the simple truth is that the Gospel is offensive, as Pastor Challies reminds us.
Thank you, Pastor Dave and Pastor Dennis for preaching the Word.