It’s a good thing Justin Trudeau didn’t work for NASA in 1969. If he had, the serene moment when Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the moon might have been interrupted by a gentle rebuke in the name of political correctness. You remember Armstrong’s famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Apparently enlightened folks no longer use the word “mankind,” but prefer the term “peoplekind.” In case you missed it, this is how how Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada) responded to a woman at a recent town hall meeting when she made the mistake of using the word “mankind,” which is apparently both antiquated and bigoted.
This post really isn’t about Justin Trudeau or Neil Armstrong. It’s not even about political correctness. This post is about the offense of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 2018, the western world seems to revolve around the idea of “offense.” Who’s offended? Why are they offended? What offended them? How can we be less offensive? These questions drive much of our political and social discourse, and increasingly the same questions drive our religious discourse. Trudeau’s rebuke about the term “mankind” is just another reminder that our culture is obsessed with being as unoffensive as possible.
The challenge for those who follow Jesus of Nazareth is obvious. We believe in a message that is inherently offensive. Additionally, we believe Jesus himself has sent us into the world to proclaim this offensive message to all mankind, or if you prefer, all peoplekind.
Make no mistake about it, the gospel of Jesus Christ is an offensive message. Consider the following gospel realities:
- God is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:1-7, Revelation 4:8). God’s not like us. He’s one of a kind. We can never aspire to be his equal. He is the Creator. We are the creature.
- God alone determines truth (Psalm 119:89, 137, John 17:17). God’s Word is the ultimate and final standard for truth. We are not the final arbiter of what is true.
- All people are inherently and radically sinful (Genesis 6:5, Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23). We are not basically good people. From birth we are corrupted by sin.
- Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 6:23). Sin is not some minor problem. Rather, sin creates an impassable gulf between creature and Creator.
- God wrath is rightly directed toward sin (John 3:36, Ephesians 2:1-3). God is not passively indifferent to our sinful rebellion. He is rightly angry with sinners.
- Some behavior is categorically wrong (Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Despite our culture’s evolving approach morality, some things are inherently sinful.
- No one can earn their way to heaven (Galatians 3:10, James 2:11). There is no path of moral self-reformation that can secure your eternity. We aren’t capable.
- Our highest wisdom is foolish to God (1 Corinthians 1:18-30, Colossians 2:8-15). Our best thoughts and most profound philosophies don’t measure up in the end.
- We must repent (Mark 1:15, Acts 2:38). Repentance is a genuine change of mind that leads to a real change of life. We are all called to change our mind about sin.
- Jesus is the only way to be saved (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). The only way any person can be saved from God’s wrath is by trusting in the person and work of Christ.
The gospel is offensive. That certainly does not mean Christians have the right to be brash, abrasive, arrogant, or cruel. However, it does mean we must expect an easily offended world to take offense at the message of the gospel. It may also mean that Christians are in for some tough sledding as the cultural elites continue demand that we strip our message of anything they deem to be offensive. May we never compromise or water down the offense of the gospel.