The Offensive Gospel

Bible 4People today are quick to complain about anything they feel is “offensive.” We no longer engage in sincere debate about different views or opinions. Instead, we just throw out the “I’m offended bomb.” This is like the guy who throws out “grenade” hand sign in a game of paper-rock-scissors. It doesn’t matter if you play paper or rock or scissors, the grenade wins every time. The same is true with an offended person. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. It doesn’t matter if their feelings are justified. An offended person almost always wins. (Consider the Democrat politicians who recently had to apologize for offending certain people when they insisted that all lives matter. Or consider the media’s fascination and outrage with Donald Trump who refuses to apologize when he offends people).

In the midst of a society that is so easily offended, Christians preach an inherently offensive message. Our message is inherently offensive for these reasons:

  1. Sin. The Bible says we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). The Bible says our sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). The Bible says our sin makes us unclean (Isaiah 64:6). The Bible says our sin deserves death (Romans 6:23). You can feel that the Bible’s teaching about sin is offensive. You can accept the Bible’s teaching about sin as reality. But you can’t ignore what the Bible says about sin. The Good News is that God has acted through his Son to remedy our sin problem (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  2. Exclusivity. The Old Testament is filled with stories of God’s people forgetting the first commandment (Exodus 20:2-3). The LORD did not want to compete with other gods because he is the only true God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 1 Kings 8:60, Isaiah 45:5). Additionally, the New Testament is clear that Jesus is the only way for a sinner to receive grace, life, forgiveness, and hope (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 2:5). The Good News is that God has provided A way for sinners to be saved.
  3. Repentance. David warned God’s people about repentance (Psalm 7:12). Ezekiel called God’s people to repent (Ezekiel 14:6). Jesus commanded God’s people to repent (Mark 1:15). Peter called God’s people to repent (Acts 2:38). Paul wrote to God’s people about the importance of repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). From beginning to end, the Bible calls us to a change of mind that leads to a change of life. The Good news is that God is patient, and his patience is meant to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9).

The Gospel is Good News about what God has done to save a wicked, rebellious people. At the same time, the gospel is offensive, and there’s no way to remove the offense. Change the message and the Gospel is no longer Good News.

Originally published August 11, 2015 on