Grace Series – Why Isn’t the Message of the Gospel Truly Being Understood?

Nov 02

Grace Series – Why Isn’t the Message of the Gospel Truly Being Understood?

What is God’s grace? This is a question I’ve asked myself and I’ve seen asked over the past few weeks. We talk about “receiving God’s grace” and “asking for God’s grace”, but what does that really mean? It turns out it means a lot more that I thought. Explore with me over the next few weeks the definitions and explanations of God’s grace.

Overview – What is God’s Grace

Salvation and Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Patience and Forbearance

Forgiveness

____________________________________

Today, right now in the twenty-first century, the gospel is being preached and shared all over the world. I have to wonder – is there a problem with the speaking or a problem with the hearing? Is there a problem with the understanding? Despite my growing up  in and out of church and recommitting my life to Christ, I didn’t truly understand the message of the gospel until my divorce in 2011. I was a saved Christian, regularly attending a local church, and I didn’t truly understand the message of the gospel for twenty years.

Why isn’t the message of the gospel truly being understood?

I’ve also asked this question on Twitter and Facebook, so I’ll be adding in some other answers from my friends and followers and may continue a discussion on this question. You can also add in your answer to this question in the comments section below.

The first reason I believe of the gospel isn’t being understood is because it’s simple. It really is very simple. How many of us learned to share the gospel using the acronym of ABC? Ask, Believe, Confess. The most well known verse is John 3:16. But many people who hear the gospel, even multiple times, just don’t believe it’s really that simple. Ask for forgiveness, believe in that forgiveness, and confess that Jesus is Lord of your life. Simple.

Simple, however, is not always easy. But as humans we try to make the simple things difficult. We blow so much out of proportion. This is easy to do when we have a past full of baggage as well. If you’ve got a history of friends or family who have said or implied that you’re not loved, or that you’ll only be loved IF you do something or become something, then it’s difficult to believe that God loves us and that we’re worthy of His love, His forgiveness and His grace.

We have people around us and the media judging what we look like, what we wear, what we eat, the money we earn, our lifestyles, etc. and we don’t feel worthy. We don’t feel good enough for anyone, especially God. People are saying God doesn’t love me. I’m not a good person, I’m not a lovable person. They aren’t seeing themselves through God’s eyes. They’re seeing themselves through society’s very skewed, photoshopped, rose-colored eyes.

The second reason I believe the gospel isn’t being understood is because we have so much information around us that it’s hard to tell what’s true. What’s amazing to me, though, as that we’ll accept almost anything as true. Fake news stories sweep through Facebook like a forest fire and without any proof or research they’re believed and shared. We have television shows and movies based on religion and the occult and much of what’s in those films, despite the fact that they’re fiction, are believed to be true.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

First, there’s a popular legend of the donkey with the cross marking on its back. The legend goes that the donkey that carried Jesus on Palm Sunday was the first donkey to receive a cross marking when the shadow of the cross fell across its back. Nothing scriptural about that legend, however it’s passed around each Easter and I’ve met several people who believe it’s in the Bible.

Many Hollywood blockbusters use religion, mostly Catholicism, as part of their storyline. One movie I remember from years back is The Seventh Sign with Demi Moore. The movie references the seven seals described in the Book of Revelation. A Catholic priest doesn’t believe signs of the apocalypse are real, but Demi Moore’s character does. The story then uses Jewish mysticism to include the tale of The Chamber of Guf or Guph. The Guf is part of the Talmud and a possible reading states the Messiah will not come until the Guf is empty of souls and that all souls come from this part of heaven. Demi’s character, Abby, is about to give birth and she believes that all the prophecies she’s learning about will lead up to the birth of her child. But the Guf is empty, which means there is no soul to enter into her child.

Again, nothing in the story is biblical. Many movies and TV shows use legends from various religions to mix together a story. However, unless you are familiar with Jewish mysticism and the Talmud, you don’t know where this idea comes from. This was one movie that started my questions about the gospel and what is biblical and what isn’t. In fact, one of the most fascinating things I learned during my college courses in literature is that much of what we THINK is in the Bible actually came from literature, especially the description of Satan (red, horned with a tail, cloven feet) and his demons.

My husband and I were watching the TV show Sleepy Hollow just the other night and Ichabod started to read off a spell that was supposed to bring back a creature to defeat the Horsemen of Death.  But where did those lines come from? They are from The Nameless City, written by HP Lovecraft. They are the words of Abdul Alhazred, the mad poet in the story:

That is not dead which can eternal lie
And with strange aeons even death may die.

Again, we have a TV show using religious symbolism (the two witnesses, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, a sin eater) and quoting lines from literature. It’s all put together to tell the version of the story the TV show wants to tell, but there are those who will believe that it’s all true and it’s all biblical.

To clarify this – there are CHRISTIANS who believe fiction is biblical.

If a Christian believes that these stories are true, then unbelievers do too.

My response to this has been to check your sources. Always, always check your sources. Someone shares a story on Facebook that seems too good to be true? Check the source. It may be a satirical website or a fake site someone built to grab your personal information. A movie or TV show quotes a Bible verse or tells a religious themed story – check the verse. That’s your source. Read the context around the verse. This is how you know the truth – when you search out the source.

I’m not one to say that religious themed TV shows or movies are bad. They’re fun to watch. There’s even a theory that Doctor Who is supposed to be a form of Jesus / God. It’s a fascinating theory. But it’s not true. It’s all entertainment.

The problem, though, in why the gospel message isn’t being understood today is that too many people will hear the stories shared by popular media and the entertainment industry and will believe fiction before believing the Bible.

What your thoughts? Why isn’t the message of the gospel being understood and embraced?

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Loading...
Sign up and receive The SMART Goal Planning Guide for Dreamers PDF