“If Jesus preached the same message minister’s preach today, He would have never been crucified.” – Leonard Ravenhill
Ouch. That stings. But as my parents or a teacher or a well-meaning friend once told me: The truth hurts.
Someone else once told me this as well: “… the truth will set you free.”
Does our modern preaching reflect the passion, intensity, content, rebuke, and challenge that Jesus’ preaching did? Are we preaching the same message? Are we as willing to speak the truth in front of a non-receptive crowd?
American Christianity reflects much of American culture: an over-emphasis on the individual, meeting felt needs, self-help, etc. In his book “Christ and Culture,” H. Richard Niebuhr addresses the different ways the church has tried to relate in and to culture. He boils it down to three basic ways: church against culture, church enmeshed in culture, and church above culture.
My point: this wrestling match with culture is nothing new. Niebuhr’s book was first published in 1951. Culture, particularly American culture, was much different back then. But how much different was the church of 1950 from the culture of 1950? And the same could be asked today.
Personally, I’m thankful Jesus was crucified. That seminal act purchased redemption and offered an avenue to God for millions of people.
The question is: As a preacher of the Gospel, am I willing to be crucified today?