During a great war, there was a man who invented a parachute that was one hundred percent trustworthy. It made no difference whether the user was large or small; it opened every time and got him safely to the ground. The key was in the way it was folded. (story continued below)
Every part of the parachute had to be carefully and painstakingly placed in certain positions, following the instructions given by the manufacturer. True, it was somewhat arduous, but it was well worth the effort. It had the effect of ensuring that the life of every precious human being who trusted the parachute would be preserved. Many years after the war began, a group of young men known as “fast-folders” entered the packing room. These men so influenced the workers with their new fast and easy method of folding that soon they all completely ignored the instruction book given by the manufacturer. Production increased greatly and everyone
rejoiced in the obvious and quantifiable results.
However, as time passed it slowly became evident that something was radically wrong. In fact, a small group of investigators who went to where the parachutes were being used found to their horror that of every ten who jumped using the new method, nine tragically fell to their deaths! The horrible sight of so many mangled and rotting bodies strewn all over the ground sickened them. These weren’t just faceless customers. These were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters — cherished human beings who plunged to a needless and terrifying death.
A report was quickly relayed to the fast-folders. Many were heartbroken, and immediately went back to the instruction book and corrected their mistake. With great sobriety and care, they began painstakingly folding each parachute exactly as the book instructed. Their knowledge of the tragedies motivated them to make sure that they did their job with uncompromising conviction.
Yet, there was resistance from a few. Even though they knew that so many lives were being lost, they still refused to follow the instruction book. Unbelievably, they ignored the mass of mangled and rotting bodies, for which they were directly responsible. Instead, they pointed to those who had survived their fast-folding method as justification for their technique. -The parachute story, Way of The Master by Ray Comfort
good clip. The false gospel is here.
Thank you Gregg for passing by.
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The problem is that there is not necessarily a direct correlation between that story and the content of the gospel. The historical reality is that the gospel has been re-imagined over and over again in culture. This is part of the glory of the gospel, that it is able to adapt timelessly to speak to each generation and bring people to God. For example, the excessively individualistic gospel (such as propagated by evangelicals like Ray Comfort) is also a cultural adaptation.
The problem is that while the gospel is translated into culture after culture, not all of those cultural accommodations are good, some are even downright heretical. The prosperity gospel and the American dream gospel are two that have huge problems. But so is a gospel that reduces the Kingdom Jesus proclaimed to a personal relationship. (The history of this is one of knee jerk reaction to the Social Gospel which also has problems). Certainly there is always an aspect of the gospel that speaks to the individual and calls for a personal life of holiness. But holiness without justice and righteousness (which is always a relational concept in Judaic thought) is not holiness but the same practice of the Pharisees to which Jesus was so rightly critical.
I disagree that there is one way to package/present the gospel. That just is not historically defensible. But that there is always a need to think critically about what passes for gospel in our present context, definitely.
Frank thank you for your response. I would like to assert that the gospel is not relative as you seem to say. There is only one gospel-one good news and it is that which Jesus Christ brought and that which the early church preached. Its about God providing salvation from sin (through the substitutionary atonement through the death of his own son). Paul said: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. But do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I could not be a servant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ,” (Gal. 1:6-12).
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i live in Scottsdale AZ. I have yet to find a church that is not seeker friendly. I feel like i am so depressed about it.
Welcome to the club. Now pray for those communities that God would open the eyes of those who are blind.