I read a wonderful book several years ago by John MacArthur entitled “Hard to Believe.” I know of no contemporary Pastor who is any more clear on their understanding of the Gospel. This book stays on my “focused” book shelf. If you are wondering - it is the shelf in my study right behind my chair on which I keep books I am currently reading, wanting to read soon or great books I have read but need to keep within reach at all times! “Hard to Believe” is in the great book category - it clearly lays out the gospel as well as the damaging effects of the false gospel that so permeates our culture.
A couple months ago someone sent me an article on a church…a church which was having special days for pets to accompany their owners to church. Many of these owners spoke about what a wonderful worship it was with their dog, cat, or hamster by their side. How far have we fallen in America when our worship is more complete because Fido accompanies us! This event was on my mind as I re-read page 1 of Dr. MacArthur’s book:
…Today this same consumer mind-set has invaded Christianity. The church service is too long, you say? We’ll shorten it (one pastor guarantees his sermons will never last more than seven minutes!). Too formal? Wear you sweatsuit. Too boring? Wait’ll you hear our band!
And if the message is too confrontational, or too judgmental, or too exclusive, scary, unbelievable, hard to understand, or too much anything else for your taste, churches everywhere are eager to adjust that message to make you more comfortable. This new version of Christianity makes you a partner on the team, a design consultant on church life, and does away with old-fashion authority, guilt trips, accountability, and moral absolutes.
The Gospel is truly "Hard to Believe” - it takes a miracle for it to be grasped and embraced. It is a foolish message to the lost, but a miraculous, life changing message to those who receive it. We must never tire of hearing the Gospel, we must never tire of telling the gospel, and we must never tire of studying the gospel. I thank the Lord for putting pastors who get the Gospel right in my life personally and through great books like this. Pastors that present the Gospel not as some deal on a late night infomercial… not as something to add to your life… but something that must BE your life! I thank the Lord to be a part of a congregation who is embracing and articulating it more passionately and consistently day by day.