Gospel shyness

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I’ve noticed a trend over my lifetime and recurring in history. Gospel shyness develops with age.

The longer you’ve been a Christian, the older a Christian movement is, the more reluctant we become about sharing the gospel.

All for the best intentions. We don’t want to Bible-bash. We want to be sensitive to causing offence. We must earn the right to speak. Our lives must speak louder than our words.

Sociologists have also noticed this trend. They call it secularisation. Over time movements tend towards vaguer concepts of the supernatural and surrender claims to an exclusive or superior truth. They also become less strict morally.

The clearer you are about the gospel, the more tension you feel with the surrounding culture. It’s natural to want to lower that tension and fit in. The world wants us to be its chaplain, not its evangelist.

There are two problems with the tendency to become vague about the gospel. One is God’s judgment upon evil. We may not be as bad as we could, but all of us in desperate need of his grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. Next time you feel it is not “loving” to share Jesus with people, remind yourself of this reality affirmed by Jesus himself.

The other problem is the pattern of what Jesus did, what he trained his disciples to do, and what the early church and Paul did. None of them were silent when it came to the gospel. The love of Christ compelled Paul to speak, and suffered as a result. He knew that while many rejected his message, it was life to those who heard and believed.

I've studied movements for twenty-five years. I've never found a dynamic movement that was shy about its message. Shyness is a sure sign of a declining movement.

In your world, how many people will hear the gospel today?