And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power. - 1Corinthians 2: 1-5 (NIV)
Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Why can we be so simple? Because any discussion of the crucifixion requires a discussion of sin and the resurrection. Any discussion of sin requires a discussion of heaven and hell. Any discussion of the resurrection requires a discussion of the deity of Christ and our reconciliation to God. That is it beloved. That is all that is required. Faith in Jesus Christ as God and His finished work on the cross to wash our sins away before a holy God. The entire Gospel message boiled down to five simple words - Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
When I speak about the dumbing down of the Gospel it is the dumbing down of this essential message. Realize that no matter how persuasive a preacher might be he has no power to save anyone. He has no words to save anyone. Only the Gospel has the power to save:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. - Romans 1: 16 (NIV)
So when I speak about the dumbing down of the Gospel I am speaking about people who preach things that seek to undermine this message. Realize that when you hide some of this message you are hiding salvation from people. When you add to it you are muddying the chances for someone to be saved. When you distract from it you are leading people away from it. Modern theories of church growth have confused their purpose to be growing the church when they are supposed to be growing the kingdom. When you have preachers who preach hyper-grace for example they take away sin from the equation. Seeker friendly churches do not discuss sin, the crucifixion, the blood, or the need for repentance - all of which are in this simple Gospel message - because they think it might offend someone who is unsaved. The purpose driven model no longer refers to them as unsaved, opting instead for "unchurched." What these false teachers fail to understand is the true Gospel was meant to offend!
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ""a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. - Matthew 10: 34-39 (NIV)
When all you want to preach is the love of God you are overlooking a huge portion of the true Gospel, in all of its simplicity. People have to choose beloved. They must choose. C.S. Lewis once said:
"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it.
But not according to the charlatans who dumb down the Gospel for a living. They sell a fake god. They sell a god who seemingly does not care about sin, never asks us to repent, requires no regeneration of our heart, exists only to bless us and requires nothing in return other than to serve in a ministry, which is labeled our purpose and to pay our tithe, which becomes our measurement of faithfulness and obedience. They can smile in thousand dollar suits and tell you that you are saved but without the entire Gospel message it is unlikely that you are.
The other major force in the dumbing down of the Gospel is the so called prosperity preachers. They add to the true Gospel the notion that God wants His children to all be rich on this earth. They stay way from sin and repentance because those topics do not traditionally translate into high offerings. God become relegated to a spiritual ATM who exists solely to "bless us" repeatedly. This religious ponzi scheme is perpetrated by ripping Scriptures out of context to prop up their false gospel. Which is one reason why we need theologians.
Thus we come full circle in our discussion. Are there too many theologians? I think there are too many wannabe theologians but we can always use more people called by God to divide His Word for His people. I am sure the tweet author did not mean to infer what he did but it is a trend in recent religiosity to steer towards what I have dubbed a "Kumbya Christianity." Where they sell the notion that everyone is on the same team when clearly many are not. Joel Osteen has dubbed doctrine a dirty word and readily admits that he may not even bring a Scripture into his sermon until the very end. Joel Osteen does not have the words that bring eternal life - only God does! But even the most brilliant of theologians can be wrong. I know someone who knows all the ancient Hebraic languages yet thinks Benny Hinn and Joseph Prince are merely "brothers with doctrinal errors." The Bible is very clear. No matter how simple the true Gospel message is we must not allow it to make us lazy in our Christianity. Our role has to be so much more than attending a church or reading a devotional. The Bible teaches us: