Adapting Gospel to culture in the pulpit a slippery slope

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: I pastor a good size congregation, but there are many pressuring me to adapt my message to appeal to culture so that we might grow in number. I believe this is dangerous. Am I wrong? — S.P.
Dear S.P.: Adapting the Gospel to culture in the pulpit is a slippery slope. The message of Jesus Christ is the same and never changes with the times. Jesus spoke to a disbelieving world when He walked on earth. Illustrations certainly can be utilized to emphasize God’s truth but the message of Christ is always the same.
Jesus never changed His message to appeal to the sinner. Jesus did not change His message when He spoke to Nicodemus and said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). He did not change His message when He spoke to the rich young ruler and said, “Follow Me,” (Matthew 19:21). He did not change His message when He spoke to Zacchaeus and said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He did not change His message to the adulterous woman, but said, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He did not change His message when He spoke to Satan: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
There is a great counterfeiter [Satan] who adapts himself to every culture, even deceiving true believers at times. Preaching the whole counsel of God is critical. If the church returned to the task of proclaiming the Gospel it would see people being converted to Christ, and it would have a far greater impact on the social, moral, and psychological needs of people than anything else.
Be faithful to God’s calling and like the disciples when they began preaching, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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