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No Good News without the Bad News

No bad news is not the Good News.

And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

   - Luke 13.2, 3

The wrathful zeal of fire will consume the enemy,
who do not wish to believe that Christ came from God the Father

  - Colum Cille, Altus Prosator, Irish, 6th century

Is it just me or is anyone else getting tired of hearing that we shouldn’t talk about judgment when we’re trying to win people to the Gospel?

The first time I heard someone say this I wrote it off as just the silly musing of someone who didn’t believe in hell, or, at least, didn’t believe that anyone would actually be going there.

But the more I hear it, the more I realize that many, many church leaders are not just forgetting to mention the wrath to come, they’re deliberately omitting it from their repertoire of instruction. And even fewer are willing to talk about the wrath that is even now being poured out on those who scorn the Gospel and prefer vain idols to the living God (Rom. 1.18-32).

But what makes the Good News so good is that it delivers us from the bad news, which is, well, really bad. Jesus Himself said as much. In Luke 10.1-16, for example, He expressly commanded His disciples to proclaim the Kingdom, even to those who didn’t believe it, and to warn any who reject them of the judgment of God to come. Over and over Jesus’ message was the same.

The apostles warned about the coming judgment. The Church Fathers and theologians and Church leaders from every era – like Colum – taught that men must repent or perish in eternal condemnation.

But these days it’s just not the thing to do. And why? Well, because we’re told postmodern people don’t believe in all that stuff. They think it’s silly, and they think we’re silly when we act like, you know, we believe in such things.

And we wouldn’t want to look silly in front of sophisticated, young, postmoderns now, would we? Of course not. So we’ll just keep denying and omitting a central part of the Good News that Jesus preached because, after all, we know better than the Lord and the apostles and our Fathers in the faith how to lead people to saving grace.

There is no Good News without the bad news from which the Good saves us. We must not allow the unbelief of our age to dictate the content of the message we communicate with them. They already don’t believe the Gospel. We compound their unbelief if we cater to it rather than confront it in love.

And it’s not loving to refuse to warn people that the bridge is out on their chosen path in life, and no one other than Jesus can rescue them from the eternal precipice toward which they’re heading.

Psalm 2.9-12 (Agincourt: “O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!”)
To Christ the Lord be given all who humbly embrace Him and on Him call.
Be wise, be warned: His judgment comes to break the prideful, sinful ones.

Rejoice with fear in Jesus’ grace, and worship before His exalted face!
Beware His anger and judgment grim: How blest are all who rest in Him!

Thank You, Lord, for delivering me from the bad news by the free gift of the Good. Make me a faithful messenger of the Good News to the people around me each day.

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T. M. Moore, Principal
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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