Muddying the Message

Today's verse always pricks me.

"…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of God" —Romans 10:17.

In our desperate attempt to reach people, to be "relevant," we oftentimes run the risk of wrapping the Word of God up in such brilliant and innovative packaging that the message gets missed.

In our desire to not offend and chase people away from truth, we sometimes dilute that truth so much that even when people are attracted to it, they find it lacking in the essential ingredients that made it truth in the first place.

I read a recent blog on a Christianity Today website that featured a video of Dr. John Piper talking about preaching. During his interview, Dr. Piper emphasized the importance of preaching as opposed to the more "entertainment" type methods used to present the Gospel. The comments posted were quite hard on Dr. Piper. Several accused him of being against drama, for example, even though he said during the interview that he thought drama was a good tool, and he personally enjoyed it. He just didn't want it to replace preaching on a Sunday morning.

Though I might not be quite as rigid as Dr. Piper (he IS a preacher, after all) when it comes to the supremacy of the pulpit over everything else, Paul's statement reminds us that whatever method we use to present the gospel needs to BE gospel. If we disguise or compromise the message to the extent that it can't be found we are defeating our own purpose.

What Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:8 applies here: "…if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?"

An orchid corsage is often delivered in a clear plastic box so that its beauty can be appreciated before the person receiving it can pin it on. May our means of delivering the beautiful message of salvation be delivered in clear packaging as well.


  1. Oh - this is such a GOOD point. That message HAS to be clear - and there is nothing like "telling it like it is." Great stuff. (guessing you made it home? Praying so!)


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