Bulletin

The Gospel Cries Out
 From the Back Seat

by Doy Moyer

The devil is the master of distraction as well as deception. He will twist truth so that the vital becomes the moderately important (if that). He knows just where and how to do this, too, and social media plays well into his hands. While there are those who desperately try to prove the gospel false, the devil knows that this isn’t necessary. All he has to do is make it less important than other matters. He simply needs to offer distractions, and he’s very good at that.

The gospel is being treated like a child that is put in the back seat of a car while those in front fight over who gets the wheel, who gets to navigate, and who answers the endless stream of texts while they bury their heads deep into their phones. The “adults” are fighting, if not outright brawling, over politics, sports, guns, flags, the latest fashions, and whatever else they can sink their teeth into. Someone is wrong on the internet, and they are not going to let it go. Meanwhile, the gospel is in the back seat crying out, “Hello, can you guys hear me? Can I say something? Won’t you listen?” As wisdom calls and understanding lifts up her voice (Prov 8:1), so the gospel cries out to be heard. The response is predictable. “We hear you, but…”

“Lord, permit me first to bury my political enemies.” “Lord, I want to follow, but this guy over here said something really dumb and I have to prove how ignorant he is.” Like the rest of the world, we go toe to toe, offering insult for insult, unkindness for unkindness, sinking into the mud with the foulest of them. “Yes, I’m a Christian. Now give that carnal tactic and let me at ‘em.” We’ve turned Christianity into a political movement rather than a spiritual relationship.

What parent of the forgotten child will say, “I don’t love you”? Yet we do say it by our actions. A child who is continually ignored, treated as irrelevant, with no one who cares to listen, will know well enough that love isn’t in the equation regardless of what is said.

How can we love God and His gospel while we are dividing over politics, flags, and American patriotism? How can we spread good news while showing the world how distracted we are by the next issue? And make no mistake. There will always be the next issue. The devil will make sure of that because it’s how he can keep us distracted from paying attention to the gospel.

Perhaps we justify what we do because it’s not inherently wrong. Yet even “respectable worldliness” will take hold of us and divide our hearts. Even if an activity is not in itself sinful, we allow it to distract us to the point that we are no longer paying attention to the gospel message. We’ve put the gospel into the back seat like a child with whom we have little intention to interact. Oh, perhaps one day out of the week we’ll let it sit up front.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). What is in the world easily becomes a source of lust for us. We crave the tabloids over truth, speculation over scripture, and chaos over Christ. We are the spectators at the gladiator games shouting out death for the defeated. And we love to have it so.

Christians should know better. We are called to have a heart of compassion (Col 3:12), to act with wisdom toward those who are outside of Christ (Col 4:5), to speak with love and grace. The sword of the Spirit will cut down faulty arguments, to be sure, but that sword is not to be shared with carnal weapons that insult, demean, and consume without mercy.

Brethren, I truly fear the apparent direction to which we have turned ourselves. The gospel is crying out from the back seat. It’s time to return the message of Christ to its rightful place. “Christ and Him crucified” is the message before all else.

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