There’s an old movie from the 1960s called, Fahrenheit 451. It’s based on the book by Ray Bradbury.
In the movie, the main character, Montag, is a “fireman” of the future whose job is to burn books. Because books are forbidden in that future society.
In one scene, Montag is being interviewed for a promotion by the “fire chief”. The chief goes to the files and pulls out the fireman’s employment records.
Strangely, the records don’t consist of written files; instead, there are only photos. Photos on strips like you would get if you went to one of those photo booths at the mall.
In that dystopian future, people have nothing to read. Words and truths have been set aside. And free, independent thought is outlawed as well.
What better way to control a society than to eliminate the written words that describe all the details of our lives?
Words which define Who we really are.
“All We Need is Jesus”
This world has dealt with many heretical movements including Liberalism, Modernism, Neo-Orthodoxy, Post-Modernism, and many hybrids of those ideas. And in each of those concepts is a foundational principle to reject the specifics of scripture.
Just like we are seeing today in the world’s cultures. And in our churches.
The siren song from many pulpits today is “All we need is Jesus”.
That thinking sounds good. It sounds reasonable – in a pragmatic kind of way. And it sounds thoughtful.
By claiming that we need to only preach “Jesus”. And that all the other stuff is unimportant. Just focus on the “essentials”.
Or that all the details can wait for later. Such as after we bring people to Christ.
Which is the primary way the message is being preached today.
Oh, what are we going to do with all those pesky details from the Bible? With all those things that scare people away from Jesus? With all those things that divide rather than unite people?
It’s as if, to talk about theology or to discuss doctrinal principles is not really essential to the gospel. And that those that demand such things have made doctrine or biblical accuracy an idol.
But HOW does one separate the words of Jesus, the words of God throughout the whole Bible, from the “story of Jesus”?
A story that actually begins with the first words of Genesis. Which Jesus refers to when He says, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?“ (John 5:43-47)
This is where the WHO of Jesus was first established. Where His character and His future return were spoken of specifically. And where the WHAT of salvation in Christ was first promised.
The Ultimate Fruit from Preaching a Minimalist Jesus
It’s just discouraging to watch national leaders, many who are very highly respected and who represent mass organizations of Christians, jump on board and join in with these minimalist ideas about Jesus.
Some of our leaders participate in this thinking to a great extent. While others just kind of go with the flow. Without, apparently, finding any issues with this way of preaching the gospel.
So, what are we supposed to think of that? When so many leaders are seemingly ignorant of, or maybe even fully aware of, this compromised, minimalist-gospel message.
The Lord we preach must be preached in fullness.
If He is not, then we can’t be sure of the fruit that comes from our work – regardless how great the harvest may appear. Which will be incredibly bad for those whom we supposedly bring to Christ.
And also incredibly bad for those believers who are too arrogant to follow all that Jesus has said. Who have made the work of evangelism and the results more important than the Lord and the fullness of His gospel.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19,20)
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