- to make (a liquid) thinner or weaker by the addition of water or the like.
- to make fainter, as a color.
- to reduce the strength, force, or efficiency of by admixture. –verb (used without object)
- to become diluted. –adjective
- reduced in strength, as a chemical by admixture; weak: a dilute solution.
This is what the western, modern church is doing to the gospel. It is making the gospel weaker, fainter, inefficient and easy!
I was reading a post by the Calvinist Gadfly and thought to myself: "That is exactly what I want to say!"
The gospel that is preached today in many churches is more about self-help programs than the Biblical gospel itself! What can be heard in churches today are sermons like: "5 Steps to a happy marriage," "8 Steps to becoming a prayer warrior," "How to become a successful leader," "How to raise good children" and many more...
In my post, Reformation Needed Today, I wrote the following:
"The world around us is falling apart and still, many pastors want so much for people to like them in order to draw the crowds. In order for people to like them, these pastors must as a consequence get rid of all the offensive material in the gospel, and end up drawing the crowds with nothing but the elements of the world itself. In the end, what are these people getting saved towards? Definitely not the gospel and Jesus Christ! These preachers simply attract people to 'all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions,' which 'is not from the Father but is from the world' (1 Jn 2:16 ESV)."
Gadfly wrote it much more succinct than I did: "What you win them with is what you win them to."
The point is, if you preach a diluted, weak gospel, devoid of the truth of the Biblical gospel, then your converts will be diluted, weak, devoid of the truth.
The fact that preachers think they could preach a watered down gospel in order to get people, show 3 things at least:
- The preacher does not believe in the God of the Bible.
- The preacher is concerned with the numbers of the church more than with the real salvation of the people in the church.
- The preacher is concerned with the size of his salary.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,  "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luk 14:25-27)
Perhaps Jesus did not know of the psychological advances made since Freud and Jung?! Or, maybe, just maybe, He gave us an example of how to preach the gospel! Yet, when many modern preachers deliver their sermons, they appeal to what Gadfly calls "creaturely-centeredness." It is this self-centered gospel that leads its adherents to believe that they could manipulate God like some pagan god with the correct mantras and rituals. This gospel contains no sense of self-denial!
What these preachers do is to give good advice toward self-help and self-esteem programs. However, it leads to deception and in the end, I am sad to say, no-one is saved! If people are won over by self-help and self-esteem programs, that would be what their salvation turns out to be. This is not the salvation promised by Jesus!
The modern church has made the gospel all about us. It is for that reason that many people see their own testimonies as the gospel itself. They have forgotten that the gospel is about the One that made salvation available. It is for this very reason that when preachers dilute the gospel that they once again show their unbelief in the very One that provided the gospel!
Maybe next time we think about the power of the gospel we should rather think about the power to take up our cross than think about some self-centered reason why we should have more in this life to make us feel better!