Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Extreme Christianity

Don't settle for communicating a domesticated version of the gospel.
Although perhaps beautiful to look at, there are fewer sights more pitiful than a caged tiger or an eagle with its wings clipped.

Likewise, a domesticated gospel serves little more purpose than a relic to be observed. How is the gospel being domesticated? you ask. Consider these factors:

  • a growing familiarity with the evangelical subculture as defined through television, music and movies
  • a pluralistic climate that blurs the lines of distinction between Christianity and its false counterparts in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism
  • an increasing resistance toward any expression of faith that would be perceived as offensive or intolerant of other beliefs.

    These emerging trends threaten to rub the rough edges off the divisive (but life-giving) message that should be the core of our ministries.

    In an effort to make the gospel more palatable, some of us have avoided topics such as sin, hell and the second coming, downplaying the controversial and mysterious nature of the God we serve.

    In this issue of Ministries Today, we address several of these difficult topics in hopes that you will be challenged to persevere in presenting an authentic--and relevant--gospel in an increasingly hostile environment:

  • Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron ("Afflicting the Comfortable," p. 18) are two examples of people who are doing just that. When they hit the streets with a handful of tracts and a pocketful of chutzpa, neither fit the mold of a stereotypical evangelist. In fact, their day-to-day contact with unbelievers has given them an easy familiarity that makes witnessing seem natural--whether in Times Square or at a rock-'n'-roll festival.
  • Ken Walker's exploration of "What America Believes About Hell" (p. 28) indicates a confusion in convictions about eternal punishment: Many (non-Christians included) believe in a literal hell, but most are convinced that it is not their final destination.
  • In his "Conversation" (p. 44) with R.T. Kendall, Oral Roberts contends that the second coming of Christ is more imminent than ever and that teaching on this topic must return as the centerpiece of the pulpit. For Roberts, it is the amazing love of God demonstrated on the cross that should motivate this revived emphasis.

    You on the frontlines of ministry are in our prayers--that God will strengthen and empower you for another year of Spirit-led service in His kingdom.

    When you're tempted to adopt a safer, domesticated Christianity, may you choose a more extreme--and biblical--version of the gospel. And may you always experience a little healthy discomfort as you keep sight of a fiery hell, a bloody cross and the One "who was, and is and is coming" (Rev. 4:8, CEV).


    Matthew Green is managing editor of Ministries Today. He invites your comments and questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
  • Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

    Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

    Your Turn

    Comment Guidelines
    • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

      Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

      Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

    • Some of the toughest lessons reap the greatest rewards.

      10 Tough Lessons Every Pastor Should Remember in Ground-Shaking Trials

      One is that your suffering may turn out to be the highest compliment the Father ever gave you.

    • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

      Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

    • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

      This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

      God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

    • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

      Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

      Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

    • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

      Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

    • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

      7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

      These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

    • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

      Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

      It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

    • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

      The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

      And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

    Use Desktop Layout
    Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders