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Is the Gospel Seeker Friendly? An Interview with John MacArthur & Phil Johnson

Selected Scriptures GTY87

2003

JOHN MacARTHUR: Hello there, this is John MacArthur, Bible teacher on Grace To You. It’s my joy to welcome you to this very special Friday edition. As you can already tell, we’re breaking from our usual format and you’re in for a bit of a different experience today.

For the past couple of weeks on Grace To You, as you know if you’ve been listening, you’ve been hearing me teach a brand-new series of lessons that I call “Hard to Believe.” Well that’s also the title of my newest book, Hard To Believe. The thrust of the series and the new book, just this, that many of today’s churches have abandoned the gospel message that Jesus Himself taught, a hard-to-believe message that included self-denial and some very difficult demands. Instead, they’ve offered up an easy man-centered, non-confrontational gospel that focuses on meeting people’s felt needs in their desire for self-fulfillment. In other words, I’ve been saying many in today’s church are being offered a different gospel then the one found in Scripture and with dire and even damning results.

Well, as you can imagine, my series in the new book have raised some urgent questions in people’s minds about the gospel and about the church’s approach to evangelism. So for the next half hour I’m going to sort of be on the hot seat. Phil Johnson, the executive director here at Grace To You is in the studio with me to represent you, really, the listeners and probe some of the questions you might have as a result of this study.

Phil, welcome.

PHIL JOHNSON: Thanks, John. I do have some questions for you. I’ve read the book and it’s a wonderful book, by the way.

JOHN: Thank you.

PHIL: And it really epitomizes your message over the years, it sums up much of what you’ve taught for years so it’s nothing new. But this book and this series, Hard to Believe, cuts across the grain of so many segments of evangelical Christianity today that I know we have many listeners who are going to be eager to ask you some questions, some specific questions that have come up as a result of what you have been saying. So I’ll get to those questions in a minute, but to launch this discussion, why don’t you give us a quick summary of the book and tell listeners where the idea for Hard To Believe came from.

And why this book and why now?

JOHN: Well, you know, that question could take me a long time to answer because I’d have to go back many years. Let me just start with when I was a seminary student. You know, when we were in seminary and we were being trained to go out into ministry and there were certain sensibilities and sensitivities and issues in the world and in the Christian culture at the time that the seminary sort of felt they needed to armor us for. So we were prepared to fight certain battles, you know, the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Jesus Christ, eschatology, ecclesiology, church order. And so, you know, we were sort of armed to expect that there were going to be battles on certain fronts.

But I’ll tell you something. One thing I never expected was that I would spend most all of my ministry life trying to protect the gospel from evangelicals.

PHIL: Wow!

JOHN: Nobody ever warned me about that. But, you know, that really, Phil, has been the definitive nature of my ministry beyond Grace Community Church where I pastored. First, I became greatly distressed at the “no lordship” gospel and I wrote a book called The Gospel According To Jesus which dealt with that issue and turned out to be a massive best seller because the issue was a lot bigger than people thought. Then there were books written against that book, so I responded with The Gospel According to the Apostles.

Then the “seeker-friendly” movement came in so I wrote a book called Ashamed of the Gospel, trying to get the church to get back to the gospel. And now I realize that the evangelical world is filled with people who sit in churches who think they understand the gospel and think they believe the gospel and maybe think they’re saved, but what they have believed is a cheap substitute for the real thing.

Past the arguments of theologians, past the debates in seminaries, past the rhetoric between writers of books, we now come to the reality that sitting in churches all over this country and other parts of the world where this stuff has been exported are people who are deceived about their spiritual condition. And this book was written to speak not to the theological debate, but to speak to the guy or the gal sitting in the pew who is deceived about their spiritual condition because they’ve been given a cheap substitute for the gospel.

PHIL: Yeah, I noticed when I read it, there’s not that sort of polemic side to it, but it’s just a straightforward exposition of the texts of Scripture. Powerful stuff but you sort of draw together all the threads of what you said in Ashamed of the Gospel, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ.

JOHN: Yeah. Well it’s a different style. I mean, the first chapter is titled, “Taste great, less filling.” You couldn’t get away with that in a theological discussion. But, I mean, the idea is to appeal to the person out there. The book is written to be read in a fast pace. It’s alive. It’s...I think it’s actually kind of electrifying. It’s a different style for me. It’s trying to get to that reader who is not going to sit down and read a polemical theological argument, but the truth is put in terms that I think are going to grip the heart and the mind of people and show them what the true gospel is. And not only for the people who may be self-deceived, but for people who are responsible to proclaim the gospel who are having that whittled down and they need to sharpen their understanding of the truth.

PHIL: Well, let’s explain the title a bit. When you say “Hard to believe,” you’re talking about the gospel, right?

JOHN: Yeah, the gospel is hard to believe. You would think today that it was easy to believe, easy to become a Christian. We talk about easy believism. Bonhoffer coined the term “cheap grace.” You know, we’ve reduced the gospel to slick little formulas and mottos and slogans and cute little invitations and organ music and slick little motivational experienced and things to move people into some easy acceptance of the gospel.

The gospel is hard to believe. The reason it’s hard to believe is because the cross is hard to believe. That’s part of it and I deal with that in the book. But I think most notably what makes it hard to believe is that in order to truly believe the gospel, a person has to overthrow their whole sense of self. In other words, they have to literally come to the conviction that they are not what they think they are. In other words, it’s the fact that instead of accepting yourself as you are, instead of being proud about what you are, instead of feeling that you need to fulfill yourself and you need to raise your self-esteem, the gospel really says you have to deny yourself. You have to literally kill yourself. Jesus actually said, “You have to hate yourself, everything you are.” That’s what makes it so hard to swallow the gospel. And that’s what is, I think, very carefully being omitted from the gospel because that’s such a scandalous and offensive message. I mean, after all, Jesus comes to a synagogue, and I point this out, deal with it in the book, first time He has ever preached He preaches one sermon in His hometown synagogue to His family, His friends, people He grew up with and they try to kill Him after one sermon. Talk about making people mad. And it wasn’t heaven that made them mad, and it wasn’t forgiveness of sin that made them mad, it was the indictment of their true wretched spiritual condition that infuriated them. And that is the part of the gospel that the natural man can’t swallow. And that’s what makes it so hard to believe because you’ve got to go there and admit that.

PHIL: So let’s just be clear. You’re not saying this is something new. I mean, the gospel has always been the gospel. You’re not...are you saying that the message today is harder to believe than it ever has been? Or...

JOHN: No, it’s not any new message. God, forbid. What I’m trying to do is go back to the original old message and let the old message inform people who are buying into the new gospel. What we have today floating out there in the market-minded, church-growth movement is a synthetic gospel. It’s a fabrication of marketing guys, people who are trying to find what sells. And it’s not the true gospel. I’m not offering a new gospel. What I’m doing is taking people back to the only gospel that exists, and bringing that gospel to bear against what is essentially a new gospel being offered today.

PHIL: Now you’ve talked about self-denial, and self-abandonment. The minute you use terms like that, there are people today who would respond by saying, “Well then you’re making a gospel of works. You’re denying the grace in the gospel. If I have to abandon myself and deny myself, isn’t that a work I must do?”

JOHN: No, there’s no work that you can do. In fact...that’s just a...that’s like a straw man, that’s just inventing something that doesn’t exist. What we’re talking about when we say it’s hard to believe is just saying you have to allow yourself to accept the biblical diagnosis of your life and who you are. You have to respond simply to the real, convicting work of the truth and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Was there any works in the publican who falls on his face, pounds his breast, won’t lift up his eyes so much as to look even upward and cries beating on his chest, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner?”

PHIL: No, in fact he was admitting there was no work that he could possibly do.

JOHN: No work at all. All he’s saying is, “I need mercy. I accept the diagnosis.”

I’ve been reading a book on the..some of the men who did the King James translation and one of them that fascinates me, this is back in 1603 to 1611, is a man named Lancelot Andrews. This is a Christian man who was given charge of a group of twelve people who did a whole section of the translation of the King James. And it was said of him by all his contemporaries that he had this amazing personal discipline. He spent five hours every day..the first five hours after waking, before dawn, the first five hours in prayer and all five hours in prayers of penitence, all five hours rehearsing his utter unworthiness before God. And he did this as a habit of life, not at the day he was converted to Christ. And what he was simply...this is so far from anything we could imagine today, was bringing himself before God in the realization that here he was with the responsibility to translate the Word of the living God in what would be the Authorized Version, the only acceptable official version for all the people who spoke English and understanding the utter inability of his own natural talents, insights, wisdom and nature, just desperately confessing to God and then pleading for God to fill in with the necessary grace to be able to achieve this task. We’re not talking about a works situation, we’re talking about abandoning oneself totally to the reality that you bring nothing to bear and are desperately dependent upon God.

PHIL: One of the most popular movements in the church today is this movement called, “Seeker Sensitivity,” seeker sensitive church growth approach where the idea is to make the unbeliever feel as comfortable as possible in church. That just seems like the very opposite of what you’re talking about here.

JOHN: It is the very opposite of what I’m talking about. The only way that a person can be saved is to feel miserable, to feel terrible, to feel angry at the diagnosis. As I said, I go back to that so often in Luke 4, Jesus preached one sermon, indicted the people and they tried to kill Him. Eventually they did kill Him, the whole country rose up and killed Him. All the religious leaders killed Him. They didn’t kill Him because He promised them heaven and they didn’t want heaven. They didn’t kill Him because He promised them joy and peace and happiness. They didn’t kill Him because He, you know, told them that they were going to be better priests and better Pharisees and Sadducees and they’d have a happier life and a better marriage and their kids would get along better. They killed Him because He told them they were wretched sinners who could do nothing to redeem themselves and they needed to fall on their faces and cry out to God for mercy. And the other side of that, Luke 18 passage, is the Pharisee who is in there and what is his prayer? “Lord, I thank You that I’m not like other men, I fast and I tithe, and I do all this and I keep the Law.” And Jesus said, the other man went home justified, not that man. And that’s what infuriates the sinner is the diagnosis. The sooner you get to the diagnosis, the better. And schmoozing people based upon their felt needs misses the point. Jesus never preached a sermon on anybody’s personal disappointments. Never preached a sermon on anybody’s personal disillusionment, on anybody’s personal addictions, or personal abuse. He never called for people in a bad marriage to come to Him so He could fix their life. He never called for people who were struggling with their career. He never did that. Paul never did that. No apostle ever did that. You won’t find a model for that on the pages in the New Testament.

What He did do was very clear when He said, “I haven’t come to call the righteous, I’ve come to call sinners to repentance.” And so the message of the gospel is you’re a sinner and it all boils down to that one great verse which much of the book is based on, Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself.” All your self-assessment, the way you view yourself, all your dreams, ambitions, desires, hopes, lusts, longings, you deny them all. In other words, the Greek language there is really powerful. The verb “deny” is to refuse to associate with. And what the sinner has to say is, “I refuse to associate any longer with the person that I am.” I mean, that is just powerful. And that’s what the gospel demands and calls for. You deny yourself, you take up your cross which means you put your life on the line even if it means death, and you follow Christ. Which is to say, “I’m not in charge anymore, this is the end of me. This isn’t going to make me all I want to be, this is the end of me and I will follow Christ wherever He leads. He is now the sovereign of my life.”

You know, this is nothing more than the cost of discipleship. This is a call for people to understand that the cost of discipleship is really the cost of salvation.

PHIL: Now let’s be clear. You’re talking about the message here that we preach to unbelievers. You wouldn’t argue that we should...that we should do things to make unbelievers uncomfortable in church? For example, we have padded pews and air-conditioning in our church, it’s the message you’re talking about.

JOHN: Well that’s as much for the preacher as it is for the sinners.

PHIL: You’re talking about tampering with the message. Is it possible, do you think, to have this sort of seeker-sensitive mentality and not tamper with the message? Is it possible to preach faithfully the gospel and be driven by a concern about what makes unbelievers comfortable?

JOHN: Well, I think you can make them comfortable physically. I think you can make them comfortable kind of emotionally. I mean, in other words, you can speak the truth in love. And I mean, you need to do that. I just don’t think if you’re going to preach the true gospel you can make them comfortable spiritually. I think it’s very dis-quieting, troubling, disturbing.

I did a funeral recently for a dear friend who died suddenly and he was involved in the Hollywood industry and the church was...well, I think you were there. The church was packed with all these Hollywood people.

PHIL: Right.

JOHN: And I got some interesting feedback. Some people were infuriated. One memo that came to me said, “Who in the world does this guy think he is to stand up in public and speak the way he spoke?”

Now the church was air-conditioned. It’s a beautiful place. We had glorious music, you remember.

PHIL: Right.

JOHN: The seats are comfortable. The PA system works fine. All the better, right? All the better because you’ve got no excuse not to listen to the message.

PHIL: That’s right.

JOHN: So we’re not advocating misery. I’m not saying we should have, you know, right angled wooden benches, you know, and everybody in there sweating and make it as miserable as possible and have an off-key soprano sing. What we’re talking about here is we cannot allow ourselves to make the sinner comfortable spiritually.

PHIL: And what you’re saying is that this obsession with the unchurch person’s comfort has affected the message.

JOHN: No question.

PHIL: With modern evangelicals proclaim.

JOHN: Exactly right. You know, everybody’s...you go to a pastors’ conference today and it’s about the parking and it’s about the latte machines and it’s about the seats and it’s about the music and the style and make sure they can really...they can really jive with the style, you know, that it’s a style they’re comfortable with. And we’ve got them all schmoozed. And once you start becoming preoccupied with that, you have to stop at some point and you’ve got to stop with all that stuff...short of the message. But that just doesn’t seem to happen. That move to make the sinner comfortable eventually embraces the message. In fact, many of these churches are having people in the congregation develop the sermons and so the pastor becomes something like an actor who gets up and based upon a committee-made sermon gives the sermon that the people themselves have invented.

PHIL: Wow, I can’t imagine you doing that.

JOHN: No. Well, you know what? You have to ask this question. Who’s called here? I would venture to say, and this may be a bold statement to make, that there are many people in churches like that who are neither called to preach, nor gifted to preach. They’re...you know, they’re like, I don’t know, personalities, and they can...they can give out with some glibness the sort of message that the culture and the congregation has put together for them and they can adjust it and tweak it. But that’s very different than a man of God who goes into the Word of God and by the power of the Spirit of God operating through the Word and his own heart comes out with a message from God.

I mean, that’s...what is that? I don’t know..there isn’t even a biblical definition for that. So you...the New Testament pattern is that a man called by God, gifted by God, prepared by God who studies the Word of God deeply comes out and speaks in behalf of God, not in behalf of a committee of people in the congregation who have tweaked this deal so that it appeals to the people they rub elbows with.

PHIL: Yeah. Well, you’re listening to Grace To You with Bible teacher, John MacArthur. I’m Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace To You. And I’m in the studio talking with John today about some questions that have been raised by his new book and our recent series entitled, Hard To Believe.

John, I’ve read the book and the point you’re making is not really an obscure one in Scripture, is it? Even as you mentioned, when Jesus preached, people hated what He said. Even the Apostle Paul said that the gospel is a stumbling block, it’s an offense.

JOHN: Well, I mean, you know, let’s be honest, Phil, we sat down when the book was finished and what did we say? We said, “It’s too long.” Remember that discussion? And we took five chapters out. Five chapters that deal with the same issue from different texts. It’s all over the place.

I read yesterday a little article about a Christian man in a Muslim country. He...just recently. He proclaimed his faith, he’s the father of five children. Some local people in his town took him out and slaughtered him. It changed nothing in his family. The little church in that Muslim town knelt together to celebrate his home going and reaffirmed their own faithfulness to the gospel.

PHIL: Wow.

JOHN: This is nothing new. This is Christian history. More Christians are dying today for the gospel than at any other period of time in history, by the tens of thousands, many in Muslim countries and other countries where there is severe execution.

PHIL: That’s amazing. We’re so isolated from that in our American evangelicalism.

JOHN: Well the whole American...you know, this whole deal only works in America. You can’t sell this seeker-friend deal in another country in the world, you can’t sell a Third World country. I’ll tell you something else, you can’t sell it below the tracks. You can’t sell it in impoverished areas of America. It’s a...it’s a yuppie message and it’s...what I say..it’s a designer kind of gospel that strips the real truth out. So this isn’t nothing new, it’s all over Scripture, it’s everywhere in Scripture. As I said, we took chapters out just to make the book more brief so people wouldn’t get bogged down. But it’s just the history of the church, the gospel that’s always come with a great price. The price is the end of my life and sometimes that’s physical.

I mean, I’ve ministered in Russia for years and years and years and I remember one American evangelical group went over there and they...they met with some leaders and they went around and visited. And they met with the churches and they said, “Ah, we decided we’re not going to work with the churches...”

PHIL: Really....

JOHN: “Cause it’s filled with little old ladies and we don’t think we can reach this culture with little old ladies.”

And I said to this guy, I said, “Do you know why the church is full of little old ladies? Because the little old men were exiled to Siberia or executed. You better learn something from those little old ladies about what it means to be a Christian.”

Well they tried an enterprise, you remember that, all over Russia and it was a massive failure. They tried to sort of import over there the kind of things they do over here. So...I just think that suffering for the gospel is part of it. We just happen to live in a country where we’re not called upon to pay the kind of price that many Christians around the world are.

PHIL: No, and in fact it seems to me that in many venues of some of these mega churches, the softened approach to preaching the gospel with all the hard bits eliminated has drawn huge crowds. It’s widely successful in many contexts. Do you ever...are you ever concerned that by preaching the gospel as you’ve outlined it in this book that you actually may be driving people away?

JOHN: You know, my responsibility is not to draw a crowd. If I want to draw a crowd, I’d have dancing ladies and pink elephants and give away money. I mean, it’s easy to draw a crowd. Or go to a football game, there’s a crowd there. It’s not about a crowd. I mean...what would you say about Jesus? You know, at the end of His Galilean ministry when He had risen from the dead and went to Galilee to meet them, there were 500. Five hundred and I’ll tell you what, He did some pretty convincing things, right? My goodness, He banished disease from Israel. He did miracle after miracle, day after day after day after day He proved who He was. His preaching was unlike the teaching of anybody else ever. I mean, going to a meeting where Jesus was the speaker would be beyond description, right?

PHIL: Right.

JOHN: I mean, you see lame people walk and blind people see and deaf people hear and dead people out of the grave, and, you know, when you get hungry He creates food. And then when He wants to go somewhere else, He walks on water. I mean, you talk about drawing a crowd and He did...but at the end of the day and when it came time for the heads to be counted, after the resurrection there were 500. And in Jerusalem after one year and then after the Galilean ministry, came back and many more months in Judea, there were 120 gathered in the upper room. ..120. And when the whole church launches after the ministry of Jesus, the first day that the church was really filled with the Holy Spirit and it took its sort of original shape, 3,000 people believed. One meeting, 3,000 believed and then it starts to multiply rapidly. And it has always struck me how interesting it is that the apostles saw the church grow faster than Jesus did. So you don’t ever want to compare somebody’s numbers with somebody else’s. It’s really about faithfulness to the truth. The apostles also, as you well know, alienated their communities, even though God was in His purpose building the church and they almost all were martyred for their faithfulness to the gospel message.

PHIL: Let me ask you the opposite question. Why would anyone respond to a message that’s so hard? How do you explain the multitudes over the centuries who have responded to the true gospel?

JOHN: Because the Holy Spirit of God is convicting their hearts. They are spiritually dead. What are you going to do for somebody who is dead? You know, you might as well go into a mortuary, go into the room with all the dead bodies and tell everybody to get up as to go into a room full of sinners and by your own wisdom and cleverness try to raise the spiritually dead. The spiritually dead are only going to have life if God gives it to them. The spiritually blind are only going to have sight if God gives it to them. The spiritually ignorant, the natural man who understand not the things of God are only going to come to the understanding of the truth if God in His grace grants it to him. And God has clearly laid out in Scripture that He alone gives life to the dead, that He alone gives sight to the blind, that He alone gives knowledge to the ignorant.

And He does that by means of the preaching of Scripture truth. So my responsibility is not to figure out clever ways to raise dead people, clever ways to make blind people see or ignorant people to understand. My responsibility is to proclaim clearly the truth of God which then becomes the means by which the Spirit of God does His work.

PHIL: It is really the foundation of what you’re saying, isn’t it?

JOHN: Oh, that’s the foundation of the whole Christian gospel. That’s the whole story of redemption. I mean, it’s all of God and not of us. It is God who determined to reconcile sinners. It is God who devises the plan, who writes the names down before the foundation of the world in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It is God who determines that He’s going to send His Son into the world to be a sacrifice for sin. It is God who comes to Mary and creates the seed in Mary. It is God who brings about the virgin birth. It is God who pre-determines the cross. It is God who raises Jesus from the dead. It is God who sends the Holy Spirit. It is God who gives the life. And all He asks us to do is go out there and present the message, the true message.

PHIL: And, in fact, don’t you think that what underlies this notion that we need to make the gospel as approachable and comfortable for people as possible, what underlies that is the misconception a lot of people that somehow it’s my duty as the evangelist of the preacher or the Christian to win people to Christ by making Him more acceptable to them, or more popular to the crowds, or whatever?

JOHN: Yeah, again you’re inventing Christ. I was on Larry King that night and I was with Father Manning, a priest, and he kept saying, “My Jesus isn’t like that, and my Jesus isn’t like that.”

I said, “Look, you don’t have a Jesus. There is Jesus period, not yours and mine or anybody else’s.” I think I said, “You can’t make a designer Jesus,” either on the air or off the air. You can’t...you don’t invent Jesus. He is who He is. So we’re not trying to make a Jesus that’s acceptable.

I really...you know, Phil, I believe that the motivation for this is so warped. We forget this, that the gospel is not about life in this world. That’s got to be made clear. People are really getting confused not only by the Jesus we present, not only by the sort of pulling out the hard parts of it, but we seem to be presenting a gospel that focuses only on life in this world...fix my marriage, you know, fix my family, you know, I don’t like the way I look, help me hit more home runs, or straighten out my slice, bump my career a few notches, I want to feel better about myself, I want to feel better about the future, I want to get all of the little issues in my life fixed. That isn’t what the gospel promises. There isn’t any of that in the gospel.

What the gospel is talking about is the life to come. Talking about eternal life. So when we approach the sinner, first of all here’s where the major comfort comes. How can I really make a sinner comfortable? I want to do that, right? I want to win him over. How am I going to do that?

I’m going to do that by saying this to him. You’re going to die and I’m going to tell you how you can enjoy eternal bliss. I have the best news you have ever heard. I’m going to tell you about heaven, about an unspeakable joy, about eternal life with all its magnificent promises. I’m going to give you the best news there is.

I think that’s the comfortable message of the gospel. That’s how you draw the sinner’s attention. I’m not talking about something temporary, folks, I’m talking about forever. You’re going to spend forever somewhere...here’s hell, here’s heaven and I’m here to tell you, you can spend your eternity in unspeakable, unimaginable, inconceivable happiness, bliss, and joy. Now that’s the comfortable message of the gospel.

But the uncomfortable reality is that you will only be able to do that if you understand that there’s only one way to get there, and that’s to admit you’re a sinner. I do think in presenting the gospel, we’re not just trying to make people feel terrible, we’re trying to offer them something that will make them feel eternally wonderful but the path to getting there is to understand the diagnosis of your condition.

PHIL: So it’s good news but the irony is it’s hard to believe.

JOHN: And let’s be loving about that presentation of heaven and let’s be hopeful. Like when I...that’s what I did at the funeral. I said, “He’s in heaven and you can be there. And here’s what it’s like...” And the guy is furious, not because he hated heaven, but because he hated the diagnosis. So, you know, we need to make the...I think again, the church has not only stopped talking about sin, it stopped talking about eternal life. Everything is about fix me here. The gospel doesn’t promise to fix you here. You may have a bad marriage till you die, you may have bad kids till you die. You may have cancer and die before you thought you’d die. You may lose all your money in the stock market. Your house might burn down. Jesus doesn’t promise to fix that. Contrary to what you hear from health, wealth and prosperity teachers, the only people who seem to get wealthy off that are the people who take your money. The gospel does not promise that. But it does promise eternal life.

PHIL: Well, I wish we could go on, John. We’re almost out of time but I do have one last question for you. Your book, Hard To Believe is available now and people are reading it and soaking in a message that most of them haven’t even heard before. So what would you hope the response would be to this book? What is the one change you need...you believe needs to be made today in terms of our understanding and communication of the gospel message?

JOHN: Great, can I have two things that I want to have come out of that?

PHIL: SURE.

JOHN: One, I want people who think they’re saved and they’re not to hear the truth. I mean, I can’t think of anything more horrible than to be under that deception and delusion. Secondly, I want pastors and evangelists to get it right because we are accountable to God. Stop being so many teachers, the Bible says, for theirs is a greater condemnation. We can be condemned by God for a lot of things as preachers and teachers. We could be disqualified, as Paul says, for a lot of things. The worst would be because we messed up the message.

So, I want this book to get into the hands of the guy in the pew who doesn’t really understand the gospel. I want it to get in the hands of the people in the pulpit who are bound before God to proclaim the truth. And everybody else in between so we all understand what the gospel is so we can do what the Lord has mandated us to do and that is to spread the true gospel around the world. Forget the technique, forget the style, forget the mode, forget the music, forget all the peripheral stuff. We have to get the gospel right and it is not that complicated. It’s, you know, the Old Testament says a wayfaring man, though he be a fool, need not error. Jesus said, “Unless you become as a little child, you can’t enter the Kingdom.” This is not complex, it’s crystal clear but it’s...it’s just not the message we’re hearing today.

Hey, thank you, Phil. That was great. You’re just a great guy to talk with on these issues because you’re so astute as a Bible teacher and preacher yourself. And I’m thankful for our partnership in ministry together. You mean so much to me.

Well, pick up Hard To Believe, folks. That’s all I can say. And you can get it at your Christian bookstore everywhere. You can even get this book, Hard To Believe, at local warehouse club, they’re carrying it as well. If you can’t find it there, call or order from Grace To You.