Timothy Dalrymple, writing for Patheos, points to an interesting tension in our assumptions about Christianity today. Commenting on John Wilson’s Wall Street Journal “Houses of Worship” series, Dalrymple singled out what he thought to be the most striking paragraph:
Consider the alleged exodus of young people from the church. “We won’t lose students because we didn’t entertain them,” said the dreadlocked Philadelphia activist and preacher Shane Claiborne on Twitter. “We will lose them because we haven’t given the FULL gospel.” Mr. Claiborne’s comment made me think of another gifted preacher, Jesus, who also met with a mixed reception. “From that moment,” we read in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel—after Jesus said that “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” — “many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.”
Many do believe that the droves of young people leaving (or never attending) churches has much to do with the quality of the message delivered: If all we receive from the pulpit is lukewarm encouragement to be nice, it’s no wonder why people don’t show up. But it’s also not quite true that, if we only had preachers who told the hard truth in charity, people would be attracted. Consider John 6: “The greatest preacher in the history of Christianity drove them away by the thousands.”
Read more here.