Photo by Flickr user Andreas Møller, used under Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 2.0.
In the 1981 InterVarsity edition of his book Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People, Will Metzger warned against using a watered-down “feel good” gospel to make Christian faith seem more appealing to unbelievers. He wrote,
May God help us not to contradict the character of God in our witnessing. May the God to whom we witness be consistent with the God we worship. Our evangelism needs to stress a God of holiness whom we worship—not just a God who exists to give us good times and pleasant feelings. We gained redemption through a sovereign Savior rather than through a relationship to him as a mere friend. The life of a Christian is to be radically different from, not relatively similar to, the world. (39)
“God has a wonderful plan for your life!” and “Won’t you give Jesus a chance?” may feel good to say, but that doesn’t mean you should say them. While it doesn’t appear that most Christians have put Metzger’s advice into practice in the decades since he wrote, his advice, whether found in thrift stores like my copy or quoted on Web pages like this one, still summons Christians to renewed obedience, rebuking their easy-believism and church-growth strategies.