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The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8.32

Diluting the gospel to extend its appeal is disastrous. Some are tempted by the claim that people are happy to embrace, even live by, Christian values but without the religious element - of worship and witness. But the Church has always insisted that, although Jesus' teaching is of the highest moral order, he - himself - is more important. Christianity without Christ at its heart is an empty shell.

However secular society becomes, the gospel message - that we are all hell-deserving sinners until we embrace Jesus as Saviour and Lord, so that his death and resurrection open to us the gates of heaven, his teaching shows the way and his Holy Spirit empowers us to get there - remains good news for all who will receive it. Diluting the message may or may not render it more palatable; it will certainly empty it of power.

The antidote to shrinking churches and demoralised believers is not to soft pedal or shift our focus. As the risen Jesus urged his disciples at the church of Ephesus through the apostle John in Revelation: "Remember your first love!" That first love - of God and of neighbour - will renew our trust in the full gospel of Jesus Christ, our willingness to stand up and be counted as Christians and our desire to proclaim our faith - gently, courageously, sincerely.



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