Here is the question I’m posing: Is the Gospel a virus? I’m not talking about the spread of the Gospel. I do agree that the spread of the Gospel is, and should be, viral. What I am talking about has more to do with being immune to the Gospel. Let me preface this conversation with a short story about how this question came to mind.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to speak to a group of Christian High School students. Most of these young men and women have been going to a Christian school their whole life. (or at least exposed to Christianity for most of their life) Therefore, most of them have heard the Good News countless times. The topic was “In Christ” from John 15:5 and the organizers asked me if I could gear my talk, or at least part of it, toward students who were inoculated to the Gospel message. I agreed, spoke, it all went pretty well. But I was left with this thought I wasn’t sure about and it was troubling.
Is the Gospel like a virus that we can become inoculated from?
I know what those folks meant by what they said. I understand it well having ministered to kids exposed to Christianity their whole life, as well as teaching in a Christian school to similar students. I understand what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart was saying when he said, “hard-core pornography” was hard to define, but that “I know it when I see it.” To me, this is one of those instances. The problem is that some things need definition. I especially believe something that involves a theological term as important as the Gospel message needs to be defined.
So, this is where we are in the journey. I promise I don’t have all the answers. And the answers I do have I guarantee they are not all the right answers. But, I want to see where this road leads. I know of a couple of places I want to explore along the way.
- What is hardening, like in the case of Pharaoh, and is it the same as inoculation?
- What happens when people are consistently exposed to the Gospel message?
- Can we be inoculated from the message of the Gospel?
- If so, what does that mean?
There you have it… the question that I’m currently wrestling with in my life. I would love to hear any of your initial thoughts. I am going to do some study and I’ll write part two shortly.
Grace and Peace to all of you,