Defanging the Tiger of Truth by Travis Evans
November 18, 2006, 3:44 pm
Filed under: Evangelism

by Travis Maples


Yesterday I was in a port-a-john as I am usually on construction sites throughout my day selling heavy equipment.  As I was in there, I noticed an inscription on the wall: the three words “God is love.”  That was it.  No sarcastic remarks, no hateful language, no perverse comments, and no Billy loves Susie—just “God is love.”  Now if you have been in as many port-a-johns as I have, you would know that it is strange to have only three words written inside.  As I read them I thought “Nice!  Good!  True!  Right—God is love.”  But as I drove off I thought, “There needs to be more, we can’t stop there with unbelievers, we have to tell them the whole truth.”  Then I thought about how that is exactly what so many of us today share about God and his message.  “He is love!” we plead.  In fact we tend to stress it to the point that people begin to think his love crowds out all his other attributes.  It is easier for us to share and for others to believe in a god that is accepting of their lives without him, their choices without regard to him, and their sins in opposition to him.  After all he is a LOVING God, and what kind of loving God would infringe?


Think back.  Your sharing the Gospel with someone and you tell them, “God is love.” Have you ever wondered why they’re not shocked or blown away?  They don’t normally respond with a “WHOA hang on a minute here!!!”  Often times they nod their head and give you a pat on the back—acknowledging that truth with a kind of a patronizing “yah I know, you’re so sweet” smile on their face when you tell them God loves them.  But on the flip side, what if you said, “God is holy and just and he will punish our sin if we do not repent and trust in Christ.” And that, men, is when you start getting the “you’ve got a third eyeball” look.  The “you’re encroaching on me” attitude starts coming out.

Here’s how Mike Yaconelli in Will Metzger’s Tell the Truth diagnoses the problem:


“The tragedy of modern faith is that we no longer are capable of being terrified.  We aren’t afraid of God, we aren’t afraid of Jesus, we aren’t afraid of the Holy Spirit.  As a result, we have ended up with a need-centered gospel that attracts thousands…but transforms no one.  Unfortunately, those of us who have been entrusted with the terrifying frightening Good News have become obsessed with making Christianity safe.  We have defanged the tiger of Truth.  We have tamed the lion and now Christianity is so sensible, so accepted, so palatable.” 



Metzger, also in his book Tell the Truth, writes “…we have toned down the awesome majesty of God.”  But we can’t afford to water down the Gospel.  We can’t wear down the sharp tip of our message which is meant to pierce hard, sleepy hearts.  Our message is being blunted today by portraying a tame little safe god that is O.K. with how we’re living our life.  No—he hates sin; he is and will always be opposed to it.  Why would anyone want medicine if they don’t know their sick?  Who would want a solution without a problem?  When we’re talking to an unbeliever, we must lovingly and compassionately tell them that there is a divine dilemma.  God is Holy, you and I are sinners who have rebelled against him, we have transgressed his holiness and he WILL punish sin and we WILL be held accountable for our lifestyle, our choices, our sin.  Without the verbal communication of God and his holiness, man and his sinfulness, you have not evangelized in the truest sense of the word.  Without the truth, Christ will never truly be cherished and treasured above all things as the one and only Savior that he is.  Let’s make sure his death and resurrection are not seen as a needless, senseless act instead of a valiant, courageous divine rescue.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

2 things:

It may be manly to write about selling heavy equipment but, is it necessarily manly that you talk about doing your business while sitting on the plastic blue water throne?!?

Trav I think its amazing that you can turn your affections to the rightful worship of his character even on the blue water throne!

Comment by Marko

Well said! Amen! Let’s put this into practice!

Comment by anonymous

For the record, any smart alec comments that “Marko” says are actually from Todd.

Comment by joshcan

Well then there not actually “Smart” alec comments then are they? What wrong he doesn’t have the courage to man up and assume some responsibility?

Comment by Travis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: