Watered Down
album cover to 90's Chicago metal band, "5.0"

I’m not sure how many of you know this, but while I was attending seminary, I also DJ’d at a (secular) heavy metal station called “Rebel Radio”. Rebel Radio is know by many not only as an awesome metal station that’s lasted longer than any of the corporate metal/hard rock stations out there, and not only as the station that made bands like Disturbed, Soil and Coal Chamber famous, but also as a huge supporter of local (signed and unsigned) bands.

In the late 90s, there was this local band that we played called “Five Pointe O”.  Their demo CD had these 2 songs that we all loved to play, one called “Purity 01”, and the other, “King of the Hill”. The band grew for a while, but when their first CD came out, these songs that we all loved so much, were altered.  In fact, they really kind of sucked.  We later learned that their new label had persuaded them to water them down some, changing their songs from their originals, in hopes of getting some mainstream airplay. As far as I know, they never did get any mainstream recognition though, and I have yet to hear anything from them since.  However, I have no doubt that if they’d kept to their original cuts, they’d be known today as more than a mere local band from Chicago.

Serving in churches since, I’ve come to notice that in many, the Gospel has really been watered down a lot from its original message, too.  No longer is there this urgency to repent of your sins and give your life to Jesus; it’s also no longer about holiness and discipleship for the glory of God; no more evangelism or defending the faith.  Instead, it’s become a “mutt”-religion with the image of comfort, tolerance-rooted cheap grace, good-fuzzy feelings, fire insurance, being accepted for who you are and thus remaining in (and celebrating) your sins; and liberal acceptances about what the scriptures should say versus what they do say.  It’s like everybody’s so afraid of offending somebody with the real message that they’ve dumbed it down to please the mainstream.

But when you look at it, is the Church really reaching the mainstream about God with even this watered down gospel?  Because when I look at the questions being asked by both believers, unbelievers, and non-believers, I’ve noticed that there’s more confusion now than there was when we were offending people with the Truth.  Maybe it’s because, even in offense, they knew what Christianity was about and what Christians stood for.  And when they heard the message, they were aware that there were only 2 responses to the question, even if they didn’t like the options.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nobody comes to the Father but through me.”  If Jesus is the Way, then there are no other ways to the Father. If Jesus is the Truth, then all others are simply theories, opinions, and lies.  And if Jesus is the Life, then all (other) religions lead to death, claiming faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ being the only Way, the only Truth, and the only “road” to Life.

In Revelation 3:15-17, Jesus said to the church of Laodicea, (but I believe it also speaks well to such churches of today): “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold —I am about to spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (WOW!)

In Romans 1:16-17, Paul proclaimed, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’.”

What happened to this attitude about the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  What happened to the excitement of this Awesome message that cannot be compared to anything out there?  Yes, of course the Gospel is offensive, for it demands a response of complete obedience, and anything else is rejection to it.  Why is it unfair for God to demand our full hearts?  Why are lies the product of choice?  Do people really think God will compromise?  He already gave everything; there’s nothing more to give.  Shall He have to die again?

To those afraid of sharing what has been known for millenniums as “Good News”, I ask you, “Is offending somebody with the Truth and a life-saving opportunity such a bad thing?  Or maybe it’s because you don’t fully believe it yourselves…you’re lukewarm.”

Where are God’s people?  Where is His Holy nation of priests?  Have all His soldiers fallen in battle?  Has there been a mutiny?

If the Church is to be the Church, it must know the Way, communicate the Truth, and be possessed by the Life.  Otherwise, it’s just simply a social hall, and will become as “5.0” is today…something that was once awesome, but changed in order to appease the mainstream, and is now only remembered by its Demo and mistakes.

I close this post with Paul’s charge to Timothy: “Guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed, and in so doing have departed from the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:20)

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4 thoughts on “Watered Down

  1. 1 John 2:2–“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world”. The rock bands you mentioned may have gone through unfair auditions, but our Lord gives us the easiest “open call” audition, to everyone (not just for certain age or race groups or other casting types), and all we have to do is talk directly to Jesus Christ, free of charge, with no agent or middle man required (John 14:6–“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”). Like you said, there are only 2 responses to Christ, and it’s best to make the right choice now, before it’s too late (Matthew 24).

  2. 2 Timothy 4:3–“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”. As for some churches watering down The Lord’s message, it looks like Someone predicted long ago that what’s happening now would happen, so again, give the right response to Christ if you haven’t already, and look to Him as if He could appear anytime soon (1 Thessalonians 4).

  3. Hi Andy, As you know I’m not a Bible verse spouting follower of Jesus Christs teachings, but I do believe in his teachings nevertheless. Jesus said; “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nobody comes to the Father but through me.” This is something that I interpret as Jesus telling all… that his life is the example that is The Way, The Truth, The Life. I do not interpret that he is telling all to worship him, but instead, to follow his example and they will find the way to The Father. Jesus was the teacher….I am his student….that’s my take on it all…. 🙂

    1. Dave, my old friend and radio colleague. good to hear from you.
      When reading Scripture, you need to keep everything in context: context of the paragraph, context of the chapter, context of the whole letter, and context of the whole Bible.
      So with this in mind, I’m having difficulties understanding how you got that interpretation, for the context clearly says, “‘I am’ the Way, the Truth and the Life. Nobody comes(or goes) to the Father but through Me.” He didn’t say that the way of life that He was introducing was the way to the Father, but that HE was the way to the Father. If Jesus was only a teacher setting an example, then how could He be the only way to the Father? Also, if you continue to the next verse, Jesus claims, “If you know me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” He then goes on to explain that He and the Father are One.

      Now understand, John’s gospel is a full (long) letter. So it’s not to be read like a self-help book of today, but like a letter, from beginning to end. So let’s look then at John 1, the introduction to the whole letter/testimony: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him…He was in the world and the world came into being through Him.” (verse 14): “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (Verse 18): “No one has ever seen God. It’s God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made Him known.”
      So God’s Word became flesh, Jesus is that Word, and Jesus created everything that exists. Also, in the beginning, the Word of God was WITH God and WAS God. Therefore, Jesus, who is the Word of God become flesh, IS God. So then you come towards the end of John’s gospel where Jesus says that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Nobody comes(or goes) to the Father but through Him. So Jesus is claiming that He Himself is the ONLY way to God, who is also in Heaven. So if you wish to have anything to do with God, then you can only go to Him through His Word, which is Jesus. And since Jesus is God, He is to be worshiped.
      Now, you are correct in saying that Jesus is setting an example of a way to live. But that way of living is the way of Christ, and this way of life is explained and argued all throughout the Bible, first introduced in the Garden of Eden, explained in punishments, given through the Law, proclaimed through prophets, leaders like Joshua, and judges, Jesus’ instructions to the Jews in the Gospels, the Apostles’ letters to the churches, and instruction by the Holy Spirit, whom is given to all who repent and accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. But Paul clearly argues that this way of life will neither make you righteous in God’s eyes, nor earn your salvation, for only such are obtained through faith in Christ (read Acts-Revelation for more on this).
      But Jesus is God, He is to be worshiped as such, and we are to follow His example (and such as instructed throughout the Bible). But the only way to the Father and to Heaven is through Jesus Christ.

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