i have heard and spoken frequently on the "offensive" nature of the Gospel for several years. it's the idea, and the reality, that the basic message that God tells through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, is offensive and off-putting to those steeped in the institution of religion.
in the time of Jesus, it was the sadducees, pharisees, and other religious leaders who were upset by the fact that Jesus lived and taught that the kingdom of God was for all people while hanging out with lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, and others marginalized by society. they were offended that someone would dare discuss the scriptures and things of God, Yahweh, with those not good enough to be allowed in the temple...the unclean in their eyes. how dare Jesus defile religion in this way.
"love God. love others. everything of the Law and the prophets hang on this." the very words of Jesus, God in the flesh. this Gospel is still offensive today, and it's offensive to those steeped in religion. starting with our Easter ad campaign, our public "branding" (for lack of a better term) has been a direct reflection of our theology: Christianity for ALL. with our current round of fliers and billboards advertising our new service times, we have been trying to get them in college newspapers. we just got an email last night from a local Christian university saying they won't run our postcard insert because "it violates our mission as a university." and apparently the message of Jesus scares large evangelical megachurches to the point of taking shots at "a certain urban church" for preaching such an offensive message.
please...because of the love of God: remember Jesus. ~aroll