The Danger of Manipulating the Gospel
When calling individuals or groups of people to faith in Christ, we must always grant them the freedom to believe or not believe; otherwise, the form of evangelism in operation is corrupt, and the gospel distorted. Sometimes well-meaning, Christians, in their desire to see people come to faith, apply direct or indirect pressure in their endeavour to bear witness. The result of such manipulation of the message of the gospel becomes propaganda. Indeed, it is dangerous to miscommunicate, minimise, and even manipulate the gospel to accommodate those to whom we present the gospel if those assumptions and desires are at odds with the gospel. For example, to suggest that if you come to Jesus, you will be happy and everything will be okay, or to proclaim a prosperity gospel of health, wealth, and self-fulfilment are simply at odds with the gospel of taking up the cross and following Jesus.
A miscommunicated gospel is, in fact, no gospel at all, and it may cause significant damage to the lives of those who receive such a gospel. A. W. Tozer elaborates on this when he states that, “Too often we are Christians by . . . manipulation . . , rather than Christians by regeneration.” He also makes it clear that “Any manipulation of the Scripture to make them speak peace to the natural man is evil and can only lead to ruin.”