I see three things in the gospel of accommodation:
1. It is the accommodation of man's love for pleasure.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers...of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:1–4). The Greek for pleasure is "sensuous, lustful, voluptuous, exciting, gratifying, sensual pleasure."
If you move toward this gospel of accommodation, you are going to have to accommodate the people's lust because they are not going to give up their love for excitement. They've made gods of sports, pleasure, and lust. Unless that is confronted by the gospel of Jesus Christ, unless there is a truth that comes forth, you have to accommodate this lust that is in the American lifestyle.
I was shocked by an article in the New York Times. Philip Wogaman, President Clinton's pastor, said, "Sexual misconduct does not automatically render a leader immoral. Morality should also be judged by indicators like courage, concern for the poor, fostering world peace, running the economy responsibly, and furthering racial equality. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are merely cultural expressions." In other words, Mr. Clinton has been told that he has enough good indicators to overrule another that would be immoral in his life.
God said that men who preach doctrines like these resist the truth; they are men of corrupt minds counterfeiting the faith.
In disbelief I watched a televised Sunday night service of a seeker-friendly church—seeker-friendly by its own admission. To a packed church where thousands attend, the pastor said, "This is fun night, a David Letterman night." The youth pastor came out and did his monologue as David Letterman. Then they showed 10 of the most boring things teenagers do during preaching. Three of the 10 were throwing spitballs, yawning, and picking their noses. The crowd went crazy. After the service, the pastor brazenly announced, "We're not here to offend people, but to make church comfortable for everyone." I wept.
I ask you, how long do you think that audience would stay in church if the pastor was gripped by the Holy Ghost, convicted for "entertaining" people toward hell, and suddenly preached a message entitled, "Be sure your sins will find you out"? How long would people keep coming back if a gospel of holy living and separation from the world was preached? Two things would happen: (1) Those who are misguided, hungry, and didn't know any better would weep and run to the altar. (2) Those who are judiciously blinded by their pleasures in madness would flee from the church and never come again. The church doors would close.
I keep this foremost in my mind and before my eyes, because every minister of the gospel one day has to face it when he stands before the Lord. He will say, "Son of man, I made thee a watchman. You were to hear the words of My mouth and give them warnings from Me. You were to tell the wicked, 'Thou shalt surely die.' And you gave them no warning nor spoke to warn the wicked to turn from their wicked ways to save their lives. These same wicked men died in their sins, but their blood I'll require at your hands.
2. This gospel of accommodation accommodates all man's aversion to self-denial.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is one of self-denial. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). Self-denial is not something you give. It's someone you give up—the giving up of yourself, giving up everything you are. It's a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ to present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. God has every right to say to His church, "If you expect to give Me your body, your resurrected body, all through eternity, I have every right—it's only reasonable of Me and your reasonable service—to ask your body why you're here on earth. I want every part of you. I want you to be spiritually minded. I want to possess you."
The gospel we preach must bring people under the total possession of the Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise, it's a gospel of accommodation.
The seeker-friendly gospel accommodates the body. The human body belongs to Him. What we see in America is a neognosticism where you take your physical body on one side and do as you please as long as your spirit is right with God. This is coming even out of the White House, this dividing of personality. No, we are one personality, and it all belongs to Jesus Christ. This neognosticism is destroying the faith of many throughout the nation.
3. There is an accommodation of man's offense to the gospel.
The Scriptures state, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumblingstone and rock of offense." Paul spoke of the offense of the Cross. This is the heart of God's anger. We're not called to the Cross but to go through the Cross—to experience the same thing Jesus did, not only coming to the Cross but dying and going into the grave with Jesus Christ and then being raised from the dead to a newness of life.
It's cruel, pastor, to lead sinners to the Cross, tell them they are forgiven by faith, and then allow them to go back to their habits and lusts of the flesh, unchanged and still in the devil's shackles. If the preaching of grace doesn't have as its goal the producing of a walk of righteousness, then it's another gospel, another Jesus.
I listened in horror to a man, who attended one of the largest seeker-friendly churches, being interviewed by CBS. He said, "I come to this church because I'm comfortable. I'm never made to feel uneasy. I bring my Jewish friends and my business friends, and I know nothing will ever be said that will offend them. The best part of it is, the whole thing only lasts an hour."
Take it from me: You can get your big church and be one of the big boys, but it's going to cost you your soul if you preach with a focus only on earthly things, rather than on the things of God.
I've lived in New York City 35 years. We have 103 nationalities from all walks of life—from the poorest to the richest. Probably 300 or more from the United Nations live there. But I look over a congregation (so does my dear friend, Jim Cymbala, in Brooklyn) and see men who have just walked in from the porno shops and are wild animals. I see a businessman friend who was CEO of a multimillion–dollar company, but he started snorting coke, lost everything, and is now a bum on the street. He sits in the congregation. A little 14-year-old girl with AIDS is up on 8th Avenue performing lewd acts before dirty old men. She comes to church and keeps saying, "Pastor Dave, I've got to get out. I've got to get help."
I'm not about to put up a silly skit and preach a 15-minute message on how to cope to a multitude of people who are dying and going to hell. I tremble at the thought.
People don't like to hear this, but we're headed for perilous times—just a few years away from a collapse like the world has never known. When that happens, all who preached prosperity are going to disappear because the people will say, "Your gospel has failed me." When that time comes, I want to grasp onto Jesus, and I want everyone I've preached to to have faith in the keeping power of Jesus Christ. I want them to know Him in His fullness. I want to know that I've done it in love, in grace, that they would know the difference between the holy and the profane.
If I have ever given a prophetic message in my lifetime that God intended for a purpose, it is now. Many are being deceived. If they are not awakened, what I warn you about will happen.
In New York City, He has proved that the people come to hear a straight gospel, and will come where the Word of God is being preached without compromise and yet with grace. May the young men who are discouraged in the Movement not try for a shortcut but be broken and on their faces before the Lord.
May we get our eyes off growth and onto a new revelation of who Jesus is.