Are we proclaiming the same message as Jesus? (The story of the Prodigal)

In preparation for Easter, I am reading up on Jesus' story about the Prodigal. Here is a quote from Timothy Keller's book The Prodigal God that really has me thinking about who is not coming to church.

"Jesus's teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can mean only one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren't appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we'd like to think." (pp. 15-16)

(Note: In the story, the younger son is the wild one who disgraces his family but eventually comes home to a shockingly warm reception. The judgmental older son is indignant with all this, because the younger brother is not worthy of being allowed back into the family. The story of the Prodigal is found in Luke 15.)


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