By Elizabeth Prata
The Gospel is simple. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again, ascended to heaven and will return in judgment. That’s it. Repent and believe. It’s simple, but profound. It’s eternally life saving. It’s countercultural. It’s offensive. It’s foolish to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Because it is too simple for some people, or too offensive for others to hear, well-intentioned Christians, even pastors, sometimes tweak the Gospel, change the Gospel, soften the Gospel, in order to “help.”
The Gospel comes out looking like this:
We were talking about this in Bible Study at church last night when one of my elders brought this nine-year-old incident up again. The incident happened in 2012 in Spain. The UK Guardian has the story. They are calling the fresco ‘The Monkey Christ‘. Here are excerpts:
There can be little doubt that the woman, identified only as an octogenarian local, was just trying to help when she noticed that the face of the scourged Christ on the wall of a small church in the city was looking a bit faded, and decided to freshen it up a bit. Sadly for her – and Elías García Martínez, the 19th-century artist who painted the mural – her brush skills were not quite up to the job. The unnamed amateur has transformed what was once a pleasant, if unremarkable, Ecce Homo into something that more closely resembles a bloated hedgehog than the image of Jesus before Pilate. The press have dubbed her efforts "the worst restoration in history" and "a botched job", and the Borja authorities fear they are right." Source
She took it upon herself to go ahead and “fix it.” She noticed the fresco was looking a little bedraggled, and since she had previously worked on the tunic a little bit, and without authorization decided to take it upon herself to help the painting along and touch it up.
You see how it came out. The Gospel is a masterpiece of ALL masterpieces. It is perfect the way it is. It needs no help from 80-year old church ladies, or anyone else. It doesn’t need tweaking, fixing, or even hiding. It stands alone as a masterpiece. We’re ambassadors, representing the One who gives the message, charged with repeating the message exactly. Ambassadors don’t take it upon themselves to alter the message, just to present it.
Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us …(2 Corinthians 5:20)
We are to guard the deposit, as we were taught last night at Bible Study-
We are to proclaim it, treasure it, guard it, share it. But not “fix it.”