If we think the gospel is simply a good deal that any reasonable person would accept, we’ll not only be amazed at how many people turn it down, but we may actually distort the message in the process of proclaiming it. We may strip the gospel of its supernatural and convicting elements, talking about the offer of a free gift, or going to heaven, or living forever, or feeling the freedom of forgiveness, or the need to make a decision as if these were parts of a benefits package.
To be sure, these are important components of the gospel message. But without the context of God’s holiness, the horror of our sinfulness, the need for repentance, and the necessity of the Cross instead of just a guidebook to better behavior, we’ll terribly misrepresent the gospel.
People need to hear the bad news in our message before they can appreciate the Good News. Not only do the minds of nonbelievers need to be persuaded, but also their knees need to buckle.
— Randy Newman, from Questioning Evangelism, p. 35