By Ray Baumann

I have this rule of thumb. I never buy anything that someone is trying to sell me. I have been tested many times in timeshare presentations by my insurance guy and even by door-to-door vacuum salesmen. I figure if it needs a salesperson, it’s overpriced.        

Recently, I was shopping for a used truck. I visited several dealerships looking for the best deal. When I found what I wanted, I was forced to go through the whole sales routine. Most of us don’t go into a car dealer and write a check to purchase a car; dealers normally provide financing to meet our needs. Dealers make it way too easy to buy a car these days, offering zero down, no payments for six months, easy terms, and other incentives to pull us in.

Dealers don’t ever seem to offer the price up front so we really have no idea what we can afford. If they give us a price, they let us know it’s negotiable. We hear over and over again, “How much do you want your monthly payment to be?” A good salesman will gather as much information from us in an effort to gauge what we can afford, and then they can make the sale. It’s pretty funny when they ask what we are willing to pay for the car. It’s a rhetorical question, because the answer is always less than what we’re asking. Then, they head to the back room for a few minutes and return with a new offer. This can go on for a while. Most of us never know what our total cost is until we sign the bank papers. We’re all looking for the bottom dollar and wish sales people would be up front and truthful with the product and the cost.

Its sounds a lot like what I did to attract people to the church. I wasn’t as up front with them as I should have been when it came to the cost of following Christ. I just wanted people to attend and show up. Any salesman will tell you about the rush they get from making the big sale. I was basically trying to make the sale. I don’t like to be rejected. My answer to rejection was presenting a gospel that was a little more appealing, which went over much better. I would never want to offend anyone. I was a people pleaser and I cared what people thought of me. I loved people, so I told them what they wanted to hear. I knew that preaching anything other than God’s love and grace would not go over well. I wouldn’t want to cause trouble or have people want to leave the church, so giving spiritual pep talks came easy to me. I was basically a salesman for a church model that utilized the used car sales strategy by preaching a low-cost, consumer-friendly gospel. Instead of paying up front with repentance and denying your own life, I preached that we should just give what we can afford and that we can come to Christ under our own terms. Making small payments, so to speak. This type of cheap grace gospel has many followers because it fits neatly into their lives. It has a zero down payment; nothing is required up front. Pastors share about their church, just as if they had something for sale, by showing people around and describing program after program. They might as well be kicking a tire on a used car.

Paul never mentions anything about marketing or selling. Instead, he warns that the whole counsel of God should be taught, to beware of false teachers, and to preach the gospel of faith and repentance. The true gospel is not about appealing to one’s self esteem, but about making people realize their lost state. Selling people on church programs and always preaching positive messages does not bring people to Christ, but instead meets their felt needs. The world’s greatest need is to hear a gospel that exposes sin, condemns pride, and strips away self, which can not be marketed.  The Bible calls it foolishness to the lost. Yet, this new sales technique presents the gospel as the deal of a lifetime to the sinner because it requires nothing down, gives him a sense of eternal security, and an exciting new community to be a part of. 

"I do not believe that any man can preach the Gospel who does not preach the Law… Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the Gospel of its ablest auxiliary [most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ…They will never accept grace ‘till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place."Charles Spurgeon

No one will come to Christ because of all of the great benefits and programs that the church has to offer. Paul talked about the gospel being an offensive message, by which you would make more enemies than friends. God will build His church and He wants His followers to preach the gospel to a dying world. Doing anything less would not be love.

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2nd Timothy 4:1-4)

Distributed by

Please feel free to reproduce, reprint and/or forward as desired.   Altering or editing is strictly prohibited.

To be added to our email subscription list, send a request to or visit our website at

To be removed from this mailing list, please reply and type “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.