Why do people reject the Gospel message?

In our culture, people can be vehemently opposed to the Gospel message, indifferent to it, or welcoming, and several ways in between. When the Gospel is opposed, the New Testament asserts it is because people are suppressing the truth (Romans 1:18-19), who are rebel against the revelation that God exists (vs. 20).  People who are indifferent to the Gospel tend to not really care about it or they just don’t understand it (Romans 3:11).  And then there are people who welcome the Gospel mainly because they are seeking God (Proverbs 28:5b), truth (Proverbs 14:18) and purpose to their lives (Jeremiah 29:11-13). 

The prevailing reasons people reject the Gospel lay squarely on how people live out their faith.  The best example of the Gospel is in how we live our lives, and without love, everything Christians set out in their daily lives will affect how the Gospel would be perceived (Matthew 5:16).  Another consideration for others to reject the Gospel is their lack of good reasons to believe it is true.  This responsibility ends up on the shoulders of those sharing the faith and being ill-equipped (1 Peter 4:15). 

The primary, emotional reason why most people reject the Gospel largely surrounds the topic regarding the presence of evil and suffering.  If God is all good, why wouldn’t He get rid of (or allow) all the evil and suffering in the world?  Because free will is a reality, and in free will evil may ensue, William Craig concludes that “even though the problem of suffering is the greatest objection to the existence of God, at the end of the day God is the only solution to the problem of suffering.”[1]

While there are a slew of reasons why people would intellectually reject the Gospel message, the rejection of miracles seems to be the most prevalent in conjunction with naturalist philosophies. Jesus’ resurrection, the core facet to the entire Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:12-19), is countered in various ways, albeit without much merit. Naturalism assumes that God wasn’t the cause of all things known and unknown, and with the proliferation of this paradigm in the school system, children are taught at a very young age to think in naturalist assumptions. If God doesn’t exist, then Jesus, if He ever existed at all, was simply another Jewish rebel.

Understanding the various faith centers and philosophies of our culture enables the Christian to better communicate the Gospel in ways that other people can relate to.  However, this also comes at a price for the Christian.  The Christian must put aside their judgements for those who don’t share the same covenant as we do (1 Corinthians 5:13a; 2 Corinthians 5:19), and articulate the Gospel with love (1 Corinthians 13; 1 Thessalonians 2:8), just as God offered up His Son unconditionally for the world (John 3:16).  The love that Christians are to exemplify must represent the Father (1 John 4:19), and this love is self-sacrificial in which Christ proved with His life on the cross (John 15:13).


[1] William L. Craig, On Guard, (Colorado Springs, David C. Cook, 2010), 175.