Imagine yourself in a nice restaurant with your sweetheart, seeking to impress him/her. The ambiance is nice and romantic, there is soft classical music playing to soothe all customers, and you are looking forward to a wonderful meal together. You order your food and continue your nice conversation. After some time your food arrives and you look with excitement at what the waiter is bringing. Then you notice that though the food is what you ordered, the plate upon which your food rests is covered with what looks like a previous customer’s leftovers. After you inquire about this to the waiter, he says that the food is good, but they ran out of plates and had to pull one from the stack of dirty dishes in the kitchen. I think I can safely say that no one would willingly take the plate of food.
Though the food may have been freshly cooked and plated, the way in which it was presented causes the dish to be contaminated, though the food itself was cooked fine. The form upon which the food was resting mattered.
In the Bible, there is a similar situation in the ministry of the apostle Paul. In Acts 16 a woman possessed with a demon loudly and repeatedly proclaims that Paul and his companions came as “servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). After hearing this for many days, Paul finally commanded the evil spirit to come out of her in the name of Jesus Christ. Her words, though correct, were not what Paul wanted. The form of the truth was corrupt. That was not the proper mouthpiece for that message. The form did not help the message.
Does the form in which truth is presented matter? Yes it does. Truth can be told, but it must be told in a way that pleases the Lord and is untainted by the corruption of the world. Some would say “all of us are sinful, like the dirty plate.” This is true, but we are washed by the blood of Christ. We are usable as we are clean and unspotted from the world. True religion teaches this.
We can be thankful when the gospel is presented, but we must present the right gospel in the right way for the glory of the right person, God himself. Form does matter.