Some would deny the gospel as it was preached and received in days gone by, but to them I would ask, "What is it about the gospel message or its presentation from times past that is not relevant for the 21st century?" There are characteristics about the presentation of the gospel that cannot change. Its presentation must begin with the fact that God is altogether righteous, and that man is altogether unrighteous; and that man's unrighteous nature must be overcome and even completely overthrown. However, man's carnal nature cannot be broken and bound under Christ without him acknowledging his unrighteousness, and then conscientiously deciding against his own nature to surrender to righteous God. For this, he needs an arrow that pierces the heart. Our salvation can be realized only through a violent work of the heart. Even when the gospel message is received but when a child, there must be an uncomfortable stirring within for there to be authentic repentance. Nothing less can save.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news indeed. However, it begins its good work by power to break evil hearts, and to arrest depraved souls damned and determined to rush into eternal hell. Since when did God's tolerance for unrighteousness become greater? Since when did man's adaptation to righteousness become easier for him? God's righteousness still stands pure and perfect, and the wickedness and rebellion of the souls of men have not changed one iota. God is just as God as He ever was, and humankind is just as depraved and doomed as it ever was. So how is it that the gospel as presented by God through the prophets of old is not relevant for today? At what point should the presentation of the gospel have become "modern," or pleasant to the ear, or palatable to the erring soul?
Yes, the gospel is good news but its goodness cannot be realized unless first it breaks a rebellious heart so that by grace it is received through faith as strong medicine to a sin-sick soul. It must first violate the whole of a man's soul before it can save. Thus God has chosen to send His good news as a sword, and as a fire. His word of rescue sometimes comes like a hammer, a plumb-line, a burning coal, an ax, and sometimes through strange voices that cry aloud from the wildernesses of the world.
Let us be quick to hear, and slow to change the gospel presentation by which God chose to send it long ago. If one cannot receive the gospel as it was preached by the Old Covenant prophets, by John the Baptist, or Jesus Christ Himself, along with thousands of other gospel preachers of centuries past then one simply cannot receive the gospel.
Think about it, dear brothers and sisters. Your decision may determine whether or not you have eternal life, or death.