The first is a minimising approach to the task of teaching Christian truth. This has infected Protestent clergy very widely. The modern minister usually does not ask, how much ought I to teach but rather, how little need I teach? What is the minimum of doctrine that will do? One reason for this, no doubt, is the reluctance of those in the pews to learn. But this is no new thing. [Richard] Baxter met it three centuries ago in his working-class congregation . . . and gave it short shrift:
Now, this suggestion excellently illustrates the danger of the minimising approach. If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgement on it, we cannot present Christ as Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We are, in effect, bearing a false witness and preaching a false Christ. Our message is ‘another gospel, which is not another.’ Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else. An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation; and a half-truth presented as the whole truth is a complete untruth. Thus the minimising approach threatens to falsify the gospel by emptying it of doctrinal elements that are essential to it. In face of this prevalent habit of mind, it is vital that we raise the question: how much does preaching the gospel involve?
J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway Books, 1990); from Chapter 10, “The Puritan View of Preaching the Gospel,” p. 164-65.