Sunday, January 27, 2008

Your Turn to Sound the Alarm

Just a quick request for your opinions here.

I don't have the Martin Luther quote in front of me, but he once taught that it's possible for a pastor to be faithful in every area, but then utterly fail as a representative of Christ's kingdom, because of his unwillingness to address the central issue that the forces of Hell seem to be pressing on the church. Imagine a castle under seige, and the aggressors finding a weak spot in the wall and concentrating their forces at that point. The faithful minister will go to that very place and do what he can to shore it up at that point. It would be faithless to "stand your ground" on the opposite side of the castle, where the attack is not happening.

Y'know, so for instance, if the doctrine of Christ's Incarnation is being heavily assaulted, it's faithless to press on with your 19 week sermon series on baptism, even if everything you have to say about baptism is perfectly true.

So, my question is, to all of you Mafia readers who preach or teach in some capacity, if you had to narrow it down to one or two options, where is that break in the wall happening right now? If you could sound the trumpet and rally your brethren to a point, where would it be? (This is open to our non-Calvinistic readers as well.)


Jason said...

I have been in ministry for about 8 years, planted 2 churches, and preached well over a thousand times, and I must say that it would absolutely be the sufficiency of the Gospel for all of life and ministry. If we repair that breach, the church will come alive again.

Andypro said...

I would say that one issue is the area of discernment. I think in most churches today you could parrot a Rob Bell sermon one week and a John MacArthur sermon the next week and at the end of both most people in the church would be fine with it. If we can teach the church to be discerning, then a lot of the false teachings in the church would never gain a foothold.

TheoJunkie said...

As much as I like the Helm's Deep motif (including the inevitable reappearance of Gandalf the White, just as things look like they are surely lost)...

...I would advocate an "offensive defense" (versus a "defensive defense"). In other words, I think it goes farther and stronger to simply continue to preach truth (simply and nothing but)-- VERSUS preaching "our truth compared to theirs". Logic being, if we give time to "defending against" a lie, then we give credence to the lie (why are we so concerned about this, if it is false?). On the other hand, if we just present The Truth (while ignoring the lie, even if the Truth directly counters it), then we stand strong.

Ok.. back on topic:

Rusty Drain Hole #1: "Anything with Jesus in the title is Christian" (read: Mormons are Christians too).

Rusty Drain Hole #2: "If they ain't agin' us, they are for us" (a.k.a., secularists that have our moral values, are good enough.... a.a.k.a, Obama is Christian enough because he isn't actively talking about Islam at the moment).

Gordan Runyan said...

If I'm reading the three suggestions above correctly, I detect an underlying common theme, and that is, we need to be certain that we actually know the true Gospel and are faithfully preaching it.

Theojunkie, on the one hand I am sympathetic to your stress on preaching truth while ignoring the current lie. I kinda see what you're saying, but I also think that I see a lot of New Testament teaching that got written down precisely in the process of combatting false ideas and false gospels. I'm saying, I think the New Testament strongly demonstrates that there is value in confronting errors directly and teaching the explicit difference between truth and error.

Rhett said...

I believe much of the problems we are having in the SBC (and the Christian community in general) come as a direct result of people ignoring heresy and error.

Certainly we need to do more than just polemics 24/7, however, trying to ignore an error/heresy is about as good as ignoring a tumor and hoping it will go away...

TheoJunkie said...

Gordan, Your point is well taken.

Rhett... I was not suggesting we ignore anything. I was talking about approach/technique.

Rhett said...

I must have misunderstood your point. I apologize.

(I have encountered people who do advocate totaly ignoring a problem while "preaching the truth.")

Gordan Runyan said...

Okay, I think we all agree that the key to the problem is to preach the Gospel in truth.

But I'm kind of looking for specifics in terms of which errors out there are the most immediate/most dangerous/most damnable in the churches right now.

Here's a partial list of my candidates, though the order is not meaningful:

1. The Sinner's Prayer. I mean that as an emblem; I'm not totally against using the words. I mean to point to the issue of us accepting the recitation of a prayer during an altar call as infallible proof of conversion.

2. Postmodern deconstructionism.

3. Eccumenism, both Catholic/Protestant and Christian/Muslim, and you could throw in what I think will be a rather short-lived Christian/Mormon type as well.

4. The loss of a New Testament emphasis on Repentance in preaching generally, and evangelism specifically.

teachky said...

I think the turn of the discussion may take light away from the real issue at hand if we look at the most damnable errors in the churches, for they are every one Gospel issues. For instance, postmodern deconstructionism posits truth in the relative position of the hearer (or the one "engaged" in the conversation). Ecumenism can be a betrayal of the gospel, and the loss of New Testament repentance is also a gospel issue. I think Lloyd Jones is helpful here. Jones considered the gospel to be preeminent, and judged all things on the degree to how they matched up to the gospel. His social critique is gospel centered. To narrow the confines to a separate issue I think takes the light of the real problem. I realize that it may sound too simplistic and unsatisfying to some, but the issue is and will always be the gospel. All other things are tertiary. Blessings.

Gordan Runyan said...


Thanks for that. Lloyd-Jones was a real man.

I totally resonate with your emphasis on the Gospel above all else. Our hearts beat in tune there.

My point is that the Gospel does get attacked on different fronts at different times, and thus my suggestion that it's helpful for the minister to have the current hot spots in mind.

Highland Host said...

The substitutionary atonement is a major target right now, at least in England. Christ dying for sinners is the heart of the Gospel.

Rhett said...

Good to hear from you Highland Host! I agree with you (and Gordan) wholeheartedly.

(FYI: The book I am reading now, Pierced for Our Transgressions is tackling that issue and was written in the UK!)