Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Minimising the Gospel

I am reading a book for class written by J.I. Packer entitled, The Quest for Godliness. The book is about the life and ministry of the puritans. Chapter 10 speaks to the view of the puritans on preaching the gospel. Today, people ask what the minimum amount of doctrine they can include in a gospel presentation. Packer mentions that one reason for this is the reluctance of those in our pews to learn. Most people are so entertainment driven, they don't want to be given lots of knowledge, they don't want to think, study, or pursue godly wisdom. Richard Baxter said this:

Were you but as willing to get the knowledge of God and heavenly things as you are to know how to work in your trade, you would have set yourself to it before this day and you would have spared no cost or pains till you had got it. Bit you account seven years little enough to learn your trade, and will not bestow one day in seven in diligent learning the matters of your salvation.

In the Puritan's time, people were no more willing to think about the important things as they are today. Whereas, ministers today are apt to accommodate to the apathy of learning to the human race, the Puritan's did not. They preached the full counsel of God. Notice what J.I. Packer says:

If we do not preach abou sin and God's judgement on it, we cannot prese Christ as Saviour from sin and the qeath 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 false witness and preaching a false Christ. Out 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. And imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation; and a half-truth presented as the whole truth is complete untruth. Thus the minimising approach threatens to falsify the gospel by emptying it of doctrinal elements that are essential to it.
Friends, may we be faithful to the Scriptures and preach the full gospel. May we not do like so many and minimize and falsify the gospel, accommodating to the reluctant and itching ears of our culture.


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Rhett said...


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