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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Many times we see and hear people say come to church and God will give you this or that. It is now so common to have people call themselves ‘Christians’ and yet they have never heard of sin and righteousness. So you ask, ‘Is there anything wrong with that?’ Well you see the knowledge of sin comes after you know what the law of God is – for sin is lawlessness toward God. A man who has come to see the weight of his lawlessness toward God knows his immeasurable debt to Christ. Furthermore …
The Gospel is only “Good News” to those who have heard, and believe, that there is a diagnosis of “Bad News” about themselves to start with. If we simply present the Gospel as a route to a better life, we are deceiving people about their true condition. More importantly, we are mis-representing God’s holiness and His serious view of their sin.
“The true ministers of Christ bring men to the law; now this condemns them, and shows them to be under the curse: He that offendeth in one point is guilty of all (James 2:10). As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them (Gal 3: 10). (William Tiptaft as recorded in “A Sermon preached on 25th December 1829 at the Great Church, Abingdon (St Helen’s)”)
The acknowledged “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon put it this way:”But more, there is war between you and God’s Law. The Ten Commandments are against you . . . . The First one comes forward and says, ‘Let him be cursed, for he denies me. He has another god besides me; his god is his belly, he yields homage to his lust.’ All the Ten Commandments, like ten great pieces of cannon, are pointed at you today, for you have broken all God’s statutes, and lived in the daily neglect of all His commands. Soul! You will find it a hard thing to go to war with the Law. When the Law came in peace, [Mount] Sinai was altogether on a smoke, and even Moses said, ‘I do exceedingly fear and quake.’ What will you do when the Law comes in terror, when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave, when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul, when the great books shall be opened, and all your sin and shame shall be published? Can you stand against an angry Law in that day?”
Charles Spurgeon states elsewhere “Lower the law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary [its most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ.”
Excerpt from What is the Gospel?
A couple of years ago when I was a ‘card carrying Charismatic’ I tended to shun reading books with doctrinal and theological content. My excuse seemed to be ‘Ah well I’ve got the Holy Ghost…Why bother?’. Little did I know that the cure for my spiritual obstinacy and immaturity would come from much discipleship and instruction that comes from humbly unravelling the depth of the riches of God’s glory through reading and studying the Word. We must not slacken in pursuing to know God more in our worship and daily living. We stand on the shoulders of others when we listen and read their instruction and admonition as they exposit the text through their writings. I recently came across this insightful excerpt:
The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. ~ 2 Timothy 4:13
A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains—that is the preacher. How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books. He has been preaching for at least thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! …Read More!
If Paul had written the letter to the Galatians in the 20th or 21st Century, calling out the Judaizers or even Alexander and Hymenaeus would been deemed “intolerant”. And guess what else?
We have seen this happen day in and day out. A church is set up in the corner and before you can even say “Smith Wigglesworth” it has become the local centre of entertainment and creative arts. Along the way you find we have lost the gospel and no longer even mention the name of Jesus lest we offend some first time visitors. So, methodology (and contemporary methods at that) are they neutral? Here is something you can learn from Arturo Azurdia as we go back to scripture….
As a man devoted to the gospel first and foremost, how am I to respond to the steady barrage of novel methods for ministry being advocated today by various expressions of evangelicalism? Is it ethically responsible to disengage my evaluative faculties in the name of contemporaneity? Is it true that methods for ministry are of no real consequence to God insofar as our motivation is the salvation of human beings—that, in fact, our methods should be altogether determined by the unique mores of each cultural context? Is methodology neutral? Or are we dangerously close to sacrificing Sola Scriptura on the altar of Sola Cultura? …Read More!
With help from the old monk and Staupitz, but especially from the study of Paul’s Epistles, Luther gradually was brought to the conviction that the sinner is justified by faith alone, without works of law. By the end of his convent life he came to the conclusion that “the righteousness of God” (Rom. 1:17) is the righteousness which God freely gives in Christ to those who believe in him. Righteousness is not to be attained through man’s own exertions and merits. Rather, it is complete and perfect in Christ, and all the sinner has to do is to accept it from Him as a free gift. …Read More!