Gospel Proclamation (1 Corinthians 1:23-24, 2:1-2)
Gospel Proclamation (1 Corinthians 1:23-24, 2:1-2)
Jeremiah 6:16 - “Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
The Scriptures give us examples both of those who sought to honor God by doing things His way, and of those who refused to listen to Him or do things according to His instruction. Nadab and Abihu are an example of ignoring the mandate of God’s word, choosing to do things in a way that “He had not commanded” (Lev 10:1-3). As a result, they were consumed by fire because they did not treat God as holy or honor Him. David, in an effort to make moving the Ark easier, decided to put it on a new cart like the Philistines rather than shouldering it as God had commanded (2 Sam 6:1-7). When Uzzah reached out and touched the Ark to stabilize it, God’s anger burned against Him and he was struck down and died. Neither pattern gives evidence of any concern to please God or honor Him. Nadab and Abihu came up with their own ideas about doing ministry, and David and the others adopted foreign practice rather than God’s instruction.
Contrasted with these two poor examples, the Scriptures give us the helpful pattern of the Apostle Paul. By the time Paul reached Corinth, after being beaten and imprisoned in city after city, we would think that he would surely realize that his approach isn’t having too much success. Certainly, he is going to wake up and not attempt the same “worn out” method of preaching again. But Paul is completely convinced that the gospel alone is the wisdom of God. He knows the Corinthians think his message and his methods are foolish and absurd, but he doesn’t sail by the compass of their desires or their expectations. We must avoid wasting our time considering the shifting trends of our culture and be certain that we are relevant only to God and the real spiritual needs of mankind.
The Reformation is often described as a movement that revolved around two primary issues. The outwardly evidenced cause was the debate over justification by faith alone. The foundational, less outwardly obvious cause was the issue that the Bible and the Bible alone has supreme authority in the life of believers. The Reformation spread through Europe through the ministries of men like Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and Knox, and eventually spread to the New World through the Puritans. But by the end of the 20th Century, biblical theology had declined dramatically.
In our day we have seen at least a slight increase of interest in the Bible and a renewed commitment to its authority and trustworthiness. But the Reformation was more than a doctrine about the Bible. It was precipitated by a deep and serious study of the Bible. It is not enough to simply value Scripture highly; we must both hear and obey its teaching.
There are a number of ways in which modern practice has fallen pray to the desire to do ministry in a way that God has not mandated in His Word. The seeker sensitive approach does ministry in such a way that people who dislike traditional church will love to come to this new kind of church. It’s not created for those seeking God (looking for peace with God), but for those who are not seeking Him. It’s a church created to appease people who don’t want God.
Traditionalism fears the shifting culture all around, and as a result, has clung to the previous generation’s ways of doing things. It isn’t concerned so much with the primary things, but with the secondary areas like dress or music or evangelistic methods. As moral and spiritual values erode all around a church, traditionalism clings all the more tightly to their own ways. However, not one soul has ever been rescued as a result of holding onto old traditions.
The Reformed Resurgence is tired of the deadness of traditionalism and realizes the shallowness of the seeker friendly approach. Many of the sermons contain accurate doctrine and on paper the church may look quite biblical. But while doctrine is being reformed, lives are not. Calvin’s theology, on the other hand, put emphasis on God’s sovereignty over all life, not just doctrine.
There are admirable things in each of these approaches. Many are attempting to rescue the doomed state of the “church” in our land. But these approaches do not stand a chance of bringing about any lasting change. Their foundation is not the wisdom of Christ, but the wisdom of man. The only method prescribed by God is that of gospel proclamation.
- Have you have fallen prey to the desire to out-smart God in your attempt to be wiser than the Apostle Paul? Why is there a temptation to rethink God’s plan and adjust ourselves and our ministries and the gospel to the culture’s demands and the situations we find ourselves in?
More in Tuesday Takeaways
September 11, 2018Godly Living in a World of Sorrow (Philippians 4:4-9)
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August 14, 2018Warnings about Worship (Genesis 4:1-7)