Monday, October 04, 2010

Sinless Gospel Fails to Protect the Next Generation

I have noticed a disturbing trend even here, where good parents who are church going folks fail to transmit their values to the next generation. I believe a part of the problem is that churches are too fearful of “condemning” people to preach the Bible.

Scripture itself shows us that there is a difference between telling someone that their behavior is sinful and condemning them for that behavior. I am sure you recall the incident with the woman caught in the very act of adultery. The mob wanted her to be stoned, but Jesus shamed them away. Notice what He told her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” In that short passage of scripture we see that Jesus did not consider telling someone that they were sinning to be the same thing as “condemning” them for that behavior.

Throughout the volume of The Book we see that God’s people had the prophetic role of speaking unwelcome truth to power. This was so for Samuel. It was so for Elijah, and Jeremiah. It was so for John the Baptist when he told the wife-stealing King Herod right out in public, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And of course, it was so for Christ as he told the religious leaders of His day that they were whitewashed tombs. In the same way Paul spoke unwelcome truth, which caused him to be lashed three times and stoned twice. These things did not come about because Paul preached to the multitudes only that God loved them, for no one persecutes a preacher for saying that. Rather, these things came on him because Paul preached that He loved them so much that He wished to make known His will on what sort of men they ought to be.

I fear that much of the post-Bible church has forsaken the role of speaking truth to power. Indeed, they tremble with fear to speak God’s standards for human conduct to the least of the people, how much more do they fear to speak it to the mighty! Yet Christ Himself commanded His disciples to shout from the housetops even what they hear whispered in their ears. This can only mean that we are to boldly and even loudly proclaim God’s truth, including His truth about right and wrong conduct. And how much better off a soul is once they hear and obey it. But “how will they hear without a preacher?”

I really see a need for older people who know better to, against the grain of the popular culture, confront youth who are making mistakes that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Some churches are willing to help people pick up the pieces of their broken lives, but would to God that they be just as willing to preach God’s truth about human conduct so that some of those lives would never be broken to begin with!

What does it mean to preach “the full Gospel?” I submit to you that no church preaches “the full Gospel” unless it preaches repentance from sin. Sadly, we live in a culture where people do not understand that there is anything that they need to repent of. Hebrews lists “repentance from dead works” as the milk of the Word- as one of the basics for baby Christians. The message of grace is built on a foundation of understanding that man has sinned. Without that foundation, the “full Gospel” cannot be preached, for if there is no acknowledgement of sin there cannot be any need for mercy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely preaching Christ through love and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict people of their guilt would be more effective today.

The greatest sin is not loving God, followed by not loving your neighbor, yes?

4:04 PM, October 04, 2010  
Anonymous Mark said...

The point is that preaching against sin IS love. When sin destroys lives the loving one is the one who cares enough to overcome PC pressure to conform to a culture which rejects God and deifies "tolerance" of evil.

There is no difference between the one who "loves people" and the one who preaches against sin, provided they are doing it from the same spirit that the Prophets, the Psalmist, Christ, and His apostles did it. And if all of those preached against sin, then how does one who seeks the world's approval too much to dare to do the same honestly call themselves a disciple of Christ.

If you are Christ's, then do the things that Christ and His apostles do. If you are of the world, then do what the world does.

And let us have no more talk of "allowing" the Holy Spirit to convict, for convict He will. The question is, will the church bear witness with the Spirit, or remain silent as if He were "unloving" or even lying?

7:06 PM, October 04, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
(Joh 3:14-21 KJV)

I think my main disagreement is that you focus a great deal on actions, while I believe actions are determined by attitudes.

11:35 AM, October 05, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
(Mat 22:36-40 KJV)

This is where I am coming from.

The primary sin which you must preach against is that of not loving God, and secondly of not loving each other.

Upon this hangs all the law and the prophets.

4:02 PM, October 05, 2010  

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