Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why would a conservative preacher fail to preach Christ? (Part 1)

I ask the question specifically in regard to a "conservative" preacher because I believe there are some commitments to which a theological conservative holds that make it especially puzzling as to why such a preacher would fail to preach Christ.

Specifically, I am thinking about the conservative commitment to the biblical views regarding the sinfulness of Man and the exclusivity of Christ. If Man is entirely sinful and will not be completely free from sin until the afterlife, then it would seem that Jesus and His gospel would be presented at every juncture as the only remedy for this problem of sin. If the only way to find God's favor is through Jesus and what He has done, then it seems unthinkable that a sermon would fail to point hearers to Him.

Yet more than once I have heard conservative Baptist preachers give a sermon in which Jesus Christ was not mentioned at all. Why?

I believe that there are at least two reasons why a well-meaning conservative preacher might fail to preach Christ. The first reason is theological and the second is hermeneutical. I plan to address the first in this post and the second in my next post.

1. The failure to fully understand the role of the gospel in the Christian life.

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3)

This past Sunday for Easter my pastor, Tray Earnhart, preached from 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. At the beginning of this text, the Apostle mentions "the gospel, which you received, in which you stand." A couple of times in the sermon Tray stressed that "in which you stand" shows the centrality of the gospel to all of the Christian life- that we never move beyond the gospel. This is contrary to a common misunderstanding of the role of the gospel in the Christian life that involves overlooking the phrase "in which you stand" and thus over-emphasizes "which you received." In other words, the role of the gospel is seen as past tense (except when the Christian is evangelizing); the gospel insures someone's eternal security and frees a person to live for God, but then the Christian life consists of trying to follow the commands and principles of the Bible.

What must not be ignored is that the apostles consistently tie Christian obedience to the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done. To give two examples: our overall attitude as Christians is entirely shaped by the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus (Phil 2:5 ff); our life as Christians is defined by our place within the body of Christ, and we are gifted by the Spirit to build one another up in faith in Christ (Eph 4:1-16).



Blogger Smadraji said...

Nice Posting

8:10 AM  

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