Monday, August 12, 2013

A Church With the Wrong Message & Misunderstands Worship

Excerpts taken from Gary Gilley's "This Little Church Went to Market."

Chapter entitled: A Church With the Wrong Message

"The good news in a nutshell is this: Harry is a sinner, in full-blown rebellion against God (Romans 3:23; 5:1-12). While some Harry's are outwardly religious and some even desire the gifts and benefits that God can supply, no Harrys truly seek after God or desire Him (Rom. 3:10-18). As a result of Harry's sinfulness he is under the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18), faces future judgment (Heb. 9:27), will die both physically and spiritually (Rom. 6:23) and will spend eternity in hell (Rev. 20:11-15).
It is because of Harry's hopeless plight, and the fact that he can do nothing to redeem himself in God's eyes (Titus 3:5), that Jesus Christ, through grace alone, not because of Harry's value and worth (Ephesians 2:8), became a man, died on the cross (Rom. 5:8) thus taking Harry's sin upon Himself and satisfying the wrath of God (Heb. 2:17), and resurrected from the dead, in order that Harry could be saved from his sin and be given the righteousness of Christ (Romans 4).  While all of this is a gift from God. Harry obtains that gift through the exercise of faith (Ephesians 2:8,9)-purely taking God at His word, trusting that God will save him if only he truly believes." (pg. 84)

"We must never confuse our desire for people to accept the gospel," Oswald Chambers warned long ago, "with creating a gospel that is acceptable to people." (pg. 84)

"Marketing savvy demands that the offense of the cross must be downplayed. Salesmanship requires that negative subjects like divine wrath be avoided. Consumer satisfaction means that the standard of righteousness cannot be raised too high. The seeds of a water-down gospel are thus sown in the very philosophy that drives many ministries today." -John MacArthur (pg. 93)

"Nothing in Scripture indicates the church should lure people to Christ by presenting Christianity as an attractive option.....The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18). There is no way to make it otherwise and be faithful to the message.....The gospel itself is disagreeable, unattractive, repulsive, and alarming to the world. It exposes sin, condemns pride, convicts the unbelieving in heart, and shows human righteousness-even the best, most appealing aspects of human nature-to be worthless, defiled, filthy rags (cf. Isaiah 64:6)." -J. Mac (pg. 94-95)

Chapter entitled: A Church that Misunderstand Worship

"The gospel is confrontational in its very nature. Any presentation of the gospel that does not present a challenge to the unbeliever to radically change his or her thinking and attitudes toward God and His saving work in Christ is not the same gospel preached in the pages of the New Testament! Today, people can be happy, healthy members of evangelical churches without ever having to face a God who is anything more than a "buddy," a Savior who is anything more than an example, and a Holy Spirit who is anything more than a power source. And that can happen without faith, repentance, indeed, without conversion." (pg. 109-110)

"We have to wonder, if the Scriptures are adequate to equip us for Every good work, and if they are able to lead us to Everything pertaining to life and godliness, what else is needed? Why search beyond the Scriptures for the things that God says the Scriptures alone supply?" (pg. 114)

"If pastors have lost confidence in the power, authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures it is no wonder that they have abandoned in droves the systematic, expository preaching of the Word. I rarely visit a church or attend a Bible conference anywhere in which the Scriptures are truly expounded. Story sermons, pop-psychology lectures, "Dear Abby" style counsel, drama, musical productions, and interpretative dance are replacing true preaching. John MacArthur is on the money when he writes, "If preaching is to play its God-designed role in the church, it must be built upon the Word of God.....Much preaching today emphasizes psychology, social commentary, and political rhetoric. Bible exposition takes a back seat to a misguided craving for relevance...Lamentably, there is a discernible trend in contemporary evangelicalism away from biblical preaching and a drift to an experience-centered, pragmatic, topical approach in the pulpit." (pg. 114-115)

-Many will take these quotes as people's personal preference when it comes to the church in  methodology, delivery, and how we share the Gospel. But this goes beyond preference and awakens the true body of Christ to the dangers of compromising the message for the sake of methods or relevancy! Our job isn't to change the message in order to fit the culture, but to reach the culture with the unadulterated message regardless of the outcome. People often say, "Methods change, but the Message always stay the same," but that is not always true.  Methods CAN compromise the message as we see within evangelicalism today: Chasing Willow Creek or In Search of Saddleback.  (For example:  Delivering the true message of God's Word regardless of the consequences see: The Prophet Jeremiah!!!)
 In Christ -Dustin

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