Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"If I must have some failing..."

"I was born to fight devils and factions. It is my business to remove obstructions, to cut down thorns, to fill up quagmires, and to open and make straight paths. But if I must have some failing I would rather preach the truth with too great a severity than to ever once act the hypocrite and conceal the truth!"

-Martin Luther (cf, 2 Timothy 1:6-18)


Mike said...

gotta tell ya that I think you are fighting a battle that the average pew-sitting christian:
1) does not know about
2) does not care about enough to find out what this is all about
3) may be knowledageable about it but does not really understand the impact
4) if he/she is knowledgeable about it thinks it is something for the theological academicians to discuss in ivory towers but seems little more than mental m12.

And I am not trying to belittle pew-sitting christians...One can argue that they need to know and should know and care about these things but the truth is that most don't.

I think we spend a lot of time and energy concerning ourselves with the message and asking "are we rightly dividing the word of God?", are we "dispelling falsehood and promulgating truth and preaching the gospel?" rather than asking the equally important question how is the truth assimilated? I don't think just dispensing it is enough (although it has to start there) but we need to ask if our methods allow for assimilation or if they actually create a situation that works just the opposite. Reliance on the Holy Spirit is important in this respect but we should not use it as an excuse not to examine why the message seems to have minimal impact on the hearers. The answer to this question may not be one that we like to hear.

Todd Pruitt said...


The devil,as they say, is in the details. I am sure you and I would probably have very different ideas about what constitutes faithful assimilation of the message.

For instance, the emergent movement erred from the very beginning by asking the same question as the seeker driven/church growth model that they so eschew - How can we be relevant/acceptable to the world? This is the wrong question.

Now, I don't want to place any stumbling blocks in the way of people hearing the Gospel. However, we must never forget that the gospel itself is a stumbling block ("scandalon"). The Gospel will not be "assimilated" into the world for it is fundamentally an offense to the world. The only way for a sinner to hear the announcement of their corruption and need for a Saviour is the working of the Holy Spirit through His chosen means.

The only difference between those for whom the Gospel is a frangrance of life and those for whom it is a fragrance of death is the Holy Spirit who blows where ever he pleases.

Our task is to be faithful. Sometimes that will mean not being very well liked. But if we offer offense let it not be because we are jerks but because we were faithful to a fundamentally offensive message.

Harley A. said...

Not a bad point, Mike, but the problem comes when the answer to the second question begins to change the answer to the first one. And, it seems that it often does today.