Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gospel Starved

My recent reading has followed similar themes; namely that evangelical Christianity, though popular and profuse, is, nonetheless, “gospel-starved.” In Christless Christianity Michael Horton refers to a sermon delivered in the 1950’s by the late Donald Grey Barnhouse:

What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city…? Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say “Yes sir” and “No, ma’am” and the churches would be full every Sunday…where Christ is not preached (p. 15).

Barnhouse was speaking prophetically, according to Horton. He calls modern evangelical Christianity “moralistic therapeutic deism” devoid of gospel.

In Above all Earthy Powers, David Wells makes a similar observation. He notes that the problem with contemporary evangelicalism is its failure to distinguish itself from other forms of spirituality.

Therapeutic spiritualities which are non-religious begin to look quite like evangelical spirituality which is therapeutic and non-doctrinal. (p. 5)

Rounding out this theme is Graeme Goldsworthy’s Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture. In this work, Goldsworthy calls Christians back to the Bible as more than a collection of godly examples to follow or ungodly ones to avoid. He challenges us to see the Bible as the unfolding drama of redemption.

The gospel is the power of God (Rom. 1:16). Read the Bible for the gospel; attend church to hear the gospel; remind yourself daily of the gospel.

1 comment:

Donald W. Smith, CPA said...

Thank you for stating, in straight-forward terms, what we all long for: a daily dose of "Good News", not some sort of spsiritual pablum that may be filling, but not certainly is not sustaining.