I don’t have the time to follow the blow by blow of what is going on all over contemporary Evangelicalism. I try to stay informed though. I do.
However, now it is not only my time that is lacking but also my stomach.
Every time I turn around it seems like someone is going after someone else. I am talking about even within the camp of those who are soteriologically reformed. The friendly fire is getting old.
The off hand remarks, open criticism, and open letters seem to flood my blog and twitter feeds. Then there is the reaction. And then the reaction. And so forth.
This makes me wonder about what people really think and talk about. Do all of us gospel-centered, Christ-centered guys just walk around meditating on who we can take shots at, who is wrong, and who disagrees with us?
I know it is always fashionable to pummel the doctrinally uncordinated church growth guys for integrating business practices in their philosophies of ministry, but, take it from a guy who worked in a corporate environment for awhile, many of you evangelicals who like to point the finger so much have the corporate look themselves.
This is what I mean. If you work in a business environment, in particular a Fortune 500 type company, you have this undercurrent of attack. People are always plotting, scheming and ruining other people. Nobody is safe. Everyone has a target on them. The one thing that is consistent: everybody talks about everybody else. And what is the result? Nobody talks about their own weakness. This is because of fear of vulnrability.
You know what else doesn’t get talked about? –the strength of their product.
From my seat this is what I hate about what I see and hear. The guys that criticize are always so right and they always talk about everyone else and the gospel (product-if you will) gets muffled.
This is not the environment for a gospel explosion. It is not healthy to have the posture of concealing our weaknesses while over-stating and sometimes falsely caricaturizing others’. The gospel gets benched while the players brawl.
Maybe the gospel is not as popular as we all think?
I wonder how different things would be if we really thought deeply about Jesus. By this I don’t mean just to get some fresh hollow-point argumentation to blast someone with. Instead I mean the deep, refreshing, heart stirring, pride smashing, contemplation of the gospel. Spurgeon talked about dying our hearts with the gospel. I think this is good. What would we look like if we truly marinated in the gospel?
My fear is that we don’t. A movement that is supposed to be caught up in the gospel walks and talks and sounds like, well, something else.
As I was thinking about this yesterday I read Justin Taylor’s blog. His post was timely reminder amid my frustrations…
When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely of their daily experience of God.
Modern Christian books and magazines contain much about Christian doctrine, Christian standards, problems of Christian conduct, techniques of Christian service—but little about the inner realities of fellowship with God. Our sermons contain much sound doctrine—but little relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour.
We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters.
Thus we make it plain that communion with God is a small thing to us.
But how different were the Puritans! The whole aim of their ‘practical and experimental’ preaching and writing was to explore the reaches of the doctrine and practice of man’s communion with God.
So many of you brothers have so much to say. You are more gifted and have far more exposure than the rest of us. So, here’s a plea: serve us and one another by promoting the gospel. Use your ‘powers’ to drive yourself and others into the precious things of God. I think we all would be better for it.