“I have been writing this volume while residing in Germany for a teaching trip. I am humbled by penning these 95 theses in the same country as Martin Luther did many years ago. I submit these to the evangelical church of our day and pray that God would allow anything of truth in these pages to bend and change men’s hearts back to God.” – Greg Gordon –
It is useless for large companies of believers to spend long hours begging God to send revival. Unless we intend to reform we may as well not pray. Unless praying men have the insight and faith to amend their whole way of life to conform to the New Testament pattern there can be no true revival. – A.W. Tozer
I am currently reviewing and commenting on 95 theses to the modern evangelical church “revised” by Greg Gordon. The following discusses false gospels and leadership.
Preaching has become all about the happiness of man and not the glory of God.
John 6:26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
Romans 4:20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Acts 14.21-22 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
Thanks to the efforts of some larger-than-life pastors such as Mark Driscoll and John Piper, Calvinism has seen some significant growth over the last decade. While not a huge fan of the philosophy myself (I will have to write a blog entry on that one day), I have studied and found a few benefits to it. Perhaps the primary benefit is a renewed focus on preaching about the glory of God and not the happiness of man.
Unfortunately, ‘prosperity teaching’ continues to dominate most churches. A little less extreme, but no less dangerous, most evangelical church teach try to bring people to Christ by explaining to them that Jesus loves them, and wants them to go to heaven by saying a prayer. That’s a pretty tempting offer for the low cost of one prayer!
We need to return to understanding that as sinners, we have fallen from grace and do not reflect the love and glory of our Father. He created us and died on the cross for us. Therefore, he deserves nothing less than our devotion and praise. Let us glorify and magnify Him together!
Preachers give smooth words to entice men, yet very few give any words of correction or rebuke.
Jeremiah 6:14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
Proverbs 1:23 If you turn at my reproof,behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.
1 Timothy 5:20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
Where do I start with this? I probably have a different take on this than most.
At one point, a friend asked me if I go to church. I answered, “no.” After asking me why I do not, he replied, “You need to come under the authority of a pastor!” I responded, “I would love to. Really… just show me one who can get to know me well enough to correct me when I sin.”
The New Testament does talk a bit about elder, servant leadership. It explains the benefits of being led by a person who loves God, and the responsibilities of the one who leads. It also talks about correction and rebuke. Some of those words come from Jesus directly, so you know it is important.
Yet, my really practical question comes into play here. How does a man who leads 100’s or more know whether or not I sin? How can he properly rebuke me? How does his leadership role fit with the responsibilities listed in the New Testament concerning reproof? He simply cannot. He has to rely on others bringing a matter to his attention, and then he ends up acting as a judge listening to a case. This does not line up with what we see in the New Testament.
With smaller groups, the leader can get to know me as a friend, and a person. And, I can get to know him! We can get to know each other, and as problems arise, we can properly rebuke each other in love, as the Bible teaches. Let us not be fooled… even leaders sin and need reproach, at times. Unfortunately, most of our pastors are like King David, leaders of groups so large, that their people do not know them, much less whether or not they live lives of sin.
Run from gospels that focus on your success and prosperity. From those that use the name of Jesus Christ only for personal gain.
John 2:16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
Acts 20:33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.
Jeremiah 6:13 For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.
I hope I do not need to go into much detail on this one. Really, Jesus does not preach your best life now. Nearly all of the disciples died preaching Jesus. They certainly did not experience prosperity, but gave up everything to glorify God. I pray we do the same! If you gave your life to Jesus simply to experience blessings in this life, you have accepted a false gospel.