“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 salvation and evangelism.
The second coming of Jesus Christ needs to be re-instated as the general thrust and burden of the church.
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Colossians 3:4-6 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c]
1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[a] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
We must all keep this reality at the front of our minds and hearts. Doing so will keep our focus where it needs to be. We must get ready for Jesus’ return! Just a few days ago, my friend and I discussed how early 20th century preaching focused on the reality of hell and Jesus returning to judge all. Somehow, we’ve changed that focus completely, and lost an important, even critical, truth in the process.
The evangelical church has lost the fear of God and has over emphasized the love of God.
Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Luke 12:5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.[a] Yes, I tell you, fear him!
Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Having discussed this in earlier Thesis entries, I have little to add here. The Bible states that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of Wisdom.” While God does love us, He is also HOLY…. We have all broken His Holy law and deserve judgment. That simple truth should permeate our hearts. Of course, God is love, but He is also Holy and He judges all of us. These truths much be measure and discussed in the appropriate proportion, rather than relying too heavily on any one truth. Like the blind men describing the elephant, we must get the entire picture to even begin to understand the true nature of God.
The church has left evangelism to a few trained professionals rather than simply obeying the Scriptures call to personally evangelize themselves.
Acts 8:1,4 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants[a] to continue to speak your word with all boldness,
Romans 10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
We lose so many because of this fact.
In speaking with others, I often hear “I am not a good speaker, so I cannot talk about God with others.” Jesus warns that if we deny Him before men, he will deny us in front of God. The Bible calls us all to become fishers of men. Now, that does not mean that everyone must begin public preaching. However, our love for Jesus and God’s truth should so permeate our lives that we cannot help but talk about Him to our friends, family and those we meet.
Of course, as with most things in life, skill helps here. Anyone can fish, but expert fishermen fair much better in the course of a day. We should all seek God’s Wisdom to understand and communicate His Word in effective ways. Regardless, the idea of one man handing nearly all evangelism for a church is simply foreign to the Bible. It amazes me that churches (outside of instructional schools for pastoring), do not do a lot more to train people for public speaking, apologetics and relationship management so they may become better fishers of men.