Saturday 28 December 2013

"Why Johnny Can't Preach: The Media have shaped the messengers", T. David Gordon

I tend to build up a number of books which form a small pile on my shelf until I have time to read them in a relaxed frame of mind. Christmas each year is one of the those valuable times for mental refreshment and also a time for reflection. Life after all is short and we should all want to live our lives for the glory of God; in a way that is productive, meaningful and God glorifying. It is so easy to slip into a worldly mindset which tends to pamper the flesh and its message constantly tells people, "you need to relax, take it easy". This is the opposite of the message of Jesus Christ who spoke of discipleship in very opposite ways to the world. Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24 "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it".

A lack of emphasis upon a wholehearted commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ can easily enter into the church and also preaching. We have to be honest and acknowledge that there is a massive lack of good preaching today and yet the preaching of pure doctrine is the primary means that the Lord God has promised to use to extend his kingdom on earth. Many Christians have never sat under consistent expository preaching and they do not know what they are missing. This book by T. David Gordon is an excellent exposé of this contemporary problem. The lack of sound expository preaching in the church needs fixing! However, the first step to solving a problem is to recognise that there is a problem in the first place.

Simply "burying our head in the sand" will not do. Christians should be lovers of truth and this includes facing up to the painful and truthful realities of the state of the church. However, we are not left without answers and one of them is to turn to the Lord in prayer. To cry out to the Lord for this problem to be fixed (and not for only our own church, but the wider church as well). One of the reasons that T. David Gordon believes that there is a problem, is the lack of attention to texts of literature in an age of media, sound bites and visual means of communicating. Preaching is an oral event and it takes much effort to craft a sermon that is faithful to the written text of the Scripture, while being logical, unified, evangelical, with movement, points and order (pp 23-28). This is a must read for teaching elders and ruling elders, but also church members.

May we turn to the Lord in prayer for the church in the West,

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38

May we also turn to the Lord in prayer for our own minister who labours to feed the sheep with the word of God (if your minister is unfaithful to preach sound doctrine, then where possible you should seek out a church that will feed your soul from the scriptures): "To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak" Ephesians 6:18-20).

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