Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending yet another conference, packed with wonderful speakers. Grace Church hosted Ligonier Ministries' West Coast Conference, entitled Christless Christianity. The title of the conference came from Michael Horton's book title in which he discusses the "Alternative gospel of the American church." You can read more about the conference here. I just wanted to relay a couple thoughts/quotes from Michael Horton's first talk.
In decrying the consumerism that has crept into the Church -- both in evangelicalism and the new religious paganism that characterizes guys like Joel Osteen and movements like Word-Faith and Emergent -- Horton offered that we are exalting our methods over God's means of grace, and our contract over God's covenant. We really have taken our philosophy of ministry from secular marketing: the customer is king. Those who listen to the Gospel have become more important than the Gospel itself!
This was just great: "God is not about improving our life in Adam. He's about killing us and making us alive in Christ." So good. Don't sell Jesus to people as the one who will deliver your best life now. Stop appealing to people on the basis of what the natural man already wants. If you offer to people what they already want as natural people, then they don't have to be converted to believe your Gospel. Stop trying to make the Gospel more acceptable, and preach the eternal message we've been entrusted to guard.
Horton continued, and puts it this way: "Stop trying to climb the down escalator!" Referring to Romans 10:6-8, he reminded us that we don't have to reinvent the wheel trying to figure out what it is we're supposed to preach! The Word is on our hearts! And the power is in the Gospel itself. So many are wondering how to make the Gospel relevant, palatable, acceptable, etc., that they empty the cross of its power (1Cor 1:17). We chase our tails with all these methods of evangelism and attempts at attracting unbelievers to our churches when it is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16).
The rest of the conference was absolutely awesome. I encourage you to visit Ligonier's blog to read up on it.