Friday, March 31, 2006

Can Goals Hinder Evangelism?

Mark Dever responds to this question from C.J. Mahaney: "What is the most serious threat to the gospel in the evangelical church today?"

I can't decide which of Dever's steps 5 or 6 are more poignant, so I'm just going to quote them both. But I urge you to read the whole post.
5) Goal-setters ascend; gospel-definers are ignored; society changes; new challenges come. The very people who could have helped us stay on track have been shut out. Organizations promoting numerical goals rarely have increasingly defined ideas of what constitutes a Christian, or a church. The gospel becomes more and more assumed and less and less articulated.

6) Evangelists--from Schleiermacher to John R. Mott--resist traditional distinctions and Biblical clarity on the gospel. Constituency widens, enthusiasm crests, goals are met but having no effect. Organizational officials have interest in the organization continuing. Falling enthusiasm. Eventually declining organization. Is this not the description of too many evangelical associations in the last few centuries. They become the seed bed of theological liberalism. They even become opponents of the very gospel they were established to spread.

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