Wednesday, March 04, 2009

On the January/February issue of the FBFI's Frontline Magazine

When this issue, emblazoned with the theme "Preaching the Gospel" arrived in the mail at my office, I couldn't have been more delighted, and I only became happier as I leafed through it. The recognition of the centrality of the gospel seems to be gaining momentum, and for that I am thankful.

I don't mean to imply in any way that the FBFI has ever thought the gospel is unimportant. I do have very clear reasons, which I intend to address later, to conclude that the leadership of the FBFI is not unanimous on the importance of the gospel to the life of believers. In other words, I believe that the gospel has everything to do with sanctification. I will argue without reservation, for example, that the gospel is the "epicenter" of sanctification. Not all would agree. But that is for another time.

For the present, I am thrilled to see fundamentalist leaders affirm the fundamental importance of preaching the gospel to believers. Here's an outstanding portion of Matt Recker's article:
It seems strange to say that a missing element in much preaching is Jesus Christ and His gospel of grace, but I believe it is so. Even in my own experience, I have found that I can preach on Christian living, worldliness, the decaying culture, church growth, or a host of other topics and gloss over the power of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection! God has convicted me and challenged me that preaching this gospel must be included as the ultimate motive for everything we do and the power behind all we can be for Him. [emphasis added]

Gospel preaching is essential for the justification of unbelievers but also for the sanctification of believers. Preaching that diminishes the gospel's power will result in hearers thinking that they can earn God's approval or find strength to be a good Christian, parent, or spouse in their own ability. The unsaved will be deceived into thinking that salvation is something they can earn; the saved will be misled to think they can live the Christian life through their own effort. Gospel-less preaching will leave hearers still feeling guilt and shame no matter how hard they "try to do right." It is a fatal error to leave out the gospel, for any attempt to achieve our salvation, either our justification or sanctification, by human obedience alone will lead only to glorifying self and not God. The gospel alone gives the unsaved grace to stand in God's righteousness, and the gospel alone removes the condemnation from our lives.
Those are the first two paragraphs of the lead article in this issue. I wish I could take the time to re-type the whole thing. I wish I could link to it. (The rest is just as good.) I wish I had time to read the rest of the issue tonight, because the remainder looks just as good.

I wish I hadn't recently heard a sermon preached (at a place for which I have deep affection) that blatantly denies what Recker writes.

7 comments:

Bruce said...

So... Dever is a subscriber?

Todd Wood said...

Praise God for the glorious gospel movement in the FBF.

Coach C said...

link to the sermon . . . or send it to my by email

Glad to see this kind of writing in an FBF publication.

Paul said...

This is an issue I must acquire. Thanks for the heads-up, very encouraging!

So does this mean that the FBF is "Together For the Gospel"?

Along with Coach C I am interested in the link to the sermon you mentioned.

Also, you said, "I will argue without reservation, for example, that the gospel is the "epicenter" of sanctification. Not all would agree. But that is for another time".

How long must we wait for an explantion of this?

Ben said...

Bruce,

What, do you think he's the only one who reads around here?

Josh,

I will.

Chad said...

Wow, I'd be interested in hearing a sermon that would even attempt to deny that in evangelical circles. Could you send me the link?

notwhatmyhandshavedone@yahoo.com

Thanks

Wendy said...

Ben, I so agree with you about the gospel as the central motivating and empowering facet of our sanctification. I posted a piece on my blog today about that very issue applied to a decidedly feminine personal struggle--probably not much interest to you guys. :-)