Wednesday, January 28, 2009

prophetic v practical

I love this post by Phil Cooke, The Prophetic Versus The Practical: What People Want Or What They Need? In it he asks, "Are preaching a message based on the Bible's intentions or the audience's aspirations?"

In Churches/Communities/"Conversations" across the world today I see three extremes at play:
  • those offering prosperity
  • those offering psychological advice
  • those offering a social gospel (they call it "love")
All of these capture some element of truth but are really perversions of the Truth in that they miss the fullness of His character. In the end, the Gospel is an offense to the fallen mind. To ultimately be effective, at some point it is required to offend leading to repentance or further rebellion.

Dorothy Sayers in Letters to the Diminished Church writes:

First, I believe it to be a grave mistake to present Christianity as something charming with no offense to it. Seeing that Christ went about the world giving the most violent offense to all kinds of people, it would seem absurd to expect that the doctrine of his person can be so presented as to offend nobody. We cannot blink at the fact that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, was so stiff in his opinions and so inflammatory in his language that he was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and a public danger.

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