The latest editorial in the New Focus magazine caught my eye and is worth replicating in full...
We have Anglicans and Adventists, Brethren and Baptists, Catholics and Charismatics, Presbyterians and Pentecostals, Methodists and Mennonites, Church of this and Church of that, and never, perhaps since the first century, has so little been known of Jesus Christ. What can account for such widespread ignorance, even amongst professing Christians? Simply this, despite all of the outward trappings of Christianity and all our religious activity, rarely is Jesus Christ truly preached.
There is a type of Christianity for every kind of person and every occasion. Take your pick. We can do light and fluffy or formal and strict, we can do sacramental or ceremonial or entertaining – dazzle with lights or deafen with music. We can do ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty ... We can preach morality like Pharisees or theology like academics. Yet, seldom is Jesus Christ actually preached.
We do rite of passage services for baby to bereavement, calendar commemorations for Christmas carollers and Easter morning early-risers. We specialise in children’s work or youth group, or old folks’ work or ladies’ group or missionary weekends, and societies of every kind. But, hardly ever do we minister the simple truth of Christ.
Then there are church programmes. We do social work and community service, home visitation and hospital runs, Saturday morning football and outings for the elderly. We do special teas and lucky dips, coffee mornings and prayer breakfasts, evangelistic suppers, Alpha courses, cookery courses, golf courses. All too infrequently, we preach Jesus Christ.
We seek God’s help for revival and commit to pray all night. We hire top communicators and sponsor topical debates. We discuss creationism, political involvement, Islam, falling membership and church pensions policy. We have fabric committees, evangelism committees, deacons’ meetings, elders’ meetings, joint elders’/deacons’ meetings. Yet, for all of our activity we rarely preach Christ.
“What think ye of Christ?” asked the Master. Who? “Christ!” “Whose son is He?” The Pharisees of the Lord’s day had no answer. The public thought He was Moses, or Elias, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Only Peter, to whom it was supernaturally revealed had the right answer. He was the man Jesus, of Nazareth, evidently, the Son of David by descent. But He was also the Son of God, Christ, the Messiah. What do you think about His person? What of His works? What of His words? What of His death and resurrection?
We long for numbers, growth and revival. Fine. So be it. But let us remember that the means of church growth, the means of revival, the one and only way given to the church by which the elect of God will be gathered in, is the preaching of Jesus Christ. Peace with God, reconciliation with God, fellowship with God can only be had through Jesus Christ. Sinners will only ever think properly upon Him when Jesus Christ is faithfully preached in their hearing. You can have preaching without Christ but you will never have Christ without preaching.
For more excellent editorials and articles go to New Focus or better still subscribe to receive the bi-monthly magazine.