Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Father Abraham and the Seeker-Sensitive Church

All churches should be seeker-sensitive. Every Sunday, every preacher in the pulpit should be praying that there are unregenerate souls sitting before him, and he should preach the glorious gospel with all the passion and intensity he can muster.

I was reading this morning the story Jesus tells called "The Rich Man and Lazarus". And I was struck again by the non-seeker-sensitive emphasis of Abraham. The rich man, in hell, sees Abraham and Lazarus in heaven and asks him to send Lazarus to warn his still-living brothers:
But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
If a non-Christian won't believe the testimony of Scripture, they won't believe even if a corpse springs up from the coffin and warns them to repent! How much less than will they believe Gospel-Lite which tells them little more than that Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life?!

Oh, may we tell all that we can about hell, about the Law, about sin, and wrath, and judgment! May we tell them about grace, and forgiveness, and reconciliation, and imputation of our sin and Christ's righteousness! And may we tell them about ten thousand thousand years of infinite joy in the presence of God!

7 comments:

JLF said...

Great post, Tom. That story gets me every time. 'If the gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.' They have been blinded by the god of this world, the father of lies. May we never change our methods in a vain attempt to win those who will not be won, but always preach Christ crucified to all.

tomgee said...

Thanks, Julian!

One of the scarier parts of this story, which always gives me a bit of a chill, is that it is likely not a parable. I remember reading (somewhere) the justification for that statement, which included the facts that (a) it is not specifically identified as a parable in the text, and (b) at least one of the individuals is given a proper name, which is not true in any (other) of Jesus' parables.

Brrr... I think it's ok, even as a Christian, to be a bit frightened of hell. How did John Piper put it? Something like "Even if you're safe in the lifeboat with the Captain, the fact that you're surrounded by 80 foot waves should still give you pause."

Just think how close we were to hell, before we were rescued! I remember being shocked by Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," but on reflection I can see that that particular sermon is one of the kindest, most loving sermons I've ever encountered!

Jodi said...

Great to see you are back from your "blogiday".
My family has within the past two years gone from a mega-ultra seeker-sensative church to a very traditional reformed church. In both I have seen that obedience to the command to proclaim the gospel is the key...not showy sermons or extravagant ministries.
Oh that we (in whatever church we are) remember to proclaim the beautiful truths of Scripture!

Son of Man said...

Tom, your reply to JLF was like a whole new awesome blogpost in itself. I had a kid tell me the other day that his pastor says that it is wrong to speak about hell. I shudder to think of how many supposed preachers of the word will be judged harshly by our father for leading sheep away from the truth.

Jodi said...

It even goes beyond that, S.O.M. When my husband and I were missionaries to Europe, I was part of a debate at a conference with people saying it was unwise to tell children under the age of 10 yrs about the crucifixion or about hell or any other part of Jesus's death with their defense being that it will frighten children away from the good news. Yikes! The scary thing is that this was all in a very evangelical, conservative church (which, by the way, we are no longer atttending).

tomgee said...

Ok, Josh, now you've convinced me to make put together a posting on hell.

I preached a message on hell once at this bizarre little church we were attending several years ago. (This was before we knew how bizarre they were.) Maybe that would be a useful foundation ... hmm ...

Great post on Naaman, btw! I loved your points!

Daniel Chapman said...

Thanks for your Blog Tom,

You're right - we need to preach the Gospel in Chruches, as well as everywhere else.
I have just started a blog that you and your readers might be encouraged by (bit of advertising). It's about my experinces in everyday evangelism. www.evangelismaction.blogspot.com check it out if you have time. I want to share my efforts with others in the body so they will be encouraged by my failures and joys.

Daniel