Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 at 2:11 PM

Vision Summer School Thoughts (4) - Revival (2)

All the posts in this series are done. Read them here

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One of the other issues I had with the "revival" was it's worldly aspect. In short, one of the main reasons that this was being promoted was because it was felt that the kids were sick of the message, sick of preaching, and this would wake them up. Thus they would have skits, body worship, and short testimonies in order to help convey the core message (which I already had issues with here).

This felt like selling out. It felt like selling out to the Gospel, it felt like selling out to Scripture, it felt like selling out to the pastors. In short, I felt like the idea behind the whole thing (never said, but always implied) was that "preaching God's Word isn't sufficient to attract people, we need to wrap it up into something they'd be interested in." Of course, no one would say something like that outwardly, but it's marks were evident in all the discussions I had with people. They would ask me questions like "You really think that the kids would be interested in preaching?" or say things like "Different people learn differntly, some learn better through visual than through sermons."

1) Yes absolutely I believe that people would be interested in sound Biblical preaching. After all, it is what the Prophets did, it's what Jesus did, it's what the Apostles did. No where in the Bible do we have "Oh lets put on a slideshow and a skit."

But some of you may say to me: Jesus spoke in parables, and didn't Paul quote Greek philosophers?

1) Jesus spoke in parables yes, but why did he do so? Mark 4 says:

10And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12so that

"they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven."
Get this, Jesus spoke in parables so that those that God had blinded would not hear!

2) Paul quoted Greek philosophers, yes, but he quoted them only to condemn and convict the listeners. Acts 17, Paul's speech in Athens is of prime example. He basically says "Hey, your philosophers knew some of it, God is revealed in nature, but you don't listen to Him, you worship idols!"

Either way, neither of these were examples of places where sound Biblical preaching needed to be wrapped up in something else in order to make the points "relevant" or "applicable"
Instead, throughout the Bible we have Paul exhorting Timothy to "preach the Word, in season and out." (2 Timothy 4) People will gather around them people who give them what their itching ears want to hear.

2) To the charge that different people learn differently, I disagree. If you give someone who has had no previous encounter with Christianity a picture of Jesus on the Cross what can they get from it? We don't know who that person is, we dont' know why he's up there, we don't know what that means for us. All of this requires someone to explain it. That is a picture of Jesus Christ, God in flesh, placed upon the cross for the punishment that sinners justly deserved because they have sinned against the Almighty God, through the cross those who believe have their sins paid for and the relationship restored with God... and so on.

But now after explaining it, we no longer need the picture! This example can be used with anything. "I learn by doing" How do we know if we're doing right or wrong? If it works or doesn't work? Only if someone explains to us which way is the right and the wrong ways, which results are desirable and not. But now we don't need to do it to learn, we merely need to listen!

No, we do not all learn differently. God has graced different people with different depths of knowledge and different abilities to rightly apply knowledge, but the source of our knowledge is the same: preaching.

Having addressed those issues, I return to my original point: I felt like the revival was selling out. Over and over it was touted as "come and check out our skits" "come and check out our songs" "come and check out ..." NONE of it was about God, the Gospel, Christ. It was completely man-centered. Come and you'll be entertained. Oh and by the way, we will share some testimonies too.

It felt like a bait and switch. It felt like people no longer were willing to say with Paul "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of life to all who believe." No, people were ashamed of the Gospel. They were ashamed that it wasn't bringing enough people into the church, not realizing the the Gospel is also meant to drive people away, John 6 and 2 Cor. 2: 15-17. This was what irks me the greatest, what offended me the most, and ultimately why I pulled out.

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