Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Famine in the Land...for hearing the words of the Lord

Is there a spiritual famine in the land? Respected Christian leaders say yes! In his book, Famine in the Land, Steven J. Lawson sets forth the thesis that we are in days of drought when it comes to true preaching, biblical preaching, expository preaching and that this is the greatest need in this critical hour. While Lawson deals with a more thorough examination of the present day problem in his book, I want to address one main aspect lacking in today's modern and popular style of preaching - namely that true preaching is confrontational.

First we should look at what is actually happening in many pulpits today. Steven Lawson says, "Tragically, most of what passes for biblical preaching today falls woefully short of apostolic standards. Many pastors seem content to dole out pabulum to spiritual babies instead of teaching the full counsel of God. Many evangelical ministers have succumbed to delivering secular-sounding, motivational pep talks aimed at soothing the felt needs of restless church shoppers or, worse, salving the guilty consciences of unregenerate church members. Rather than expounding the depths of God's Word, many Bible-believing ministers have chosen the path of least resistance, content to scratch the surface of shallow souls and tickle the ears of languid listeners. The result is congregations are starving - even though many of the famished may not be aware of it - settling for sickly sweet, yet totally inadequate, spiritual pabulum" (pg. 38).

True preaching however is confrontational, calling for repentance, commanding a life-adjustment to truth, and seeking the transformation of the mind, heart, and soul of the listener. Confrontational preaching has always marked the proclamation of God's men down through the ages. "Noah's message from the steps going up to the Ark was not 'Something good is going to happen to you!' Amos was not confronted by the high priest of Israel for proclaiming, 'Confession is possession!' Jeremiah was not put into the pit for preaching, 'I'm O.K., you're O.K.' Daniel was not put into the lion's den for telling people, 'Possibility thinking will move mountains!' John the Baptist was not forced to preach in the wilderness and eventually beheaded because he preached, 'Smile, God loves you!' The two prophets of tribulation will not be killed for preaching, 'God is in his heaven and all is right with the world!'" (pg. 67)

Lawson continues, "Pastors who are committed to biblical exposition must have a confrontive element in their preaching if they are to emulate the prophets and apostles. Regrettably, this kind of reproof and rebuke is often missing from present-day preaching. Pastor Adrian Rogers calls for boldness in proclaiming God's truth by stating, 'It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God'" (pg. 68).

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