Christless Christianity

Title: Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church

Author: Dr. Michael Horton

Publisher: Baker

Page Count: 240

Readability: Moderate

Synopsis: Dr. Horton diagnoses the core problem with modern evangelicalism:  The drifting away from gospel preaching, centering on the person and work of Jesus Christ, toward the embracing of a therapeutic moralistic deism that puts man and his perceived wants and needs first and relegates God to a reactive spectator. Many of today’s preachers define God as the genie in the bottle who meets all our needs where we are at and not the Great judge who makes all of his creatures account for every deed done in the flesh – whether good or evil. God is portrayed as unequivocally benevolent.  He’s the ultimate good guy who’s on our side and only wants the best for all his children, whether they are gathered in or gone astray. The good news of the gospel is trivialized since sin and judgment are marginalized to the fringes of Christian belief and experience. The contemporary preacher doesn’t teach that man is a sinner in need of forgiveness, but an imperfect soul struggling to live right and receive God’s material blessings. Continue reading

The Ugly Truth About Mirrors

This morning I was in prayer over the aversion some people have about attending church.  Church Dodger Doug hates the thought of coming to hear a sermon.  Strangely, he may be OK with an occasional visit to some churches in town, but not others. Why is this so?

An image immediately formed in my mind of Dodger Doug warily entering the front door, taking a seat in the very back pew.  He looks up to the pulpit and instead of gazing at a smiling preacher he sees a tall body-length mirror reflecting a high resolution image of himself.  The reflection clearly displays every facial blemish, skin splotch and protruding fat roll.  Dodger Doug is confronted with the ugly truth that he is not the person he thought he was in his imagination.  Appalled at the loathsome image Doug draws back and swears off the church, pointing to the other blemished congregants and their inherent hideousness as an excuse for not coming back.  But the hard truth is he couldn’t bear to look at himself as he truly is.

Church Dodger Doug may find refuge in another church where the mirrors resemble those you find in a carnival fun house.    The contorted images may entertain him but he never sees himself as he truly is.

Any place where the whole counsel of God is expounded from the pulpit, the preached word acts as a mirror that tears down all guises and shows us just how deeply the image of God in us has been damaged by the raging disease of sin.  Our original honor, dignity and glory has been ravaged by the boils and infected wounds of our own self-inflicted transgressions. Continue reading

Preachers In the Pulpit: Paul Washer

I feel compelled to spotlight a preacher of God’s word that the world probably knows little about. He doesn’t have a large church congregation, nor has he written any Christian bestsellers. He doesn’t ooze with charm and charisma nor does he have a pleasantly melodious voice. What he does do extremely well is passionately preach Christ and him crucified. He has become quite well known throughout the Reformed and discernment spheres of Christian blogdem, and I want to dedicate this post to the outstanding work of God he is laboring hard for each and everyday. His name is Paul Washer and he is the founder and director of HeartCry Missionary Society. He also serves as an itinerant preacher and speaks at churches all over the country. You can read a brief biography of his life and ministry here.

I first became aware of Paul Washer through a message he preached to a youth gathering a couple of years ago. The sermon blazed like wildfire through the blogosphere and I listened to it from a link at Slice of Laodicea. I couldn’t believe my ears. He broke every rule of seeker sensitivity without blinking an eye. He shattered the myths of easy-believism ‘I said a prayer’ evangelicalism without mercy. He preached the hard message of the gospel; that of dying to self, taking up the cross and following Christ. He didn’t promise the kids health, wealth and prosperity. He spoke from experience the true reality of facing death on a daily basis for the cause of the gospel while working as a missionary in the jungles of Peru. He then rebuked the youth for thinking a radical Christian as someone who wears a Christian t-shirt! Continue reading