Monday, May 21, 2007

A great day at church!

Back in 1999 Erdmann's published a collection of scholarly theological essays in celebration of the work of Gordon D. Fee. The book was called Romans and the People of God. One of the the essayists included there was Regent College professor R. Paul Stevens, writing on the meaning of the term "the full blessing of Christ" (Romans 15:29). In that essay, Stevens contends that the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ--who he was and what he accomplished--is "the full blessing of Christ." He writes:
Have we got beyond the Gospel? No longer preach it? Hardly believe it? Have we been reduced to a religion of performance and spiritual workaholism in church and college?
Good question! That has been the drumbeat of this blogger, for it amounts to nothing less than the drifting of the church from its foundation in Christ. This is not a theoretical matter, but one many Christians are experiencing now, including myself.

But, all that having been said, I hasten to add that my experience in church yesterday was wonderfully Christ-centered and Christ-exalting. I have spent a fair amount of time on this blog telling my readers how my church isn't Christ-centered (to my deep dismay), but yesterday it most certainly was. The guest preacher was one of my personal heroes. Not well known nationally but justly honored in the state of Maine, Bob Frederich is 80 years old, but still preaching vigorously 3 weeks out of 4 at this church in Portland, Maine. His message yesterday was about seeing Jesus as he is now. His text was Revelation 1:12-18.

Why do I mention this? Because it was, in our church, utterly unique. I have written here of Christless Christianity, a phrase which may seem self-contradicting, but a form of cultural Christianity that amounts to (borrowing a phrase from Frederich) "evangelical humanism." It is a matter that concerns and distresses me. I can only hope and pray now that our own church-leaders will have taken yesterday's message to heart and that we as a church would continue what Frederich began--a turning back to Jesus.


Anonymous said...

I went to the local Friend's church on Sunday. The focus was in the book of Hebrews. So, as you probably already know, we were very into Jesus. I am smiling.

Milton Stanley said...

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His steadfast love endures forever."