Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Here Is Christ-exalting; Spirit-empowered; Biblically-rich; Uncontextualized; Impassioned Reformed Gospel Preaching!

This is a brief, yet very powerful, uncompromised call to follow Jesus Christ as Lord by a friend of mine named David King. I have been honored to share the platform with him at conferences hosted by our mutual friend, James White. In fact, I was there when he preached this sermon about a year ago.


IMHO, David is the best kept secret in evangelicalism today.  He is an accomplished author, faithful pastor, Bible expositor, a humble man of God, and a dynamic preacher of the gospel. May your hearts be encouraged by his message as he raises our gaze to "look upon Jesus; "the Author and Finisher of our faith."

The cross is a radical thing,
Steve
1 Cor. 2:2


14 comments:

les.prouty said...

Steve, this is so enriching and challenging. Thanks for this post. By the way, I am a current ruling elder in the PCA and former teaching elder in same. I know David well. He followed me at a church in Georgia back in the late 1990s. He is a man of God and one of the best preachers I have heard!
Also, I have had you linked on my blogroll for some time.
prouty.wordpress.com

Les Prouty

Bonnie @ AZhttp said...

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SJ Camp said...

bonnie
Thanks.

What did you think of David's message?

Steve

Trey said...

He's using 21st-century English, speaking to a 21st-century congregation that doesn't understand Koine Greek, and wearing 21st-century garb. Those alone means he is contextualizing. Contextualization outside of the original first-century culture and language is unavoidable and necessary. Perhaps you'd post some time on where you believe it's permissible to contextualize in light of John Travis's C1-C6 scale rather than dismissing contextualization entirely. I believe you are using contextualization as a pejorative rather than defining it correctly and looking at what is and is not proper contextualization.

Wm Mallory said...

Steve,

I will tell you what I think of David's Message..

We need more of these messages! I can tell he has a heart of passion for the lost. You are right, it is uncompromised.

I love that David is so straight forward and he uses plainess of speech. His call for repentance and mercy (not witholding Christ from sinners) is defidently Spirit-empowered..

What purpose is their in preaching anything if Christ is witheld from the sinner, yet we see it everyday with the majority of preachers!

Thanks Steve for posting David. Up til now, I had not heard of him. This is such and encouragement!!!

Bill Mallory

Carla Rolfe said...

I always find it curious that when you (general you, not Steve specifically) post something controversial or trivial, people fall over themselves to comment and be heard.

But when you post something soul-stirring like this clip of David's preaching, you get the trickle of comments here and there.

Yep, I find that phenom rather curious indeed.

Hayden said...

Carla,

I have posted on a friend's blog a couple of times Bible Studies I have done and received 0 comments.

When something is controversial it stirs the fingers to type? Maybe?

Steve,

This was really good stuff. Thanks

Terry Rayburn said...

To complain about how controversy stimulates comments is just to miss the concept of "genre" or the type of subject of a post.

When there is a controversy, those on each side of the controversy naturally attempt to defend their side of the controversy.

For example, if someone posts on a Christian blog that universalism is OK, there will be (and should be) several comments defending salvation by faith in Christ alone.

But if someone posts a message that Christ is Lord and Savior, you can't expect 500 comments saying, "Amen", "I agree", "good post", etc.

Or to put it another way, if everyone posted an "attaboy" for every good and true post, the blog would be cluttered with literally thousands of comments on every post on a blog with traffic like CampOnThis.

Every blog reader has a limited amount of time. I, for example, monitor dozens of blogs. To engage in a thoughtful comment on every post I essentially agree with would literally be a full time job, and still never get done.

So most serious blog readers, including myself, tend to choose the blogs and posts which they consider important enough to "take a stand" on.

If one writes a post that is "good and true", and there are few or no comments on it, it typically would simply mean that the post was "good and true", and agreed to by the readers, who are edified because it was "good and true".

Great! Mission accomplished.

We should not blog controversially just for the sake of getting more comments, nor should we avoid controversy because we don't want negative comments. The negative comments become the opportunity to correct error. Great!

Finally, having a lot of comments is great, and one of the best ways for a high-traffic blog to get them is to simply ask a thoughtful question (not just "What do yo think?", but a more specific question).

For example, in a blog on Christmas, the blogger may ask, "What are you doing this Christmas?", or "What is the most important thing about Christmas to you?"

After all, the purpose of a Christian blog is not numbers of comments per se, but spiritually spreading truth, and interacting in fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, speaking the truth in love.

Blessings and Merry Christmas,
Terry

SJ Camp said...

After all, the purpose of a Christian blog is not numbers of comments per se, but spiritually spreading truth, and interacting in fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, speaking the truth in love.

Amen!

johnMark said...

Steve,

There is something familiar about David King. :)

I was certainly blessed by this clip.

Such simple godly preaching.

Mark

Carla Rolfe said...

Terry,

my observation on Christian blog commenting may fall into the complaint category but in all honesty its more of a lament, than a complaint. Of course I am not suggesting that when someone posts something controversial that is also heretical that we all just sit on our hands and say "oh isn't that nice". By all means we should indeed respond with a Biblical response.

What I was referring to however is a discouraging trend among Christians that many a learned layman & pastor have spoken on long before I ever came along, and likely long after I'll be gone. That being, the way Christians prioritize and make the focus of interest the things that are either temporary or merely designed to dazzle and/or incite emotion - all the while they sit quietly by almost in apathy at the things that truly should grab our attention by the shirt collar if possible, and make us sit up and take notice. One example I've heard used over the years is how Christians will attend a sporting event and scream themselves hoarse rooting for their favorite team - but these same believers will barely mumble a half-hearted "amen" while sitting in church Sunday morning. That may be extreme (or not) but it makes the point quite well, I think.

In this case of the clip of David preaching this message, this heart gripping plea for sinners to repent and come to Christ for their very lives are literally on the line, it didn't escape me how few comments were made. Yet, some Christian blogger will post the latest nonsensical fad-driven slop of the ECM and before the hour is up 100 people will have sounded off. Are both important? Sure they are, but the obvious favor of the trend du jour over and above the life giving words of a gospel message, is just sad to me.

You said "After all, the purpose of a Christian blog is not numbers of comments per se, but spiritually spreading truth, and interacting in fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, speaking the truth in love." and I couldn't agree more. Writing in the Christian blogging community shouldn't be about numbers but it's hard not to notice where the numbers are, and where they aren't. Bearing in mind those numbers represent people, and mostly Christian people, who in a large part aren't interacting in fellowship with the excellent, Biblical, God honoring posts, but flocking to the controversial places for a wide variety of reasons, I'm sure.

Now, I rarely see anything publicly written on this but I know for a fact there are many Christian bloggers who share this concern with me because I've had private discussions with many of them and they say exactly the same thing I'm saying here. I'm not sure why folks don't want to bring it up publicly, but since it's the big ole elephant in the middle of the room we might as well at least acknowledge that it's sitting there.

You said "But if someone posts a message that Christ is Lord and Savior, you can't expect 500 comments saying, "Amen", "I agree", "good post", etc." I say this only partly in jest, but why not? There have been huge comment threads with far less edifying material all over the Christian blogging community, so why can't we expect a great big ole comment thread filled with encouragement and praise? Am I really the only one that sees a horrible disconnect there?

I do appreciate your thoughts on this, and I look forward to your (or anyone else's) response. Maybe I'm a dreamer, maybe I'm far too unrealistic when it comes to this, but it seems to me if there were anything in the Christian blogging community worth being a focal point, it would be excellent messages like the video of David King, or carefully studied and well layed out posts on Christian doctrine and Christian living. What I find the most ironic thing of all, is that us older believers sit around and shake our heads at the spiritual condition of the generation coming up after us. It shouldn't come as news to anyone, that WE are their examples, so maybe part of the reason they do what they do, say what they say, and cause us all such frustration, is right at our own feet?

Maybe, just maybe, if we were busy about lifting up the great things with at least as much enthusiasm and passion as we jump into the fray of controversy, we'd be setting a better example by holding a higher standard for them to emulate?

It's possible I could be entirely wrong with all of this. However, after conversations I've had with many other Christian bloggers who chose to remain silent (publicly) on this subject, that I'm not the only one thinking these things.

My two cents, for what they're worth.
SDG,
Carla

SJ Camp said...

Carla
Wow! Great post. I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Great wisdom on the nature of Christian thinking and a biblical worldview being perpetuated in the blogosphere.

Thank you friend,
Steve

Terry Rayburn said...

Carla,

My delay in responding to your latest comment is only because I
have pondered it much, and tried to get to the core of the issue.

I think what you and others are really getting at is simply the old concern, which you allude to, about the "state of the Church today".

We compare how it "should" be with how it "is", and find it wanting, and it seems that the poor state is reflected in blogging.

I would touch on three points that I believe are relevant:

1. Spiritual Reaction To Truth

The "soulish/emotional" reactions to a football touchdown are not much related to the "spiritual" reactions to biblical truth.

The first almost demands a yell and a "Yes!" with a clenched fist and a big smile.

The other may result in as little outward reaction as a nod or nothing. But on the inside one is stimulated to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, whether they blog about it or not.

2. How To View The Church

We need to have the view of the Body of Christ that God Himself-- and Twila Paris :) -- has: "How beautiful is the Body of Christ."

With all its attendant imperfections, the New Creation, indwelt by the very Spirit of Christ, is an amazing work of God.

And He loves the Church. I don't just mean Theology 101. I mean He really loves her, like the spiritual equivalent of Song of Solomon. He adores her. He loved her even when her members were His enemies. And nothing can separate us from that love.

And we shouldn't lament too much about the Church, because He is working ALL things together for good to her.

And the way Jesus loves the Church, that's how we should love the Church. And if we do, we will feed the Church with Jesus, accompanied by relevant theology, emphasizing Grace.

Not by Theology, with a little Jesus tacked on to make it sound spiritual, and plenty of Law to make sure the sheep don't get out of line.

Which brings me to...

3. The True Elephant In The Room Is Almost Invisible

By that I mean that the true elephant in the room is not so much deliberately ignored, but is difficult to see without spiritual glasses.

I speak of the elephant of Legalism.

The biggest problem of the true Church, in this or any age, is Legalism. There are many forms of Legalism, but they all contribute to an unspiritual Church.

Most forms of Legalism fall under this general definitional statement:

"I think (or at least vaguely feel, sometimes) that I must do something or refrain from doing something in order to get, or keep, the love and favor of God."

Now, some Christians are so ingrained with Legalism that they would immediately say, "Well, that's true, isn't it?"

Others in a lesser level of bondage would say, "I know it's not really true, but I can identify with the idea of "feeling" like it's true."

Only one Christian out of 100 (in my not-so-limited experience) understands that this statement that Legalism makes is utterly false, dishonoring to Christ and His work on the Cross, and destructive to the spiritual life of a believer.

99 out of 100 simply do not really understand Grace, especially Grace after initial salvation.

Why this outrageous 99:1 ratio?

Simply because Legalism, Performance-based Christianity, has permeated the Church like a drop of red food coloring dropped into a glass of water.

It is preached even by so-called "grace" preachers, who often understand that initial salvation is by grace alone, but then revert to a message of, "Now that you wretches are saved, you need to get your act together or else! Do you have any idea how disgusted God must be with you?"

They don't really understand "It is finished", as it relates to God's attitude to us believers. That He's not angry with His children. That He accepts us "in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6 NKJV), and that He loves us as He loves Christ.

The perverted thinking of Performance-based Christianity has resulted in most Christians thinking that the mark of a "good" sermon is, "It really convicted me!"

"Beat me, club me, stomp on me, Pastor. That's what I need."

I would call it "pathological", except I hate psycho-babble. The truth is it's just a perversion of the Gospel For The Believer.

It robs believers of their peace, gets them off the ground of Grace, and on the ground of Law and Performance, which dishonors Christ, and quenches the Holy Spirit.

It has always been the response to God's radical loving Grace that has caused believers to flourish spiritually.

And it has always been Legalism that chokes them, and is the real cause of a low spiritual state.

Finally, Carla, the Church is starving for this Grace. They are starving for love and acceptance from God, because they've been taught that they have to "earn" it, or be "worthy" of it, or at least not mess up too much.

But instinctively they know they can't "earn" it, and will never be "worthy" of it, and they can't stop messing up.

And so they are skinny starving half-empty little sheep, because the evil of Legalism has denied them the truth that it is ALL of Grace -- not just for initial salvation, but for the fellowship of being tucked in the arms of the loving Lord, warm, accepted, favored, blessed, and safe from any condemnation.

Then, whether they make a blog comment or not, they can walk in the Spirit, being filled with the Spirit, God working in them both to will and to do His good pleasure.

Blessings,
Terry

SJ Camp said...

Terry:
Excellent thoughts as well.

I am trying to see where you and Carla patently disagree on the nature of Christian blogging and the content we should give our pens too?

Both of you continually represent a high view of God and sound doctrine in Christian blogging. A Christ-centered message without reverting to a diluted gospel just to appeal to the times in which we live.

Legalism is a battleground within evangelicalism - no question. But I think the root problem to legalism is a move away from the authority of God's Word to the predilections and peccadilloes of man (i.e., cp Matt. 15:1-9).

The ECM in their search for significance within a postmodern culture has left behind the "old paths" rather than maintaining them. In their striving to figure out how to do church in our day, I think that they are creating their own legalism--a postmodern arrogant cultural relevance legalism that says the gospel will have little effect if not contextualized and the church will have little growth if it doesn't adapt to culture.

I see both you and Carla standing for what is right biblically in the midst of such spiritual confusion and theological schizophrenia.

Thank you again brother for your thoughts here as always. I appreciate you greatly...

Steve
Col. 1:9-14