Addressing Post-Modern Americans with the Authentic Gospel

Several days ago I reflected on some notes I had taken at an SBTS trustee meeting in April of 2000. The notes were from the presidential address to the trustees by Dr. Albert Mohler. Dr. Mohler listed “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century” that we would be wise to take notice of and seek to confront. Over the next several weeks, I want to address each of these, briefly, in this blog.

The first one states that the church must “Address Post-modern Americans with the authentic Gospel. What is meant by “Post-modern Americans”? Post modernism is a philosophical vision that has filtered into the mainstream of America and sadly into many churches. It says that there is no absolute truth, that all things are relative and of one’s own belief system. In the 1960s, for instance, if you asked the general public about who would go to heaven, most people would say “Christians.” Today, the answer is likely to be “any good person” or in some instances “everybody.” A couple of weeks ago in an edition of the Kentucky Baptist paper, the Western Recorder, there is a front page headline that reads, “Study finds belief that heaven open to nearly everyone.” This study was conducted by Baylor University (a former Baptist college in Texas). Rodney Stark, who helped conduct the study says, “I think that it’s really just a broadening because of the cultural experiences of diversity.” (Say what?) That expresses a basic tenet of Post-modernism, that truth is determined by one’s experience and that truth does not stand on its own. Of course, Christianity denies this. Christianity says that truth is determined by the God who created and sustains His universe.

How has the church handled this challenge in the past decade? In far too many cases, it has merely capitulated to the thinking of the day. The clear Gospel, the authentic Gospel, has not been the mainstay of much preaching. There has been a warm, fuzzy type of preaching that is really just moralism . . . be good, be happy, because that’s what God wants for you. There must be a return to a clear proclamation of God’s Gospel, not man’s. What is the authentic Gospel? Well, it is simple, but deep in its application. I like the one sentence definition that John Piper gave a year or so ago: “The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy. Now that is Good News!! That is a good summation of the authentic Gospel. Paul stated it pretty clearly in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 — Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

That, my friend, is the full Gospel, the authentic Gospel, and the Gospel that we must proclaim to our generation.

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