Last sunday at my wife's behest I attended a Christmas service at a nearby Pentecostal church. Tongues issues aside, most Christians would concede that, historically, a hallmark of the Pentecostal movement has been passionate holiness preaching. It is for this reason that I am staggered at the continuous stream of sissy boy therapeutic preaching emmanating from many modern Pentecostal pulpits. It pains me to say that our local branch is no exception to this modern trend. And tragically, rather than setting them apart it is actually bringing them into line with much of modern evangelicalisms "40 Days of your Best Prayer of Jabez Now".
It is also worth bearing in mind that Christmas services are usually times where unchurched people attend. Preachers are simply derelict in their duty when they fail to faithfully proclaim the one true Gospel in this setting. The preacher in this particular case is someone who vehemently rejects even the slightest suggestion that his preaching might be "seeker sensitive" or watered down. Well - you be the judge! The entire substance of the message I heard last Sunday was that Christmas was about God sending his Son with a message of joy to all people. Reader, this is a message that a Mormon or a universalist could proclaim. There was nothing to distinguish it as Christian let alone address the Gospel. I shudder to think at what a complete pagan would think after hearing that message. He would certainly walk out with the same ignorance but perhaps slightly more comforted about his lifestyle of rebellion.
I am so mad about this. God has given us a beautiful Gospel to deliver to sinful men. The joy the aforementioned preacher spoke of is something that can only be rightly understood in the light of God's Holiness, man's sinfulness, and Christ's redemptive work on the cross to bridge that infinite gulf. It is a message that can be preached lovingly without resorting to pathetic sissy boy therapy. Preacher, man up this Christmas and do not withold the full counsel of God concerning the salvation of damned souls. We are in the business of life and death, not trying to compete with Oprah.
Tomorrow will be the start of an "8 Days of Christmas" series where I will attempt to lovingly proclaim the Gospel by dissecting a famous Christmas carol. It is an attempt to give an example of preaching that is loving in tone without shying away from the offense of the cross . . . all the while remembering that it is an offense to those who are perishing regardless of how nice we are.
Starting tomorrow - 8 Days of Christmas on The Bottom Line