Monday, December 10, 2012

From JI Packer's introduction to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ:

There is no doubt that Evangelism today is in a state of perplexity and unsettlement. . . . Without realizing it we have during the past century bartered the gospel (the biblical gospel) for a substitute product which, though it looks similar enough in points of detail, is as a whole a decidedly different thing.

The new gospel conspicuously fails to produce deep reverence, deep repentance, deep humility, a spirit of worship, a concern for the church. Why? We would suggest that the reason lies in its own character in content. It fails to make men God-centered in their thoughts and God-fearing in their hearts because this is not primarily what it is trying to do. One way of stating the difference between it and the old gospel is to say that it is too exclusively concerned to be "helpful" to man — to bring peace, comfort, happiness, satisfaction — and too little concerned to glorify God. . . .

The old gospel was always and essentially a proclamation of divine sovereignty in mercy and judgment, a summons to bow down and worship the mighty Lord on whom man depends for all good, both in nature and in grace. Its center of reference was unambiguously God. But in the new gospel the center of reference is man. 

Whereas the chief aim of the old was to teach men to worship God, the concern of the new seems limited to making them feel better.  The subject of the old gospel was God and His ways with men; the subject of the new is man and the help God gives him. There is a world of difference. The whole perspective and emphasis of gospel preaching has changed.

O may we be faithful to the [old] biblical gospel!

This lengthy quote from Packer is included in Bruce Bickel's book Light and Heat: The Puritan View of the Pulpit and The Focus of the Gospel in Puritan Preaching, pp. 90-91.


debi knell said...

thank you for this. I have been seeing a huge change in not only the church, but also in the "modern day Christians" There are way too many feel good sermans out there, pastors who care more about getting them in, getting their $$ and the numbers that they have completely ignored the fact that God is at the center of everything, not all of the Bible will make you feel good, He is a just God and there are consequences to all actions. Thank you for writing this!

bondservant4jesuschrist said...

The way the modern thing is, they say come to Jesus and He will give you stuff. Thanks for mentioning this post. We are not promised a good life as a Christian, but if it any good, it is because Jesus is Lord and Heaven is our true home.

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