Sermon of the Week: “The Calling of a Preacher” by Albert Mohler.

Albert Mohler was one the key-note speakers at the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference. While there were several excellent speakers throughout the event, this message from Mohler was timely and relevant to me personally – and seemed to resonate with the two or three thousand others gathered there as well. Here is an excerpt from his introduction, full message in video below, mp3 download here (right click and save or click to listen).

Let’s admit it. There’s a lot of mysteries in the christian life, but one of the greatest mysteries is why God would in His sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient, and wisdom and righteousness, and mercy choose the likes of folks as we… to do this. You might think that if we were orchestrating this, we might have angels doing the preaching. Everybody would listen to an angel, wouldn’t they? Of course,  not American angels. We domesticate little angels, we paint little pictures of cherubs and hang them in the bathroom. It’s a completely different reality. Just remember in the Gospel of Luke, the angelic hosts showed up to the shepherds and the first think they had to say is, “First of all, don’t die” – “Fear not, we bring you tidings of great joy”. Meanwhile, most Americans, in our weirdo, fake, postmodern spirituality think they’re channeling with little cherubs in the bathroom.

But God doesn’t assign angels to do the preaching. He assigned human preachers, men whom He has called because when an angel shows up to preach you don’t ask, “How did God do that?”. But, when we show up to preach you’re looking at me going (saying), “He’s just flesh and blood. He’s nearsighted. He only speaks one language. He’s gonna be hungry soon. He fell asleep during a Greek lecture, thirty something years ago and you’re letting him preach?” Well, it’s as the apostle Paul says, “It’s so that the glory would be all of God’s and not ours. So that the excellence would be His excellence that’s demonstrated and not ours.”

Admit it: you’d love to be doing this, and then admit it: That’s a good thing. And then let’s just admit it together, it’s just a priceless thing that we get to be together for these days and these hours, to preach and to hear preaching and to be encouraged, not only by each other, but by the Holy Spirit of God in this calling that has come to us.

Yet another example of what the gospel is NOT.

Meet Charles L. Worley. He pastors Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina and he apparently has no idea what the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ is.

Mr. Worley, have you forgotten the pit of depravity from which God saved you, or is your lack of mercy a sign that you have yet to receive God’s grace yourself?

There is a striking irony about Mr. Worley’s suggestion during his “sermon” that homosexuals be imprisoned behind fences till they die out (an irony similar to the obnoxious street preacher we featured a few days ago). The irony is that one day in the near future it is very likely that Christians will be imprisoned in America for their faith, and it will be men like these that will have proven to be instrumental in–and the justification for–the passing of legislation needed to criminalize Christianity.

Quotes (938)

“If signs and wonders did still exist, do you think they would be given to people with bad theology? You think God would give Benny Hinn the power to do miracles to authenticate really bad theology? If those gifts existed, they would belong to the purest, most faithful, sound teachers of the word of God to authenticate their teaching–not to hair-brained people who spew out whatever comes into their head.”

John MacArthur

What the gospel is NOT.

Meet James Lyman. He is the man in the below video street preaching (I use the term very loosely as to not bring reproach upon those men out there who actually preach Christ and Him crucified on street corners).

As you’ll see in the video, exactly what Mr. Lyman is preaching is a little hard to pin down, as there seems to be no gospel message. It seems that Law and gospel have taken a backseat to just plain condemnation and ridicule.

If you recall, Mr. Lyman is the man who mocked, ridiculed, and called Rosie O’Donnell names while street preaching at this past year’s Superbowl. He then defended his actions here on DefCon.

How Mr. Lyman treats this woman is heartbreaking, for the message of the gospel is supposed to be the offense, not those who carry the message of the gospel.

For those who are not familiar with the preaching of the gospel, rest assured, this is not it.

When Presuppositions Lead Men Astray

This post is not to throw stones but to point out to all of us how dangerous our unexamined thoughts are. We see this in casual ways when we infer what wasn’t written or implied – such as when we read Bible passages that are very familiar. Another way is when we defend a position – in politics or religion, related to style of worship or doctrinal distinctives. What follows is an example of a blogger for whom I have much respect has written a post to make the point that we each should “draw the line” on what music is good and proper – ostensibly in worship.

This post is NOT a forum to debate whether “Christian rap” or “Christian hip-hop” is good; the reason for this post is to examine the subtle tendency we have to use faulty logic (making sweeping arguments without discriminating actual facts) and misapplication of Scripture (based on unexamined presuppositions).

In this post the author condemns a form of music by saying it “uses the ways, lusts, pride, dress and manner of the world.” And he gives no example of “Christian rap” that fulfills this charge. Nor does he acknowledge that nearly every generation of Christians makes a similar charge at what’s new in music – as Spurgeon did with organs in churches. Handel used grand orchestras to portray his message of God’s glory and people today still love some of his music without loving his Lord. Was Handel as guilty as the un-named “Christian rappers”?

In his follow-up post, he conflates rap and hip-hop, condemning both as wanting to redeem the culture. He has a quote attesting to this under LeCrea’s picture – but does not tell us who spoke those words. It appears to be the author of the post, as those exact words appear later in the post. In making this claim of what the goal of “Christian hip-hop” is, he fails to provide one shred of evidence in support. LeCrea does not make any statement, in the video linked to, that the culture should or can be redeemed. The quote from Tripp says that “many today believe the hip hop culture is unredeemable” and how he hopes to REACH that culture with the gospel. He does not claim to want to redeem the culture – he wants to invade the hip-hop culture with truth.

The author slams several people as supporters of “Christian hip-hop” and, therefore, advocates of the unbiblical mission of redeeming the culture; naming Mark Dever and Thabiti Anyabwile in this regard. But in the video of Thabiti Anyabwile that is linked to, he DOES NOT say that culture can or should be redeemed, by hip-hop of anything else. He said that music (in this case, hip-hop) that carries reformed biblical truth can pierce the culture and form worldviews. There is no evidence that Thabiti or Dever support cultural redemption in either post.

Making these allegations without providing evidence and while misapplying what documentation is provided is wrong headed. Truth is important. Those who push for cultural redemption or cultural reformation should be properly exposed – with clear and convincing evidence rather than unsupported allegations. But we who claim Christ must be truthful and honest in our examination of the facts and allegations. I fail to find anything of substance in these posts, only mere allegations and a refusal to answer questions about sources and basis for judgment.

It is my prayer that the author of those posts repent and honestly report departures from biblical truths without resorting to half-baked arguments based on misquotes or neglect of the facts. It is my prayer that you and I likewise investigate the cause we do not know, as did wise Job (Job 29:16). We should think the best of brothers and sisters in Christ and be slow to throw allegations at people. Discuss the issues, use facts and sound logic. May God have mercy on all of us – for we each fall short in myriad ways each day.