Friday, May 17, 2013

For the pod: Francis Chan on 'Why we all need the gospel'

Evangelicals know that the power behind the eighteenth century revivals and the great nineteenth century missionary movement was prayer, and that the prayer was made out of hearts agonizing over the prospect of all who leave this world without Christ being lost. Was such prayer misconceived? uninstructedfoolishwrong-headed? An evangelical who values his heritage must ponder that question, recognizing that if universalism is true all that missionary passion and praying was founded on a monstrous mistake.

J.I Packer
Cited in: Evangelical Affirmations by Kenneth Kantzer and Carl F.H. Henry, Zondervan, 1990, p. 107-108, 

Understanding that God is a God of love yet is also a God of wrath (Eph 2:3) is a hard thing for the modern mind to comprehend. It's hard for my own mind to do so. We are so sanitised by 'search for the hero inside yourself' psychology that most people believe they are no longer, as the Scriptures clearly state, sinners in need of a saviour but are instead good people who need their idolatry blessing. The Telegraph tells us Christianity in the UK is declining 50% quicker than previously thought.

Let's do a bit of church history friends. Marcion was a chappy who thought the God of Joshua and Judges (which we've just read through in BiOY) was a rather judgemental and un-cuddly fellow so he decided to relaunch him with the nasty bits edited out. He also rejected/ cut out the bits of the New Testament that didn't fit with his misguided theological worldview. The church rightly decreed that he was a heretic.

It's therefore interesting to note that vast swathes of the western church have largely erased the reality of hell and judgement and never dare teach this or warn their people and congregations of its prospect. As Pentecost arrives in the church year so few pulpits will properly unpack Peter's first sermon in Acts 2 -especially this verse. I read recently that the idea of the wrath of God has been so offensive to Presbyterians that they have even decided to edit it out of their hymn book.

We would all do well to listen to Francis Chan explain 'Why we all need the gospel' and it may as a result put some passion in our sandals of peace to crack on with the mission. He also wrote the theologically thorough Erasing Hell which is worth reading if you want to do a bit of robust study on this.

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