It is not wrong to ask the obvious question: Is Christ’s church proclaiming “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” in a manner that could be considered adequate?
Lord Jesus, our prime example, was “gentle and lowly in heart”, and yet He asked questions. He challenged. He corrected. Being humble is not being agreeable for the sake of being agreeable. Not only is that distasteful, but possibly nothing less than disloyalty to “the head of the church”.
Responsible sons and daughters of the living God are not get-along people. While something is wrong with the one who can’t get along with anyone, there is likewise something amiss with the one compatible to everybody. Lack of conflict could indicate lack of conviction. And lack of courage.
95 Theses was written for the purpose of reformation of His church, and such a question (top paragraph) needs to be asked. Reformation is reforming the heart and mind, where necessary, bringing both into alignment to The Word and will and dictates of God the Father, His Son and our Savior, and the most Holy Spirit. The otherwise, the way it is remaining the way it is, is unacceptable to the responsible, thinking son/daughter concerned with Christ’s Great Commission to His church.
So, regarding the Great Commission, just how is the way it is?
To know, look around. It’s okay to look around. Martin Luther looked around. Responsible christians look around, comparing what they see and hear to The Word. Take note. What do you see His church doing? What do you hear His church saying?
To know evangelicalism, simply peek into the life of Typical Evangelical.
Excluding the twenty-two minutes of praise and worship before the collection of ‘tithes and offerings’, and excluding the ‘In Jesus name. Amen’ at the end of grace before supper and other prayers, it is possible (likely?) Typical Evangelical will not speak The Name in an entire day. In an entire week. And yes, in an entire month. Even though he/she associates with fellow evangelicals mostly. (See note.)
Evangelicals, you may observe, are God people. Paul and John and Peter were God people and Christ people. Evangelicals are not ashamed of God; the three were not ashamed of Christ. We are not commissioned to preach God; we are commissioned to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. Jesus preached Jesus mostly. The three (etcetera) preached Jesus mostly. Today’s pulpiteer preaches God mostly, dutifully throwing in a little Jesus.
When looking around, pay attention to the subjects that fascinate christians. It’s this and that and whatever and whoever. It’s church happenings and church politics and church leaders and church doctrine. It’s the apostolic movement, the prophetic movement, the charismatic movement, the whatever movement. It’s about doing and going and prospering and hoping. It’s about issues and problems and solutions and opinions. But it’s not, primarily, about Him. No, not at all. The commissioned are talkative, but the subject isn’t “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. Christ’s commission is not an urgency.
Evangelicalism is certainly not a Christ-less christianity, but neither is it a Christ-centered christianity. It’s somewhere in between. Thankfully “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” is preached within evangelicalism, perhaps more than other christian factions. And thankfully evangelicalism does evangelize. There is a beep on the heart monitor. And yet evangelicalism is a poor investment, of finances and energy, for those wanting a reasonable return.
You have heard it said, “We are the church.” That being so, you are the church. And thesis # 7 should be taken very seriously. Please read it again. And again. Because the job just isn’t getting done, not satisfactorily, not comprehensively, not with determined effort.
The lost are rescued by preaching to the lost. And the lost are rescued by preaching to the church. As a Christ-centered man will surely reproduce, a Christ-centered church will surely reproduce.
You can turn the attention of Christ’s church unto Christ by simply talking Christ. Expressions of gratitude and awe unto your Sin-bearer will do much, and preaching “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” will do more…. be it over coffee, over the phone, over the neighbor’s fence, or over a pulpit. You can make use of e-mail or snail-mail (postal), the internet social networking, your own website, the local newspaper, tracts, whatever (as, and only as, the Holy Spirit directs).
Note: This doesn’t include new converts; evangelicalism requires time to replace the lordship of Christ with the lordship of itself. And it doesn’t include non-evangelicals attending evangelical services.