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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Word

This past Sunday, my lovely daughter sang a song during our morning worship service that extolled the virtues of God’s Word. It was a wonderful song, I think recorded by Christian singer Sara Groves, focusing on the eternal nature of the truth of God’s Word: The Word was, the Word is, and the Word will be. As I sat listening to that song, I was reminded again of how foreign the whole concept is to our world today: to base our faith and lives on God’s Word; the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the truth.

A couple weeks ago Voddie Baucham was interviewed by CNN regarding the whole Gov. Palin issue, especially the issue of why Evangelicals would support her nomination for Vice President even though they wouldn’t allow her to preach in their pulpits. Dr. Baucham was quick with a comeback about most people supporting her simply because they fear the socialist regime that Obama will usher in. But I digress…

The discussion turned to the role of women in the culture vs. the “narrow view” some in the church have. To that, Voddie said: “We’re about the gospel. The culture doesn’t dictate truth. The gospel dictates truth. My job is not to be a political pundit or political activist. My job is to be a pastor and proclaim the truth of the gospel as clearly as I possibly can.” The Word was, is, and will be.

The other guest on the interview, a more liberal “evangelical” speaker began making comments about today’s “modern families,” and how the biblical idea of the of husband as the head, etc. doesn’t “translate into many working class families today.”

Again Voddie’s response: “You know my job is not to translate into working class families, my job is to be honest with the text, and the text says in Titus chapter 2 and verse 5 a woman is to be the keeper of the home. Now I will not violate the teaching of the text in order to somehow sound more appropriate for the culture. I am a herald of the truth of the gospel, and my job is to teach the gospel, according to what the authors have said, not according to what I think the culture wants to hear.” The Word was, is, and will be.

It seems this is a fading voice in contemporary American Christianity. The focus these days is on relevancy, not truth. However, Greer Boyce once stated in a Canadian Journal of Theology article that “faithfulness to the text is not to be sacrificed for the sake of what we presume to be relevancy.” And all God’s people said, “Amen.”

That quote was included in John MacArthur’s Rediscovering Expository Preaching. In that book, MacArthur also says that “God gave His true Word to be communicated exactly as He gave it. It is to be dispensed precisely as it was delivered, without altering the message.” The Word was, is, and will be.

I know that godly-minded individuals will occasionally disagree about this or that Bible passage. But it scares me when we are more concerned about “relevancy” and what “translates into modern families” than we are about faithfully communicating the text.

Let’s give God some credit. When He inspired the authors of the Sacred Text, He was well aware of what “modern families” would be going through. Because He makes “known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come,” (Is. 46:10) He knew what would be relevant both then and now. Let’s stop trying to “correct” and “update” God and let Him speak. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8) and the God who is unchanging has given us a Word which is unchanging as well. It’s time for the church to stop worrying about fitting in with modern culture and simply “preach the Word, in season and out of season.” (2 Tim. 4:2)

The Word was, the Word is, and the Word will be.

1 comment:

Applied Christianity said...

I saw this interview on YouTube. I thought Dr. Baucham did a great job.

This is a great post. I too am concerned about the tendancy to focus on relevancy instead of the truth. You put many of my thoughts into words.