Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Banner of Truth Conference 2018 Slot 3

We started today with two reports from overseas but our main opening session today was led by Iain Murray. Focusing on Matthew 4:19, Luke 5:10 and John 21:10 he said that the same they contain the same message given on different occasions. He made several points.
1. The Lord calls men to the work of evangelistic preaching.
There are fish to be caught, lost sheep to be found, prisoners to be set free. It is to be done through preaching the Word of God. It is a mistake not to see the apostolic ministry as a proto-type for ministry today. Thomas Cartwright and John Whitgift debated in the 16th Century what ministers are to do. It is to preach. In the 18th century Whitefield wrote "I wish well to this poor kingdom but this will never be until the Spirit of God is poured out on the sons of the prophets."
2. Following Christ comes before preaching him
"Religion never thrives much under too much sunshine" (Whitefield). It is possible to be doing the work of the ministry without having been converted. Whitefield spoke against those dealing with the "commerce of an unfelt Christ". There is a way to hell from the very gate of heaven. John 15:5. Nearness to Christ is the key to usefulness.
3. The confirmation that is needed is that Jesus is the incarnate God
This comes out in Luke 5 as it does in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 1. Cf Job 42:6. The relative absence of conviction of sin today is no doubt due to our failure to preach the deity of the Lord as we should. Before the Reformation the Lord's death was common knowledge. What was missing was an apprehension of the glory of the Godhead. When that happens, every other truth loses its power. Which he has bought with his own blood. Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.
4. It is the fear of the Lord that will enable us to do what we cannot do by ourselves
We are channels not the means of saving people. It is Christ who does the work.
5. Churches need reformation as well as revival
This is seldom heard or practiced. John Owen wrote that if we are faithful we "will receive nothing, practise nothing, own nothing, in his worship, but what is of his appointment." It is not that the Puritans were pernickety. Rather they were evangelists.
6. What evangelistic preaching means in practice
As a matter of principle Dr Lloyd-Jones believed that in every congregation preaching that is primarily evangelistic 'should take place at least once each week'. Spurgeon wrote "I do not know of anything that is more likely to produce a congregation of Pharisees than [not preaching evangelistically]. A further result of this wrong attitude is that such people only attend one service each Sunday; once is enough for them, they do not need any more!"
He also said "The sermons that are most likely to convert people seem to me to be those that are full of truth, truth about the fall, truth about the law, truth about human nature, and its alienation from God, truth about Jesus Christ, truth about the Holy Spirit, truth about the Everlasting Father, truth about the new birth, truth about obedience to God, and how we learn it, and all such great verities."
Great stuff

No comments: