The Christian life is not about cultural relevancy, morality, or making it through the day. I did not say that Christians need not be examples of morality or of living according to their calling. I mean that the Christian life is about the life of Christ, which is moral, but that is not the heart of the Christian life. The Christian life is a life of the mind, a mind that is set apart unto God that thinks God’s thoughts after Him, that learn of Him. It is a mind trained in godliness and preaching should “accord with godliness” (I Tim 6: 3).
The other day I was looking up a church website and came across its advisement for the church. It explained the pastor’s wonderful ability to extract ideas from the Scripture to help Christians make through the day. How often this is what churches advertise. It made me stop and consider precisely what message that was being communicating and how it squares with God’s purpose of the preaching of the Word.
Having just read through the New Testament I wondered why I never came across language such as what I find on church webpages. When Paul writes to Timothy, we find no instruction for this sort of thing. For example, his words to pastor Timothy (among other things) is to train the congregation in godliness (I Tim 4:8). Here we have explicit instruction on the responsibility of the pastor which is to teach and live as an example of godliness.
How little today is said about loving God through obedience to his Word or the place of the Spirit of God in the daily walk of the believer.
I know that Christians want something to help them throughout the week, but how is that accomplished by giving people four steps to handling disappointment or something like that. Wherever this language appears today it reveals how the thinking of the world has shaped even the content and focus of evangelical preaching. It reeks of pragmatism after the kind found in postmodernism. The relative, the emotive, have replaced loving with the mind (Matt 22: 37). That is not to say that people should not be moved emotionally by the truth and power of the Word, but loving God must begin with the mind. As C. S. Lewis once said, the heart never takes the place of the head, but it can, and should obey it (Abolition of Man). Pastors who give their energy and time to crafting culture affirming sermons are failing their people.