The BIGGEST issue facing the church today

 

In my previous post I featured two lists developed by other church leaders, and added my own comments. Thanks to all those who commented either on this blog or on facebook. I am going away for three weeks and won’t be able to respond to any further comments until I return. Early in March I will pick up on the points raised by several readers as being top issues confronting the church.

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What wasn’t on anyone’s list is actually top of my list, but I have been holding back a little – Issue Number One: The loss of a Jesus focus in the church of today. Many of you will know that Jesus-centeredness is my passion and major theological theme  but for those who haven’t thought about this recently, please consider the following questions:

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Q How many of the last 10 sermons you have listened to in your church were based on a passage from one of the Gospels?
Q How many of the sermons you have heard recently in your church have been based on what Jesus said and did?
Q To what extent do the songs you sing during a typical church service clearly focus on Jesus Christ?
Q To what extent do your church preachers and teachers establish their understanding of scripture primarily from what Jesus said and did and what He revealed of the nature and character of the triune Godhead?

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Sermons tend to reflect either the convictions of the preachers or the demands of the congregants. When the bulk of sermons preached are about what we can get from God; what He can do for us; how good we can feel; how rich and successful we can be… then something is terribly wrong. Similarly, when most of the sermons address doctrinal or behavioural issues (often based on Old Testament stories) then this is also a problem. Jesus should be in focus in all we preach – He is the head of the church, the author of life, and the only way into eternal relationship with the Godhead.

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When we sing in a congregational setting surely the songs should primarily extol God’s glory and goodness, rather than recite how blessed we are? And shouldn’t many of our songs be TO Him and not just about Him? – Praise and worship to the One who is present by His Spirit in the midst of the congregation.

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The way we interpret the scriptures is a key pointer to just how Jesus-centred we are. Context is vital to understanding any given text. A second important process is determining what the rest of the Bible teaches on the subject at hand. But it is the third vital step that will yield fuller understanding; I call it the Christocentric Principle.

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What I refer to as the Christocentric Principle is an approach to biblical interpretation that seeks to understand scripture from a Jesus-perspective. In other words, a way of interpreting scripture primarily from the perspective of what Jesus taught and modelled, and from what he revealed concerning the nature, character, values, principles, and priorities of the Godhead.

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I would really value some debate around these matters, but, as mentioned, I will only be able to engage again in March.

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