There has been a growing trend among Evangelical pastors and churches over the past fifty years regarding the demise of theology and its subsequent replacement with psychology. (By theology I mean the serious systematic and orderly study of God.) There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which is the failure of many seminaries to fully prepare potential pastors for the practical rigors and challenges of leading a local church, and that so many leaders find themselves burned out and unable to cope with all the pressures of the ministry and their personal lives.
The word of God teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ stands in several primary offices: Priest, King, Prophet, and Apostle. This can be found in numerous passages but for now we will only cite a few passages.
My goal in this article is to make clear the difference between grace, which is God’s undeserved gracious actions and gifts towards us related to our salvation in Christ, and the consequences of sin that come from numerous sources and places.
The word of God is very clear regarding the call of believers to empower the disempowered and the disenfranchised of society.
Jesus opened up His ministry by reading from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, which is quoted in Luke 4:18, when He says the Spirit of the Lord has anointed Him to bring good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, and set at liberty those who are oppressed. Many evangelicals with an individualistic mindset have interpreted this merely as an individual salvific passage related to healing and deliverance. But when we read the context in Isaiah 61:1-4 we see that Jesus was also referring to systemic sin and God’s desire to bring cities to wholeness.
As a new Christian in the late 1970’s I was naïve and thought all Christians followed the teachings of the Bible and formulated doctrine and church polity objectively from the sacred Scriptures.
For many years there has been a movement among Evangelicals in which the gospel has been reduced to just a simple individual salvation message. Those that preach evangelistic messages on Sundays with an altar call are the only true ones preaching the gospel according to these Evangelicals. However, is that all there is to the gospel of Christ? While I believe it is important we point to the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ as much as possible, is this done only through overt evangelistic messages?
The Evangelical church has been in flux the past several decades—going from one extreme to the next—and in many respects losing its center. Thus it is really hard to define what an Evangelical is today except for the very ambiguous definition of a person who believes the Bible is the word of God (there are even varying degrees of this within Evangelicalism) and in salvation through the vicarious death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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