Posted by: Johnold Strey | October 15, 2008

Where’s Jesus? Horton answers.

Two people I know recently attended a funeral service at a Lutheran Church (which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent and the guilty).  Both of these people told me with a great deal of sadness and frustration that the pastor’s sermon never specifically mentioned the death and resurrection of Jesus.  The deceased loved one was described as a good man who is now at peace with his Lord in heaven, but how he got there remained a mystery unless you already knew the gospel (and think about how many people who go to a funeral have not heard the gospel in a long time??? — opportunity missed???).

I’ll let you guess which Lutheran denomination this particular church belongs to.  Hint: The acronymn for this church body does not start with a vowel.  Another hint: I am an equal opportunity critic.

On the one hand, I fully expect that there will be problems in the church–especially in a church body that makes it a stated goal to preach the Word of God faithfully and administer the sacraments properly.  It would be a shock if a church with those stated goals were not attacked outwardly by Satan and the world and inwardly by our own sinful natures.  “Welcome to the church militant,” I have said on more than one occasion when I have been told of frustrating failures within the church.  On the other hand, if confessional Lutherans aren’t preaching the gospel, which is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16), who is these days?  Not too many voices I can think of, unless we redefine what the gospel is–and there’s been plenty of that these days, too.

This problem is much bigger than the Lutheran Church.  And in a new book and DVD presentation, Dr. Michael Horton takes on the problem of a church without the gospel, or as the title of his book calls it, Christless Christianity.  Horton was the guest today [Wednesday, October 15, 2008] for the entire second hour of “Issues, Etc.” Although I can’t speak directly about its contents, I’ve heard enough of Horton to know that so much of what he says is good and worth listening to, even if I can’t endorse 100% of his theology.

If this sounds interesting to you, you can check out more at these links for the book’s website and its press release.  You can also listen to the aforementioned hour’s broadcast of “Issues, Etc.” at this link.

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