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Today we celebrate the second inauguration of President Obama, but we do so without the benediction of pastor Louie Giglio. In the controversy that erupted after his selection to and withdrawal from that honor, it became clear again how much the gospel ...

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Douglas Quenzer

January 31, 2013  12:24pm

Yes let's preach the cross. "And who would ever come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." The cross is not only about redemption but a denial of self. In a society where self is denied so little, and we give in to every desire imaginable, it seems that preaching the cross must also talk about disciples walking in righteousness. We have to remember that Jesus and Peter both used the first and most important word in preaching the gospel; Repent. What must we do to be saved, "Repent..and believe...."l I wonder if modern preachers actually use that word anymore or even if they know what it means.

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JOHN CORCORAN

January 26, 2013  3:26pm

I am so glad to see this point made, and especially by a prominent influential magazine, and its Editor. Good works should proceed from the compassion God inspires in us. The preaching of the Logos of the cross is foolishness to the natural mind, but is the power of God unto Salvation.

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Jonathan Shumate

January 26, 2013  2:22pm

"In the long run, we cannot gain a hearing for the gospel through our admirable ethics or social justice because in the end, we are still sinners, with hearts, as the prophet Jeremiah put it, that remain desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9)." This is both biblically and practically incorrect. This statement in Jer. 17 is in reference to that portion of Israel who were living in disobedience and rebellion against the covenant--not to faithful covenant members. A better parallel would be folks who either grew up in the church or are in the church today who in fact live, think, and act in such a way that denies the very realities implicated in our covenant relationship with God: faith, love, and trust in God. Secondly, from a practical standpoint, throughout history it is the power of the Gospel manifested in the way Christians live that has often been at the fore of what we think of as evangelism. Salvation is not an end in and of itself--we are saved bu grace through faith to be hoy.l

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Alice Hartley

January 26, 2013  9:53am

“In the long run, we cannot gain a hearing for the gospel through our admirable ethics or social justice because in the end, we are still sinners, with hearts, as the prophet Jeremiah put it, that remain desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9).” I don’t know how the writer can make this claim. The Bible interweaves our salvation with our actions toward the poor including mercy, justice, and compassion. We are still sinners and that fact necessitates Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and our embrace of this, but we cannot leave it there. There are severe consequences for doing so, according to Scripture. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10. I rarely hear this preached, but I think we risk much in ignoring it. I believe the only hearing we will gain for the Gospel is when we prove that the love of Christ is indeed alive in us who call ourselves by his name.

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JOHN

January 26, 2013  8:20am

I suggest Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchivijian. Mark Galli is hardly ever wrong in his articles. Solid. Luther was looking very hard and working very hard to discover a gracious God and found God on the Cross. Yes, God on the Cross. You want to understand the human predicament - where is God found?

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Roger McKinney

January 25, 2013  12:17pm

Excellent article! We need to worry less about being popular and more about being truthful. Our problem today is very similar to the main problem Jesus faced: people have a low opinion of the evil of sin. Jesus spent much of his ministry trying to convince the Pharisees that they were sinners in need of a savior. They had such a low opinion of sin that they believed their puny works would cover them and God would wink at them because they were descendants of Abraham. Appealing to the "felt needs" of non-Christians can get us a hearing, but when they hear the truth that their sins are so abhorent to God that they will cause them to spend an eternity in hell will turn most of them off immediately.

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James Aist

January 25, 2013  10:14am

We born-again Christians should continue to proclaim the truth of God’s word for the sake of those who are “born again” and are in the process of being sanctified by the Holy Spirit (that’s all of us who are “born again”!). And let us not grow weary in doing this good work (Galatians 6:9) because unbelievers rant and rail against us; they are still at work in the earth doing the work of the devil (1 John 3:8 and Ephesians 2:2), so do not listen to them. The outcome of this “labor of love” of ours is up to God, not us. God only asks us to do our part by continuing to proclaim the truth of His word. He alone will bring forth the fruit of our labor according to His perfect will, His perfect plan and His perfect timing (Galatians 6:9). Read more at http://rethinkingtheology.com/2012/09/29/ears-to-hear-born-again-and-gay-th eology/

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audrey ruth

January 25, 2013  12:39am

c k weaver, for MANY years churches/pastors did not NEED to address such issues as abortion and normalization of homosexuality (including changing God's definition of marriage), because activists were not pushing these things onto the American public, demanding that people change their standard of truth/decency, or else. When those agendas became so strident, OF COURSE pastors and churches had to address these issues -- how foolish it would be to pretend they did not exist, thus allow for wholesale corruption of this nation, particularly the indoctrination of young children in government schools. Many unGodly people have led this assault, and Obama champions them all. He is clearly much more committed to taking us down the path Sodom and Gomorrah (and other pagans) took than bringing our nation's huge albatross of debt under control and solving related problems. Plain common sense, let alone Godly wisdom, seems to be notably absent from the Dems in general and, yes, some Reps too.

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Kristie Swisher

January 24, 2013  10:09am

While I agree that Jesus' coming, crucifiction & subsequent resurrection from the dead is God's message & means of reconciliation-the bridge to relationship with God for all human beings-we can't say that the church needs to focus on that message only. On the contrary! The church gets it wrong in NOT preaching the entire gospel! The church needs to be the difference in the world, NOT a socially acceptable part of it where the evil & sin in our society is overlooked & made acceptable & ok. Christianity is not only about being "saved"-it is about being reconciled with God & living the life that Jesus modeled & knowing that we have forgiveness through Jesus when we sin. God is always the SAME-His standards & expectations don't change because it is 2013 & the world thinks homosexuality is fine. His people need to STAND UP & preach--teach the WHOLE of God's word...NOT keeping the standards God has set has led our world to the decline we see. Remember-it is the Holy Spirit who draws people!

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gordon payne

January 24, 2013  7:07am

We need to preach the whole Bible! His word! Not only His death and resurrection, but all that went before and after! What good is His death and resurrection, if we are ignorant of what went before? The fall of man is pivotal to God's ultimate love. Every sermon should touch all the essentials and then focus on the specific need of the congregation. Get back to basics and give them a little Mayhew! Stand up for Jesus!

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gordon payne

January 24, 2013  7:07am

We need to preach the whole Bible! His word! Not only His death and resurrection, but all that went before and after! What good is His death and resurrection, if we are ignorant of what went before? The fall of man is pivotal to God's ultimate love. Every sermon should touch all the essentials and then focus on the specific need of the congregation. Get back to basics and give them a little Mayhew! Stand up for Jesus!

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c k weaver

January 24, 2013  1:01am

The problem with most Christian preaching is one of four things: 1. It is driven by church consumerism. 2. It is issue driven, for example abortion or homosexuality. 3. It is agenda driven. 4. It is dogma driven not gospel driven. Church is supposed to exist that we may help one another through their trials and tribulations, and to feed and encourage each others spiritual growth. Unfortunately from my limited survey, most sermons are spiritually specious, or completely devoid of spiritual concept. Let us let God judge what is sin and who has sinned. Let us learn how to listen to God so that each of us may follow His specific will for each of us.

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Ed mac

January 23, 2013  10:55am

I have a bone to pick with many evanglists who preach everything but Jesus. I know more about getting rich and having what I want if I ask the right way. I heard one of the false teachers say preaching the cross is not what he was called to do. I heard another if you were looking at him you were looking at Jesus. I hear that on almost all the "Christian" channels. What we need to hear is about the blood of Christ saving sinful man. Many main line preachers have stopped preaching that issue also. Holiness with out which no man will see heaven. My opinion is we need to shout the Praises or God from the roof tops. Forget the modern society that keeps us quiet and get back to the Gospel. Much of the music is questionable, in the sense that if it were not played on a Christian station we would not know it was a Christian song.

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Pop Seal

January 23, 2013  7:41am

In 1995 I accepted the fact that our Judeo Chrstian heritage and ethic had successfully been removed from our laws by 40+ years of SCOTUS decisions. I have since then REFUSED TO WILLINGLY SERVE ON A JURY. So far I've been dismissed twice when I told the judge and then a prosecuting attorney that I had already been dismissed from the system. The secular atheists were as glad to see me go as I was to walk out. I remain otherwise a loyal citizen who refuses to go quietly into the night as though my life and teaching about Christ and His Word are hurtful to America. NON VIOLENT PROTEST MAY BE OUR ONLY RECOURSE NOW.

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editor UNITYINCHRIST.COM

January 23, 2013  3:45am

While I agree with Matt STEPHENS comment fully, when I read the title of your article, I thought I was about to read an article describing the ineffectiveness of the sermon formats used in modern Christian churches, i.e. topical verses expository or something like that. I am just finishing up on the sermon transcriptions for my section dealing with the Four Gospels, and the effectiveness of connective expository sermon style speaks for itself. The pastors who give those sermons are pastors of mega-churches (semi-autonomous Calvary Chapels), and their members are very much spiritually alive and well-versed (no pun intended) in what the Bible teaches. To me, from what I have observed after attending one of these congregations for over seven years, listening to their "style" of preaching, this style of preaching helps breathe spiritual health and life into the congregation. And I agree with you on the health & wealth gospel preachers and their churches being not good for the Gospel.

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audrey ruth

January 22, 2013  11:38pm

Well said, Mark Galli! Sadly, it seems I rarely see such clearly-stated and Biblically-accurate articles here. Maybe that's why this one is such a breath of fresh air. May your tribe increase!

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Steve Willicombe

January 22, 2013  10:40pm

This reminds me of a cartoon in YouthWorker Journal 20 years ago that had a youth worker and a kid together at a coffee shop, and the kid asks, "Do you really like me, or are you just earning the right to be heard?"

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Steve Cornell

January 22, 2013  2:19pm

We who "fill pulpits" each week would be wise to review the 10 attributes of good preaching summarized from the ministry of Jonathan Edwards. See them here: http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2007/03/12/attributes-of-good-preaching-by- johnathan-edwards/

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Linda Kennett

January 22, 2013  1:28pm

Great editorial. Well said. Your point has been a constant concern for many years. We, as Paul, need to get to the place of resolve "to know nothing...except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

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Matt STEPHENS

January 22, 2013  8:57am

Flagrant dichotomies aside, you have served us a desperately needed reminder of our need to keep Christ crucified at the center of our ecclesiastical as well as devotional and secular lives. And yet, as other commenters have already noted, the Cross is not the entire Story of redemption. There is the theology of Creation, of Resurrection, of Christ's present reign, and of the final Consummation of all things in Christ. But your point is well-taken, and should be taken to heart, that the significance of the Cross is woefully rare in our preaching as well as our collective consciousness in the "Christian West."

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