In Part One Dr. Bloesch discussed three areas in which advocates of the new theology have tended to bury the Gospel, to “empty the faith of its biblical content”: social activism, psychological analysis, and liturgical innovation. In this concluding part he adds two areas to that list and then goes on to give an overall view of the crisis in the Church.
Although preaching is indispensable for full Christian worship, it is nevertheless true that much if not most preaching today buries the Gospel in abstraction and triviality. Consequently our people are not being spiritually fed. What they are hearing from the pulpits is not biblical, evangelical preaching but random thoughts on a cultural or ideological theme. This is preaching that reflects and undergirds the biases of the community, that soothes rather than challenges, diverts rather than convicts.
Cultural preaching is often characterized by a false irenicism, since an attempt is made to please all factions. The pastor gives compromise solutions instead of forthrightly declaring the biblical word of truth that brings all sides under judgment. He deludes himself into thinking he is an agent of reconciliation while in reality his preaching reconciles no one, though people may be brought into outward agreement. In biblical terms, heartfelt repentance is the prerequisite for reconciliation, and repentance entails the confession of sin against God as well as against neighbor.
Those who uphold a new social gospel are often cultural preachers because they unite the Gospel with the ideology of the new left and thereby substitute propaganda for proclamation. Instead of trying to discover the social implications of the biblical Gospel, they bring to their flocks ...1
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