Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Today's Version of the Gospel

I really enjoy listening to Vance Havner. I know he is one of those old dead guys who does not know how to be "relevant" to today's postmodern culture, therefore his old country boy plain spoken ways have no application to today's generation ...but oh...wait he just happened to say something which does address today's evangelical climate. Here he briefly describes today's version of the gospel, the social gospel:

"If they had the social gospel in the days of the prodigal son somebody would have given him a sandwich and some soup and he never would have got home. That's the kind of gospel so many would advocate today. We need to get back to the garments of the righteousness of the Law"

--Vance Havner (1901-1986), from the sermon "What Jesus Wants for His Church"

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya can't say that God hasn't been trying to warn us for years now!

We have not arrived at the place these faithful preachers have feared long ago. God help us.

11:39 AM  
Blogger todd said...

"If they had the social gospel in the days of the prodigal son somebody would have given him a sandwich and some soup and he never would have got home. "

I know. It's such a tragedy and a crime against humanity that people would actually give a hungry person a sandwich, or a thirsty man some water. Real Christians would take him aside, and tell him that you'd be praying for him, right after you pick up your kids from soccer practice in your Suburban and pick up a double cappucino frappe. After all, that's what Jesus would have done. He didn't see it necessary to try and meet peoples' needs. He just said some nice things to the blind man... Of course, social conscience and Christianity are mutually exclusive. It's no wonder why so much of traditional Christianity has become lost in the world of intellectual theism. Gone are the days of when "because I said so," and "that's what I've always been taught," having credibility. We've entered into the generation of people who want their faith proved to them. They want something real. How dare they question all the stuff people told us somewhere down the road, which we take as Gospel.

Perhaps it'd be beneficial to just burn people at the stake who choose to question tradition. After all, Thomas doubted Jesus... But then again, Jesus came back to Thomas, proved himself, and he believed.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. I meant to say:

We have NOW arrived at the place these faithful preachers have feared long ago. God help us.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TODD:
YOU SAID: "Gone are the days of when "because I said so," and "that's what I've always been taught," having credibility."

Let me correct you on something. The credibility of the Christian faith must never rest in the command or the decree alone. It must rest on the person who gave it. For example, if God said "because I said so" then you should accept it. To accept it is to accept God. If you do not, then you do not really know God. Then of course you're going to need proof of God first.

But be careful. You might be treading on dangerous ground here with this desrie to have things "proven" in a way acceptable to YOU. God sets the terms, not man. God requires faith.

Do you know who once spoke the words "did God really say...?" Watch out. You may be doing the same. Read Genesis 3:1-5
-KCO

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may SEE your GOOD WORKS and glorify YOUR FATHER who is in heaven."

(Matthew 5:16)

Oh, please -- There's NO dichotomy, guys. We don't have to choose either/or; it's the message PLUS the credibility of life that goes with it. Not one without the other -- otherwise you end up with mere social work, or hypocrisy.

JC
Texas

2:26 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I'm really saddened by the quote from Havner. Partly because he seems to feel that taking care of the poor isn't an important issue for Christians - and partly because he misrepresents teachings of Jesus to make his point. The story of the prodigal son was about repentance - to use it to make some half-baked proclomation against caring for the poor seems misguided and disingenuous.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible Havner is lamenting a social gospel that feeds the body but forgets the eternal soul in the mix? Peter speaks in his second letter of the dog that returns to his vomit as being better off if he had never known. Although that refers to the man who comes to the truth but ultimately rejects it, it refers to the way of righteousness. Jesus told the parable of a man cleaned of a devil in Luke 11. The devil left the man but later returned with seven other demons and the latter state of the man was worse than the former. I do not know Havner, but I know the heart of at least one of the old preachers of the last generation who always spoke of feeding the soul as well as the body. Gerstner another of that generation's preachers said the soul in hell would be willing to give up all the pleasures he had ever experienced in life to have had one less sin to account for in hell. I do not propose to say I understand hell or even God's wrath, but I will say that to ultimately fear anything more than God is foolishness. Our hearts should hurt when we see the image of God suffering in any way if we love him as we love ourselves but if we place temporal value above the eternal we are most foolish. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. If I really love my neighbor I can not care for the temporary body and forget his eternal soul. I should care for both and I suspect that the lament of Havner is to forget the soul in favor of the body.
Hank

3:59 AM  

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