Reformation Sunday and the Independent Church, Part 2

I had intended to add more to this several days ago, but did not.  My apologies to those of you who stopped by looking for something new.  

Over the last week-plus I have had my intent to preach through the five “solas” of the Reformation affirmed several times.  In preparing to preach this week, I am reminded at how both believing in and following Jesus Christ are based on objective revelation.  There are numerous calls in Scripture to stand solidly on the foundation that was heard at conversion.  

I try to walk two miles two or three times a week at a local park.  My iPod was playing a sermon on pastoral ministry by Alistair Begg.  He was talking about how some feel that no one listens to preaching anymore and arguing the case for why people do listen to preaching.  I was thinking that if we could get people to concede that preaching still has a valid role in the church today (something that I wholeheartedly affirm), certainly that preaching has to be focused at the day-to-day experiences of the listener.  Doctrinal preaching then, has to be set aside.  Maybe a Sunday School class on doctrine can be offered for the super-interested, the more intellectual listener.  But not in the pulpit!

Yet by the grace of God doctrinal preaching changed the course of history.  These five basic affirmations of biblical Christianity have enormous impact on real life.  Part of good doctrinal preaching has to be to show that to be true.  

Because I prefer teaching a passage rather than doing a topical study in a sermon, I’m planning to focus on one particular text each week.  But I’ve assembled some fairly new resources on the truths of the reformation that I would like to commend to you.

The late James Boice wrote Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?  It spends a chapter on each of the five major doctrines.  I recommend it highly.  Gary Johnson and R. Fowler White have edited a book entitled Whatever Happened to the Reformation.  The forwards are written by R.C. Sproul and David Wells, and Michael Horton contributes the afterward.  In Here We Stand, one of the best books I read this year, Michael Horton’s chapter on the Solas is superb.  R.C. Sproul has a fine book called Scripture Alone that goes beyond the scope of one sermon on the Bible, but I will recommend it as a resource for those interested in more than we can cover on one Sunday morning.  Ditto for his book on Justification entitled Faith Alone.  Terry Johnson wrote The Case for Traditional Protestantism which deals with these five doctrines, and finally After Darkness, Light: Essays in honor of R.C. Sproul is a fine exposure to the Reformation truth.

The next entry on this blog will probably deal with what I hope to accomplish in this series.  

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As an aside, I have had the opportunity to attend Mark Dever’s lectures on preaching at Westminster Seminary over the last two days.  They have been excellent.



crappiehunter said...

Good post on the church. I'm a pastor in Indiana and struggle with the independance of the church at times. I'm in a denomination but there is still so much independance. I think we should be interdependent.