Technically, Voddie is right, but what’s the point. Does he really want to split hairs over semantics. The common understanding is that people should live out the teachings of Jesus; that we should live the Gospel, and that people who merely preach the Gospel are hypocrites.. I am sure that after Voddie’s sermon some went home saying, “gee, I had never thought of that before” but does it matter? Novelty! Novelty! all is Novelty! Today if it isn’t novel, it isn’t relevant. The world is teetering on eternity and Voddie wants to be novel. Unfortunately, this is the common lot of Christianity today.
Are you Jesus Christ? Last time I checked, He was the only One who could “do” the Gospel.
I pose this ludicrous question to demonstrate that this is not a matter of mere semantics, as you propose.
How many churches have taught their congregants that they are fulfilling the totality of their Christian duty by simply feeding the poor, helping to build a house, or being nice to the person behind them in the grocery line? How many opportunities to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been missed because someone was instead busy trying to “do” the Gospel, a feat which they can never accomplish?
Good works are indeed a visible fruit of one’s salvation, but it is a dangerous thing to teach that the Gospel is something that we can live out or do. Good works never saved anybody, either by action or example. The good news of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ must be proclaimed loudly and boldly.
“The world is teetering on eternity and Voddie wants to be novel.”
Really? That is what you reduce this to? That is what you see and hear in this clip? This is a matter of some diminishing, or even silencing, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a shame that you are unable to see that.
By: Phoebe B. on July 19, 2012 at 10:35 am
A bit of hyperbole always makes a good sermon, or comment, so I will ignore your question about supposing that I am Jesus Christ and answer you in a calmer tone.
I do disagree with you; I believe it is a matter of semantics. Voddie is preaching a sermon on the meaning of the word “Gospel,” and that is semantics.
We were given a clip of a sermon and asked to give our thoughts, on that clip. If I were to imagine what the rest of Voddie’s sermon was about I could have went in several different directions, not really knowing what he did say; but all I had was a clip, and was asked for some thought on it alone, and not to pretend to know what was said during the rest of his fifty five minute speech.
Voddie is trying to get his people to examine their vocabulary and not use words like, “doing the Gospel,” because the Gospel can only be “preached.” From the small clip I saw it really seems like sermonizing, splitting hairs, and wasting time on trivial semantics.
But, having been forced to look a little deeper, I think I might disagree with him on another point. Did not Jesus tell us that if we loved Him that we should do the things He said, and was He not preaching the Gospel, and would not our obedience to His words be in effect, “doing the Gospel”? Yes, I believe it would be; wouldn’t you agree? If we say we are living out the reality of what Jesus said, wouldn’t that be “doing the Gospel”?
All I’m saying is that I think that too many “preachers” have a job to do every Sunday morning for an hour and that in many instances that hour is filled with novelty to make the congregation say “wow,” rather than “Lord, Your words have discovered me, and uncovered my sin, and I am undone; save me dear God.”
I wholeheartedly agree with you and understand your sentiments toward “works righteousness” and could share a soapbox with you on that issue, but I utterly reject preachers who only preach for effect or applause. I only hear what he says in this clip, and I reject it.
The reason I posted this clip is two-fold. One, it was refreshing to me to hear a major player say something I have often thought. Two, I’m struggling with some of Voddie’s positions in other areas, like patriarchy.
Currently, I am helping my mother transition back home from five months in the hospital. My mother and brothers are not believers and when I express my hope for an open door to share the Gospel with them, I often hear from folks statements like, ‘They will see the Lord in your life.’ or ‘Your life is a testimony to the Gospel.’
No doubt we are commanded to live a life that is set-apart, holy, different from the world, but is that the Gospel? Will the way I live point them to Christ necessarily without me actually speaking the Truth to them in love?
There is a movement in neo-calvinistic circles now that promotes this idea of ‘Gospel-Centered living’. I’m wondering if this is what Voddie is attempting to refute. I certainly see red flags as I read their writings.
By: Yvonne on July 20, 2012 at 8:19 am
Thanks for clearing things up.
Institutionalized Christianity is a very poor picture of how we are to interact with the other members of the family. On the other hand, our natural families are more like what God had in mind, unless of course they are severely dysfunctional. Living day-to-day with others in a transparent way is the Biblical way, not the guarded and masked way we see in the institution. Of course your natural family will “see the Lord in your life,” and that is as it is supposed to be: 2 Cor. 3:2 “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.” Our recommendation to our natural families and to all the world is the Gospel as seen lived out in our own lives. A changed life is the most powerful message of the Lord to a struggling and decaying world. The opportunities we actually get to be a verbal witness are few in comparison to the opportunities we get through the actions of a changed life. It is the Gospel/Christ acted out in our life. If we would never pass up an opportunity to do good what a powerful force Christianity would be today.
I love the Calvinists and lean heavily toward Calvin and Luther but their message has been watered down from their original teachings. Our life should be the springboard for our message; and our life, in a big way, will represent the One who sends us. Faith without works is still dead.
I know you already are aware of all the things I say here because I follow you on your blog, so this is only a reminder.