Monday, April 11, 2011

"Has the Gospel Run Out?"

From The Christian Work and the Evangelist, vol. 83 (1907), pg 14
"Has the Gospel Run Out?" by Rev. T.I. Cuyler, D.D.
Recently a very able and influential daily paper declared that 'there is an impression in some quarters that the Bible is not in touch with these modern times, that its possibilities have been exhausted, and that, in order to retain its hold on the masses, the church must more closely align itself with liberal and advanced thinking.' The editor goes on to say that a search of newspaper files for six months past would show what an enormous number of sermons have been on 'social and secular topics, and that these ministers are presumably afraid that if they confine themselves to the Gospel they will be accused of want of progressiveness.'
The author goes on to suggest that indeed the Bible does have a good deal of social philosophy and psychology in it, and that preachers should urge their congregations towards charitable works and temperance. But
God's Word goes a great many leagues deeper than any problems of social philosophy. it goes to the root of things. It strikes down into the depraved human heart as the source of all the sins and the wrong, and the sorrows and the sufferings that exist in this present evil world. Satan's throne is in the unregenerate heart; and out of that heart proceed the evil thoughts, the cruelties, the adulteries, the thefts, the murders, the falsehoods, and all the swarm of mischiefs and miseries that afflict society. Christ's Gospel is the only remedy that can reach that heart; and, therefore, it is the one chief and foremost duty of every Christian minister to preach and to press home that heaven-sent Gospel upon every conscience. Jesus Christ, the healer of sick bodies, came into this world chiefly to save sin-sick souls. He preached heart-repentance and holy living. Paul and his fellow apostles did not go about lecturing on sociologies, even in that corrupt age. They grappled with the mightier problem of man's utter heart-depravity, and struck for nothing less than putting Jesus Christ into men's souls, and their entire regeneration by the Holy Spirit. That is the prime office of the Gospel of redemption. The wisdom and the power of this glorious Gospel lie right there. And what business, my dear brethren, have you or I to be scratching on the surface of things, when the Holy Spirit commissions us and charges us to go down to the roots of all evil things? The wonder-working Gospel of atonement, faith regeneration and supporting grace -which is God's masterpiece- has no more run out than the law of gravitation has run out, and is no more 'antiquated' than are fresh air and sunshine.
The author then uses the example of Richard Baxter's preaching and how one of its effects was to morally transform the town of Kidderminster.
Human nature -whether in mansion or in hovel- has not changed since Baxter's day, or since the apostles' day. Christianity has not changed, and never will change. It provides for the life that now is, and infinitely more for the life that is to come. The infinite God knew what he was doing when he gave to his sinning, suffering children a Gospel that covers the heart and renovates the whole man through the incoming of Christ Jesus into the man. To his ministers he entrusts this life-giving Gospel -not to be altered or overlaid or veneered, much less to be apologized for or concealed. The sublime purpose of this Gospel is to bring God to man and man to God. Its two principles -as Pascal well said- are the corruption of human nature and its redemption by Jesus Christ. As time can never 'antiquate' these two principles, the previous Gospel is as fresh, and as strong, and as indispensable and powerful as when it was thundered from the lips of Paul. Woe be to this world if the Gospel runs out!   Brooklyn, N.Y.

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