Travelogue: Persevering in the Christian Life

Dr. Sproul said that the effort of many evangelical churches to buckle under the culture’s pressure to bend on social issues, is capitulation. “The emergent church melds together elements of the Christian faith with post-modern thought and the relativistic view of truth, and says, ‘Well, we’re not here to say that this story that you find so offensive is actually true, we’re just saying this is our story, we’d love to share our story with you, as you find ourĀ story compelling, it can become your story too … it’s just a story. We’re seeker-sensitive … which is, in our day, removing the scandal of the cross,” said Dr. Sproul Jr. “What is the offense of the gospel in our day? We don’t have Greek mindsets. We don’t have 1st-century Jewish mindsets. We have 21st-century Western mindsets. The offense of the gospel is the offense of the need for the gospel. We are hated for two reasons. One, because we say to a watching world, ‘You are in sin. You disobeyed the living God who will judge you unless you embrace this single solution: the work of Jesus Christ. So the offense is the sin and the offense is the singular way to have peace with God.”

The second greatest scandal in the evangelical mind, beloved, is that it is not in the least evangelical. Our minds are much less interested in speaking and proclaiming the evangel and are much more interested in grumbling to other believers. We are a people who watch the ship of evangelism set sail to foreign lands, and we sit on the shore and complain about how badly designed the ship is.

Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant scholar and apologist. In his Summa Theologica, his magnum opus, his systematic theology had a specific goal in mind: He sought to bring together the wisdom of Scripture with the wisdom of Aristotle. “See the problem there? If that’s an exciting project to you, then this sermon is for you,” Dr. Sproul Jr. said. “Whenever you begin a sentence with ‘I’m going to bring together the wisdom of God’s Word with,‘ you’re in a bad place. You need to stop, turn around, and go back and say, ‘Wisdom is in God’s Word.’ God’s Word does not need Aristotle.”

The whole project was founded on a flawed premise, but Dr. Sproul Jr. teaches Aquinas because we are “inveterate syncretists.”

“One of the ways we avoid the scandal of the gospel is we find the wisdom of the world, and we try to meld it together with the Word of God, so we can pass ourselves off both as being in submission to God’s Word, and reasonable, acceptable people to the world around us.”

It’s no different today when we attempt to synthesize the philosophies of today’s present-day thinkers, with the Word of God. “The gospel, friends, and our own salvation calls us to rest in his provision, and our sanctification of our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our strength, that is grounded in resting in his wisdom,” Sproul Jr. said.

“Our calling, friends, is not to improve our reputation for the sake of the Kingdom. Our calling is to give up our reputation for the sake of the Kingdom,” Dr. Sproul Jr. asserted. “Our text tells us that the power is in the Word. We don’t bring in the elect, and manifest the glory of his reign, and make visible the invisible Kingdom of God by mixing our dross with his gold … instead, we’re called to cast our crowns at his feet. We’re called be silent except to say this: ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears [I Samuel 3:10].'”

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church history, justification, perseverance, Reformation, systematic theology, travelogue