Is it enough?

Is the goal of our preaching/teaching life change? For years I said that it was, but I feel myself moving a little bit on that based on some things I've observed over the past several years. These days, I'm not sure that goal is well enough defined.

Life-change is important, don't get me wrong, but life-change has to be based on something. Some preaching philosophies seem to base it on common sense. Those pastors spend the majority of their time developing an image, or using narrative to help people arrive at a specific conclusion. The main thrust of the message is the point at which someone tells the story of how God pulled them out of an adulterous relationship, and now their life is better. Thus, they say, you should leave your adulterous relationship.

The problem with that being the main thrust of the message is that your experience might be different than theirs. Your life might be harder after you leave a bad relationship. Your wife might not take you back. If the primary basis of our persuasion toward life-change is story/someone else's experience, we're in trouble.

Story is fine. Narrative is fine. It's important to hear how God has used an application of Truth in another person's life. But at some point we have to be diligent to remind people that the Truth isn't in the story - the Truth is in the Scriptures.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that our primary goal doesn't need to be life-change. Our primary goal needs to be life-change based on a right understanding of the Scriptures. If someone walks away from our services different, but without an understanding of the true basis/reason for life-change, we're simply motivational speakers who get to play the God card.

Help people understand what the Bible says, and life change will always follow. The reverse isn't necessarily true.


bart said...

good words chris. sadly the "life change gospel" is being spread and accepted in our churches today. it's a false gospel that is preached by well meaning people that don't know the Truth... and the Truth is Jesus died for our sins... not for life change. yes life change happens as a result of repenting and putting our faith in Jesus... but it is seldom the change we hoped for. we can know a false gospel because it won't preach on 9/10/2001 to the people in the twin towers. "come to Jesus and he will change your life"... i can hear them now... "no thanks, i'm doing okay" they needed the True "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" Gospel. why are we afraid to tell people they are sinners(and we are too) and if they pass from this world with those sins they will spend eternity in hell??