The title of this post is certainly intentional, and hopefully you will see why this is true by the time you finish reading. I am a young man (31 years of age) who became a follower of Christ fairly recently (18 years of age) who has concerns about evangelical Christianity. We live in a time when technology is rapidly advancing, and demands for quality and value are extremely high on the part of consumers. Both of these realities effect local churches. Leadership in local churches and denominations have observed the results of their ministries and deemed them to be lacking. Rather than seeking to discover answers for these issues from Scripture, leaders have looked to business and/or culture to find solutions to the lack of spiritual transformation taking place in their local churches. As a result, churches pray less corporately for life change, preach shorter sermons (talks) which are advertised to be more relevant, and gather as a church body less frequently. Evangelicals have tried the strategy of bringing spiritual transformation through the avenue of political lobbying and reform (which has failed, though some have failed to notice such a reality). Evangelicals have now tried the strategy of making the local church more comfortable for people (which has really resulted in removing offensive things – unfortunately it seems as though they have removed the wrong offensive things, such as an accurate understanding of repentance and faith in the gospel, and a biblical understanding of discipleship). It is like cleaning your house and throwing away the valuable things instead of the junk.
In reference to the title of this post, “Is the Word of God Sufficient?”, I wonder, do evangelicals believe the Word of God will actually accomplish what it claims? Is it truly, “sharper than any two-edged sword” or not (Heb. 4:12-13)? According to many, proclaiming the Word of God as it is written is irrelevant. Such a statement should make one shudder. God appears to declare the opposite, in the very Word many have seemed to abandon. Paul informed Timothy that the Word of God would provide him with all he needed to sufficiently perform his service for God (2 Tim. 3:12-17). In fact, in the very same book, Paul informed Timothy that there would come a time when people (in the context he is speaking of believers) would not want to endure sound doctrine any longer (2 Tim. 4:1-5). In-spite of this lack of interest in biblical teaching, Timothy is exhorted to proclaim the Word of God (not life lessons, talks, or humorous stories) no matter what the listeners desired.
God declared that his Word would not return void but instead will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it (Isa. 55:11). This means that at times God’s Word brings repentance, at times spiritual hardening (Isaiah’s ministry), and at times judgment (Jeremiah’s ministry). This is not what evangelicals desire, the bringing of judgment. Therefore, we have attempted to side-step such undesirable results by minimizing the straight-forward teaching of God’s Word. We have attempted to ensure more desirable results such as church attendance. Is this really the goal, to merely ensure that unregenerate people and immature believers continue to attend church without being confronted biblically with their spiritual condition?
Is our approach to preaching and ministry the result of not truly believing that the Word of God is sufficient for what God has called us to do? Do we believe that all of these other things must be done because the Word of God “cannot cut it” on its own? I think that this underlying belief led to the evangelical political movement of the 1980’s (until today) and the “relevance” movement of today (the lack of trust in the sufficiency of Scripture).
What will evangelicals reap as a result? It would appear we are already reaping the whirlwind – unregenerate moralists in attendance, spiritually immature believers of all age (with some being long-time professing believers), and lack of true lasting spiritual impact on those around us. Sadly, we are spending time attempting to figure out how we can draw people away from Facebook, NASCAR, and Lady Gaga (good thing the NFL is involved in a lock-out because that would be one more competitor) rather than trusting in the sufficiency of Scripture proclaimed to radically transform the lives and eternities of sinful humanity. God has testified in his Word about his Word. He will use his Word to accomplish his purposes in this world, the purposes may not be what we would like or prefer. I guess that is why he is God and we are not. It is his will that will be accomplished not ours.