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We don’t need better preaching…

preacherWe don't need better preaching, we need a better gospel.

Yes I'm being provocative and hyperbolous.  Let me remind you that this is a blog.

What I mean is this: there's a lot of focus on becoming better preachers.  The real need is to preach a better gospel. 

These thoughts were prompted by a Spurgeon comment as quoted by CJ Mahaney at T4G 2008:

"Whitefield and Wesley might preach the gospel better but they cannot preach a better gospel."

Spurgeon's point is that the power is in the gospel, not the preacher.  Amen.  But if the gospel preached aint the gospel, then we need a better one.

'Better gospel?' you ask - how can you improve on the good news?

Well you can't improve on the biblical gospel.  But you can darned well improve on the gospel preached by some.  Here's a false one I hear around the traps (there are others, but this is the devil I know best): 

'God is power.  We must submit.  Since we don't, God has a plan B.  It's a wonderfully clever mechanism called penal substitutionary atonement.  For those who profess faith in penal substitutionary atonement (and submit the whole of their lives and pass on this 'gospel' and persevere to the bitter end), then... well... they will avoid hell.  Probably.'

Lord save us from well illustrated and applied, passionate, persuasive and prayerful preaching of this 'gospel'.  Remember that the evangelism of the Pharisees made converts twice as much sons of hell as they were. (Matt 23:15)

What a thought! The perversion of your false gospel is multiplied in your converts.  Preachers - don't work on your preaching, work on your gospel.


0 thoughts on “We don’t need better preaching…

  1. flyawaynet

    I'm continuing this conversation on my blog. I really enjoyed it - thank you. I love any blog that makes me think and yours OFTEN does.

    I hadn't heard your example preached in my area, but that doesn't mean it's not and I've just been fortunate to miss it.

  2. Otepoti

    Sorry Glen, I'm having a stupid day (or week or...). I can't see the problem. Would you please explain a bit further what you mean here?


  3. Glen

    Hey flyaway - yes maybe it's more a uk/australian conservative evangelical e.g. Glad it's made you think though.

    Jocelyn, I'm just having a moan about preachers who have a horrible gospel and yet they focus on how to preach their horrible gospel better rather than to address the awfulness of the content of their preaching. If we have the true, life giving, surprising, Christ-filled gospel of Scripture then the preaching will be good.

    Paul - yes this confirms my suspicion it's an australian/uk conservative evangelical foible. hmmm

  4. Paul Huxley

    The thing is that the same people who preach like that are convinced that they're very solid and rigorous on the gospel. They believe in Penal Substitutionary Atonement after all...

    Maybe I recognise it better because I use to believe something not too different from that.

  5. theoldadam

    There certainly is a famine of the Word (the gospel) within and outside the church.

    Preachers ought to hand Christ over free of charge, no strings attached, otherwise it is a different gospel.

  6. Glen

    Steve240 - tell me, are you a regular reader here or did you search the blogosphere for CJ Mahaney references? If the latter, then I don't think your links are helpful at all but seem designed to spread strife.

  7. steve240


    Calling something "gossip" or "spreading strife" are great ways to intimidate someone from sharing things people need to know. If there is sin going on with a group including abuse of sheep, then God's people need to know. People being afraid to talk is what has allowed this abuse to go on for so long.

    Unfortunately, reports of abuse with Sovereign Grace Ministries isn't just a few or coming from a few churches. It is widespread.

    My experience with Mahaney's preaching is that he is a great reader of books but not much of a studier of the Book. He is though a great orator. Of course many nefarious individuals in history were great orators.

  8. Glen

    Steve240 - so you're not a regular reader then? I take it therefore that you search for Mahaney quotes and then publish your links even if the blog is in another country, far from any SGM congregation, and even though the post in question says absolutely nothing about the man himself?

    You are spreading strife. I'm not even saying that those blogs you link to are spreading strife. Perhaps they are helping by encouraging SGMers to handle their grievances in godly ways (e.g. Matthew 18:15-17) - that's possible, though I would take a lot of convincing!

    But to post up these links on a blog in England when the character or ministry of Mahaney is not even remotely the issue being discussed - that is spreading strife. No question in my mind.

    Brother, anyone involved in any church or Christian ministry for any length of time will carry significant wounds. We've all got our scar stories. I pray that you'll find grace from the Lord to handle them in more appropriate ways. For your sake as much as anything else.

    in Jesus,

  9. steve240


    This is interesting how you talk about the Mathew 18 approach on this conflict etc. You are assuming that leaders within Sovereign Grace Ministries are sincerely committed to resolving conflict this way. From listening to Mahaney and other SGM leaders speak, one certainly would be lead to believe that.

    Despite C.J. Mahaney endorsing the "Peacemakers" book, many people report that one way SGM "peacemakes" conflicts with members such as disagreements is to "ask" these members to leave. That is leave and find another church to go to. That certainly doesn't sound like one using Mathew 18.

    Additionally, many who have tried to approach SGM leadership about their conflicts find the SGM leaders "turning the tables" on the members bringing something up. That is they say that the member is "proud" or "arrogant" or something similar as a way to deflect issues that SGM members bring up vs. sincerely considering what the member has said.

    Thus Mathew 18 can work when both parties have the humility to consider where they may be wrong but doesn't appear to work that often in SGM.

    One person mentioned that you are in England. I know of one case where some serious church discipline was applied to a now former SGM member by the England SGM Church. This includes separating this person from his family. That person has a blog:

    I hope this helps explain where I am coming from. Thus Mahaney may speak a good game but reports show what he and his group practices is quite different.

  10. Pingback: Thank you preacher- that was boring, uninspired, obscure and moralistic « Christ the Truth

  11. Theodore A. Jones

    "It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." Rom. 2:13
    The law was changed by adding to it after Jesus' crucifixion. This is the gospel of God.

  12. Pingback: Thank you preacher- that was boring, uninspired, obscure and moralistic [repost] « Christ the Truth

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