[anzac] An UNCONVERTED CHURCH! - Tozer

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:13:52 +1300
by A.W. Tozer

To many observing persons today it appears that conversion does
not do for people as much as it once did. Too often the experience
passes, leaving the seeker unsatisfied and deeply disappointed.
Some who are thus affected, and who are too sincere to play with
religion, walk out on the whole thing and turn back frankly to the
old life. Others try to make what they can out of a bad bargain
and gradually adjust themselves to a modified and imperfect form
of Christianity spiced up with synthetic fun and enlivened by
frequent shots of stimulants in the form of "gimmicks," to give it
relish and sparkle.

The knowledge that revival campaigns can come and go without
raising the moral level of the cities and towns where they are held
should surely give us serious pause. Something is wrong some-
where. Could it be that the cause back of this undeniable failure
of the gospel to effect moral change is a further-back failure of the
messenger to grasp the real meaning of his message? Could it
be that, in his eagerness to gain one more convert, he makes the
Way of Life too easy? It would seem so. In other times it was not
an uncommon thing to witness the wholesale closing of saloons
and brothels as a direct result of the preaching of the message of
Christ in revival campaigns. Surely there must have been a
difference of emphasis between the message they preached in
those days and the ineffective message we preach today.

To allow the gospel only its etymological meaning of good news
is to restrict it so radically as actually to make it something it is
not. That "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" is
good news indeed. That He, having by Himself purged our sins,
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens from
which exalted position He mediates grace to all believers, is
wonderful, heartening news for the sin burdened race. But to limit
the Christian message to this one truth alone is to rob it of much
of its meaning and create a bad misunderstanding among those
who hear the resultant preaching.

The fact is that the New Testament message embraces a great
deal more than an offer of free pardon. It is a message of pardon,
and for that may God be praised; but it is also a message of
repentance. It is a message of atonement, but it is also a message
of temperance and righteousness and godliness in this present
world. It tells us that we must accept a Savior, but it tells us also
that we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. The gospel
message includes the idea of amendment, of separation from the
world, of cross-carrying and loyalty to the kingdom of God even
unto death.

To be strictly technical, these latter truths are corollaries of the
gospel, and not the gospel itself; but they are part and parcel of
the total message which we are commissioned to declare. No
man has authority to divide the truth and preach only a part of it.
To do so is to weaken it and render it without effect.

This is more than a mere splitting of definitions. It has real
consequences among Christian workers and, what is more
serious, it has consequences among the trusting seekers who
come to these workers for counsel. To offer a sinner the gift of
salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time
allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no
moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him worst.

Many evangelical teachers insist so strongly upon free,
unconditional grace as to create the impression that sin is not
a serious matter and that God cares very little about it. He is
concerned only with our escaping the consequences. The gospel
then in practical application means little more than a way to
escape the fruits of our past.

The heart that has felt the weight of its own sin and along with this
has seen the dread whiteness of the Most High God will never
believe that a message of forgiveness without transformation is
a message of good news. To remit a manĀ“s past without
transforming his present is to violate the moral sincerity of his
own heart. To that kind of thing God will be no party.

We must have courage to preach the whole message. By so
doing we shall undoubtedly lose a few friends and make a number
of enemies. But the true Christian will not grieve too much about
that. He has enough to do to please his Lord and Savior and to
be true to the souls of all men. That may well occupy him too
completely to leave much time for regrets over the displeasure
of misguided men.