Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The More Things Change...

I suppose it depends on where you live geographically, but in many places this time of year can be a rather unpredictable season. Using today for an example, when I left the house to run errands it was clear & sunny but there was a chill in the air so I wore a jacket. Not even halfway through my errands it became far too warm for a jacket as the mercury soared up to around 84 degrees today. This is the time of year when you get a mixed bag in the weather department, and that's really the only predictable thing about it.

There are a lot of people who like change in general, as they find it exciting and challenging. For the most part, I'm not one of those people. When I lived in Palm Springs I very much liked the fact that when I got dressed for the day it would be shorts and a lightweight top, 99.99% of the time. No hunting for a sweater, no coats, and rarely anything but sandals on my feet. It was simple because the weather was consistantly warm (or brutally hot, for normal people). It was so simple in fact, when I moved up north I realized I didn't even own a sweater or long pants, and had to go shopping immediately, as I was freezing to death in 65 degree weather.

I thought about these things today as I drove along the tree lined streets where the trees were simply sparkling with so many hues of red, orange and yellow. Where I live it's impossible to miss the fall color change. My radio was tuned to the local Christian station that plays John MacArthur's daily program, and I couldn't help but think of the connection between change, and the recent controversy surrounding his recent appearance on CNN along with Doug Pagitt - and then the hoopla that's gone on since. I wont rehash it here but if you're one of the 3 people on the planet that haven't read Phil's posts about this, then you oughta head on over and see what he has had to say. It's worth your while, if sound doctrine is your passion.

The simple reason I thought about change, was due to the fact that Pagitt represents so much of what's so wrong with Christian trends, or fads. If you read Spurgeon at all, you'll know that this is really nothing new in Christendom, but that it's just another round of the same old junk, repackaged and relabled for a new generation. MacArthur on the other hand, represents the flip side of this, the unchanging message of Scripture that is powerful enough to break the hardest, blackest, most vile heart, and turn that person to the cross of Christ with faith and repentance.

How comforting is it, that the message of Scripture never changes? How comforting is it that the God of Scripture never changes? Just how blessed are we really, that we have faithful men of God in our generation that are willing to take the mockery and criticism for their stand on that unchanging truth? As I drove along and had these thoughts today, John MacArthur was teaching about the doctrine of election, and hitting on so many key points that I was just blessed to hear this truth being declared over the radio waves on a mostly fluff-infused radio station.

Since change is inevitable, there will come a day when our solid leaders, pastors, apologists and authors are no longer with us, and we'll have a brand new list of names leading our evangelical Christian churches. This is sort of a bittersweet thought. On the one hand they'll be in glory and we'll be so overjoyed for them at that time that their race is finally over, and they will enter into His rest for all of time. While we will grieve, indeed our grief is tempered with this joy and this hope that we have, by His grace.

I just can't help but wonder though, who will take up for the gospel in the next generation? Will the Lord be pleased to raise up bold and solid men to preach and teach and write books? I believe He will, and I believe many of them will be the very young men that are today, learning from the men in our time, and those that have gone before us.

While I prefer things stay the way they are, and while I am indeed grateful to brothers in the church like pastor John MacArthur, I am sure glad there are young men with sharp discernment that learn from them, and that will be the leaders in the church in years to come. Men who will represent the unchanging gospel, and the God of Scripture that never changes, and who will be bold enough to preach the word of God knowing full well that it is indeed sufficient to change lives from in the inside out.