Those who know me know that I am very concerned about:
- Worship that is focused on what Christ does for us rather than on what we do for Christ.
- Preaching that is focused on what Christ does for us rather than how to be a better ______________.
- Evangelism that is focused on what Christ does for us rather than on what we do for him.
- Not getting caught up in the latest fad.
- Being connected to the big story of the Church. We have roots that many forget, expressed in the creeds of the early church and the confessions of the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s.
Along these lines, I’ve got one more link to an item from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The Cambridge Declaration begins with this preface:
Evangelical churches today are increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than by the Spirit of Christ. As evangelicals, we call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith.
In the course of history words change. In our day this has happened to the word “evangelical.” In the past it served as a bond of unity between Christians from a wide diversity of church traditions. Historic evangelicalism was confessional. It embraced the essential truths of Christianity as those were defined by the great ecumenical councils of the church. In addition, evangelicals also shared a common heritage in the “solas” of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation.
Today the light of the Reformation has been significantly dimmed. The consequence is that the word “evangelical” has become so inclusive as to have lost its meaning. We face the peril of losing the unity it has taken centuries to achieve. Because of this crisis and because of our love of Christ, his gospel and his church, we endeavor to assert anew our commitment to the central truths of the Reformation and of historic evangelicalism. These truths we affirm not because of their role in our traditions, but because we believe that they are central to the Bible.
The Cambridge Declaration continues with an analysis of how much of evangelicalism has drifted away from the “five solas” of the Reformation:
- Sola Scriptura — Scripture alone
- Solus Christus — Christ alone
- Sola Gratia — Grace alone
- Sola Fide — Justification by grace alone through faith alone
- Soli Deo Gloria — For God’s glory alone
This document steps on some toes, but it is a message that the Evangelical church needs to hear.
Grace and Peace
P.S. The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has a governing council made up of men of a variety of denominations: Reformed, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Independent, Evangelical Free Church (my denomination). Some of these men you may have heard of: John Piper, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, D.A. Carson, Gene Edward Veith, Albert Mohler.