Some ruminations on Tuesday

A.W. Tozer has nailed it yet again… and this from the 1940s or ’50s, I believe.Tozer

I’m reminded once again of David Wells’ message on the opening night of the Desiring God Ministries National Conference, just a week and a half ago. In proclaiming to us the supremacy of Christ, he opened to the book of Hebrews. There, the author is doing the same thing: proclaiming the supremacy of Christ. But he’s also asking his Christian readers: “Why are you shrinking back from this? Why are you skulking around when you have this glorious Christ on your side? Is it unbelief that causes you to do this? If so, you’re perilously close to being like your ancient forebearers, the Israelites, who shrank back from all that God had promised them due to unbelief.”

Then Wells compared that to us, as “modern day” Christians. I quote from Tim Challies’ summation of this point:

We don’t worry about these things in the West, but our problem is slightly different. It is not so much fear for our safety as that we are so distracted by so many things that it is hard for us to sustain a focus upon the supremacy of Christ in our world and our lives. We think of our experience in the West in terms of its benefits: we know more, communicate more, communicate faster, travel more, travel more often, travel further, we buy more and more and buy higher quality, we have freedoms, we have opportunities that previous generations never had. But along with these undoubted benefits for which we are all grateful come costs. The costs are often hidden, they are like shadows that come right behind these benefits. It is not easy to live in this fast-paced, modernized, competitive world. In Africa, what is most pressing for people are physical needs: the need for food, for security, for simple medical care. Our challenge is more psychological: the psychological pressure of living in this pressurized, relativistic culture where worldviews and lifestyle and religions jostle together shoulder by shoulder and make Christian faith hard to sustain. It is the intrusiveness of this world into our innermost workings. There is so much that is urgent, so much that demands our attention. Our preoccupations are with surviving and with the intensity of the moment. This is why people come to church looking to have psychological needs met. But sermons only addressing these matters are exercises in futility if the supremacy and centrality of Christ has been lost. In an entirely different way, we in our churches seem to be shrinking back from Christ.

Yes, I think we are shrinking back; shrinking back from the fear that we won’t be viewed as successful. Unbelief & fear drive us because we so desperately want to be liked by the world. Yes, we really, really want them to like us, to come through our doors and enjoy what they see and hear. We want to entertain them in ways we think the world can’t (problem: we can’t do it anywhere near as well as the world can, so the world laughs at us in our vain attempts). We simply don’t believe that the Word of God is absolutely sufficient because the God who caused it to be written is absolutely sufficient; and, the Christ it proclaims is absolutely sufficient too.

I pray the Lord will keep me from this unbelief in Him and in the supremacy of His Son displayed in His all-sufficient Word. I pray that our sister Free Churches would be kept from this as well; and that repentance might be granted those many pastors who long for popularity, long to be thought well of by the world and who simply don’t believe in their hearts that Christ is supreme and that God is all-glorious and that His Word is sufficient.


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