Thursday, July 5, 2007

Evangelical: Our Commitment to the Biblical Gospel

The Cambridge Declaration, a document published by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, opens with these words, "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."

To say that we are "evangelical" in a day such as ours is almost, in some sense, to say everything and hence say nothing at all. The word "evangelical" is so common on the lips of those in today’s church that one can be almost anything and still consider himself to be "evangelical!" The root of the word "evangelical" is the word "evangel," meaning "good news." To say that we are "evangelical" is to say that we are committed to the truth of the Biblical gospel - the message of the good news of God’s redeeming grace found in Jesus Christ alone. We confess, along with those of various traditions in the history of the church of Jesus Christ, the truthfulness and enduring presence of the gospel which "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16 NASB). As the Confessional Baptist blog, we are in this sense "evangelical" - committed to the historic and Biblical gospel of Jesus Christ.

We believe that in the gospel alone God displays his mighty power to save. As the Apostle Paul clearly stated some two millennia ago:

NAB Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

It is nothing less than the majestic, irresistible, unsearchable, great, incomparable, strong, everlasting, effectual, and sovereign power of God that is put on display in the gospel that works for the salvation of men! It needs no supplementation by men! Why we ever feel the need to supplement it with anything we can do is beyond sound reason to discover. The gospel needs no aid by the demonstration of man’s physical powers, endorsements by professionals, visible signs and wonders worked by men seeking personal power, or even my personal testimony to make it effective. It, in itself, is the power of God for salvation.

We must always remain committed to this gospel and stand ready to share it with every man, trusting God to demonstrate its strength. In the words of Spurgeon:

The apostle was ready to go anywhere with the gospel, but he was not ready to preach another gospel; no one could make him ready to do that. He was not ready to hide the gospel, he was not ready to tone it down, he was not ready to abridge it or to extend it...As to the matter of preaching the gospel, Paul was always ready for that; he kept not back any one of its truths, nor any part of its teaching. Even if it should bring upon him ridicule and contempt, though it should be to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness.

O’ Gospel of God Sufficient to Save,
Where God Puts His Powerful Arm on Display.
God Has Promised His Gospel in One Complete Book,
It Is There for My Hope, and There Alone Will I Look.
This Promise Was Spoken, Through Prophets of Old,
It Is They of His Gospel Who So Faithfully Told.
The World, Flesh and Devil, Seek to Pull Me Away,
But in the Book I Will Rest, I Will Rest All the Way.
O’ Gospel of God Sufficient to Save,
Where God Puts His Powerful Arm on Display

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