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Church Off the Rails

Stan Moody

What is Wrong with the American Church?

The most self-conscious wing of the Christian Church, Evangelicalism, seems to be caught these

days between Jesus and the American Dream of prosperity and success. We have watched scions

of Evangelical tradition fold under the diminishing financial returns so familiar prior to the

COVID pandemic. By way of example, pastor/evangelist John MacArthur, who contributed

greatly to my own commitment to preaching on the Lordship of Christ, panics over the

encroachment of women into the life and mission of the Church.

To be clear, this piece is not in defense of women in ministry. Enough has been written about

that on both sides already. While I enjoy but remain willing to sacrifice my guns and white male

privilege in the interest of advancing the Kingdom of God, I am deeply troubled by the fear

coming from high-profile pastors and evangelists who seem to be losing their grip.

What is the Gospel?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is laid out perfectly in Romans 10:9, 10 as a 2-part message. First, is

that Jesus is Lord, with all its attendant biblical meanings. Second is that, in confirmation

thereof, God has raised Him from the dead. We see nothing there about developing effective

arm-twisting techniques nor, “Repeat after me, and you’re good to go!” In simpler form, the

mission of every Christian is first to believe and then to follow Jesus as Lord.

Who Was the First Missionary?

According to the 20th chapter of the Gospel of John, the first Gospel missionary was a woman

known as Mary Magdalene. “…go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I ascend to my Father and

your Father; to my God and your God’” (v. 17).

The message was abundantly clear. Jesus has commissioned Mary Magdalene to bring the

Gospel word to His male followers who have retreated in fear to their homes (v. 10):

  • God has raised Jesus from the dead…

  • His Father is now your Father; His God is now your God…

The Gospel message, then, is simply, “He is risen; Jesus is Lord”. What, then, is further required

of us who profess to believe and accept that message?

  • “…as the Father (yours and mine) has sent me, I also send you (v. 21):

i) “…as light to a world in darkness”

ii) "…as lover and forgiver of sinners” (v. 23)

iii) “…by rejoicing in (not fighting against) persecution, insult, and lies” (Matt 5:10-12)

iv) “…to the death of self in pursuit of righteousness” (Matt 16:24-26)

Sounds like a message to men and women alike to be delivered by men and women alike!

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