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!