The Gospel Coalition

The only thing more difficult than finding the truth is not losing it. What starts out as new and precious becomes plain and old.  What begins a thrilling discovery becomes a rote exercise.  What provokes one generation to sacrifice and passion becomes in the next generation a cause for rebellion and apathy.  Why is it that denominations and church movements almost always drift from their theological moorings?  Why is it that people who grow up in the church are often less articulate about their faith than the new Christian who converted at forty-five?  Why is it that those who grow up with creeds and confessions are usually the ones who hate them most?

Perhaps it's because truth is like the tip of your nose-it's hardest to see when it's right in front of you?

No doubt, the church in the West has many new things to learn.  But for the most part, everything we need to learn is what we've already forgotten.  The chief theological task now facing the Western church is not to reinvent or to be relevant, but to remember.  We must remember the old, old story.  We must remember the faith once delivered to the saints.  We must remember the truths that spark reformation, revival, and regeneration.

The Scriptures are fully true. Jesus is fully God. The Father appoints. The Son accomplishes. The Spirit applies. God created the world from nothing. God oversees everything. God can do whatever he wants, and he wants you to work hard. We are forgiven at the cross. We are justified by faith. We must show our faith with good deeds and holy lives. Jesus is our substitute. Jesus is the only way. Jesus is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Hell is terrible and forever. Heaven is eternal and better than we can imagine. Come to Christ. Come to the cross. Come and die, and behold, we live. Keep on saying these things over and over. And don't ever forget.

Portions of this post were taken from The Good News We Almost Forgot.


Comments:

Lois W

June 29, 2012 at 09:02 PM

Doesn't forgetting begin with minimizing? As in a theology that says, yes, personal salvation is important but it is not the only thing; God's plan is really about cosmic renewal. If you focus on personal salvation, you are selfish.

But the cosmos didn't rebel; it was cursed because of human sin. It did not need the Cross. The suffering of the Son was for us, you and me. Salvation is the song of the redeemed, sinners who were dead and under eternal condemnation. "How helpless and hopeless/we sinners had been/If He never had loved us/'till cleansed from our sin." God, who is rich in mercy, delivers up the Son so that individual human hearts might be reconciled and enjoy fellowship with Him. How unfathomable is our salvation, how indescribably sweet is our Savior! This precious truth, the very heartbeat of our daily life, transforms selfish hearts, by the power of the Spirit, filling them with the love of God, expressed in ceaseless battle for men's souls. The battle begins in us: the Enemy of God would have us forget.

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Jon

June 28, 2012 at 10:28 AM

"Why is it that people who grow up in the church are often less
articulate about their faith than the new Christian who converted at forty-five?”
I always thought this before i was a christian. I sat idle in a pew for 19yrs. Self decieved because i prayed a prayer for salvation. I always wondered why the people who were zealous about teaching and going after truth and correcting the pastor never lasted at the congregation. Why their kids were so knowledgable about the bible where majority of us were not. when Christ turned the lights on for me and i finally realized i was headed to hell without submitting to him and dieing to sin and self and trusting in his lordship did i realize i was sitting in a spiritually dead gathering of football fans. not christians ( though i would argue now there are probably some regenerate saints there ) People who have genuine conversions ( not false say the prayer kind of stuff ) are hungry for truth. I believe Mark Dever did an excellent job speaking to that at T4G this past april. I think this is a result of poor leadership ( speaking to false conversions) and saying a prayer or raising your hand after being led in a prayer.

That part stood out to me.

Todd Van Voorst

June 28, 2012 at 09:22 AM

A call to remember. This is good for my soul.

I need to be reminded. The Gospel saved me and refreshes me.

The eternal truths of God's common and specific revelation are good to remember when the daily grind contains so many distractions from these ever-present realities.

Randy in Tulsa

June 28, 2012 at 08:47 AM

"Why is it that denominations and church movements almost always drift from their theological moorings? Why is it that people who grow up in the church are often less articulate about their faith than the new Christian who converted at forty-five?"

Two reasons? First, because we are dead until the Spirit of God makes us live.

What a beautiful picture of this in the Old Testament reading today in the One Year Bible. From II Kings 13:

"20 Then Elisha died and was buried. Groups of Moabite raiders used to invade the land each spring. 21 Once when some Israelites were burying a man, they spied a band of these raiders. So they hastily threw the corpse into the tomb of Elisha and fled. But as soon as the body touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man revived and jumped to his feet!"

So, if we never are made alive we will "hate" or at least be bored with the truth taught to us in church.

Second, once made alive, there is an enemy who seeks to turn us from the truth by any and all means possible, including using false teachers and other leaders to keep us from or take us away from the truth accurately confessed by our predecessors. Why am I just now discovering Ryle and Watson? Why didn't I discover Calvin until three years ago? And I have been in church my entire life. So much wasted time.

Still, praise God for putting "Elisha's bones" in our lives time and again to give us new life and revive us when we begin to grow cold. I even bump up against his bones in this blog. Thank you for your faithfulness.

Kenny Taylor

June 28, 2012 at 08:27 AM

Thank you brother.

Brian O

June 28, 2012 at 07:38 AM

Kevin, very thoughtful article on one of the main problems facing the Evangelical Church in North America. As I was reading your article I jotted this sentence on a piece of paper. Truth without a living passionate relationship with the Savior turns into hard cold facts.

Anyway, how is the ministry going? Just a reminder you gave me time for an interview while I was working on my thesis paper, hey,got an A for the project. And if I remember correctly you are a Miami Heat fan---so right now you gotta be one happy man.

faithworks

June 28, 2012 at 07:21 AM

Is it fair to say that there is a lack of spiritual discernment and backbone in the top positions of the RCA and the CRC? I mean, I really think these guys are out of touch with what God declares to be truth. What they believe is so compromised and watered down from what God's Word really says. All this luvy duvy stuff, promoting that we all hold hands touting 'unity in diversity' is sickening indeed. This is nothing but spiritual junk food. These denominations are spiritually sick. Nearly every epistle warns us about false teachers. I often wonder if our leaders could be wolves in sheep s clothing? Is the flock being bamboozled?

[...] A Call to Remember –  I love Church History, here’s Kevin DeYoung’s explanation why we need to remember our history as Christians. [...]

Mark Soni

June 28, 2012 at 03:47 PM

Thank you Kevin. I needed this today. Sometimes I just need the Truth to set me free from myself and keep my eyes on the Savior. I will strive to remember.

Friend

July 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

.

Deb

July 1, 2012 at 04:48 PM

Polycarp is another great early Church father to read about. God Bless! Matthew 7:21 John 6:53-56

Deb

July 1, 2012 at 04:31 PM

The early Christians often sacrificed their very lives for the truths of the Church. Read the early Church fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch-a disciple of the Apostle John and you will learn the truths that have been handed down for 2000 years. After all, Christianity did not begin in the 16th century. Christ established his church long before that.