>photo © 2008 National Galleries of Scotland Commons | more info (via: Wylio)
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and looking at blogs. I am humbled at the intellectual prowess I see. I am awed at the sermon delivery. All these young, evangelical, socially-minded pastors looks so hip and with it. They seem immersed in the Gospel. I feel like I can’t hold a candle to them. In short, I sometimes feel inadequate…here in my little (though now much bigger) church in my little mountain town in Alaska.
After all, what have I got?
Well, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but I’m guessing there are other preachers out there who have a little inferiority complex at times. There’s a lot of good preaching in the world and sometimes I’m not so sure it’s coming from me.
So, it was with some relief I read Jared Wilson’s blog post from way back in September…which seems like a lifetime ago now. It’s called “An Improvement-Proof Gospel” and it’s a little reflection on Galatians 2:6 which says, And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.
Oh, how I love Paul! He is hilarious. He is so cheeky. “Sure, sure. Peter, James, and John, those pillars, they seemed like somebodies, I guess.” Love it!
But is he being as disparaging as he appears? Not really, but sort of. Here’s Luther on this verse:
Paul disparages the authority and dignity of the true apostles. He says of them, “Which seemed to be somewhat.” The authority of the apostles was indeed great in all the churches. Paul did not want to detract from their authority, but he had to speak disparagingly of their authority in order to conserve the truth of the Gospel . . .
What they say has no bearing on the argument. If the apostles were angels from heaven, that would not impress me. We are not now discussing the excellency of the apostles. We are talking about the Word of God now, and the truth of the Gospel. That Gospel is more excellent than all apostles.
“The gospel is more excellent than all apostles.” Yes!
You know what? Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, John Piper, Mark Dever, Will Willimon, David Platt. These guys and more are (probably) better preachers than you and me. But if your gospel is the Bible’s gospel, their gospel isn’t better than yours. Same gospel. They can’t improve on it any more than you can defuse it.
If you’re a good preacher, you’re probably a better speaker than Paul — because Paul himself acknowledged he wasn’t an impressive speaker — but if your gospel is the Bible’s gospel, it is not your speaking that wakens hearts, but the same power the “unimpressive” Paul set loose.
If you know and speak the gospel, you are a channel for God’s destroying of strongholds and resurrecting of lives. Every Christian who can articulate the gospel has the launch code and access to the button.
If you preach the gospel, you wield the most powerful word in the universe. It’s not the gnosis of the apostles. It’s the resurrecting word entrusted to us all.
So, all I got to do is preach the gospel. Read it. Pray it. Preach it. Teach it. And that is not only sufficient, it is all that I have.
Sometimes I just have to remember, it’s not up to me.
It’s the Gospel, stupid.