IS THE CHRISTIANITY YOU BELIEVE IN AND PRACTICE AUTHENTIC OR SYNTHETIC?
A ministry acquaintance of mine, retired pastor and seminary president, Doug McLachlan, recently sent me an overview of his latest book, Thirsting for Authenticity: Calling the Church to Robust Christianity. The first two paragraphs of the overview reads as follows:
“The underlying thesis of Thirsting for Authenticity: Calling the Church to Robust Christianity is this: I believe there is a definite correlation between the demoralization of our culture and the progressive deterioration of the body of Christ over the past fifty-plus years. The “salt” seems to have lost its salinity and the “light” seems to have lost its clarity. When this happens decadence and darkness grow unhindered in a civilization and entire societies unravel at the seams.
Tragically, serious exposition of Scripture has been judged by large segments of the body of Christ as a positive impediment to church growth. The consequent marginalizing of truth has weakened the body of Christ and left our civilization suffering from a truth-deprivation. Wherever such a deprivation exists, “the people cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:18).
I’ve read the entire overview, and will order the book. I’ve no doubt that it will constitute a good investment of my reading time and be a valuable addition to my library.
A portion of my response to Dr. McLachlan’s note to me follows. I am including it in this post to call attention to the significance of what he has to say in his book. I’m also taking the opportunity to underscore the severity of the problem that exist in ministry today.
“I am in complete agreement with every point mentioned . . . The parallels between
the state of our culture in America and the spiritual state of churches are astoundingly
clear; yet, these parallels are apparently, generally ignored or overlooked.
You are also quite right that there is a correlation between the absence of genuine exposi-
tory preaching and the state of affairs that exist in many churches in terms of worldliness and ineffectuality. In my opinion, it is just to the degree that expositional preaching has been,
and is, lacking, that Christianity, and consequently our country, have been negatively
In my view, preachers and churches have defaulted terribly in terms of Christian responsibility
for the stewardship of our nation and our system of government which exist, I believe, by the providence of God for the primary purpose of our proclaiming and demonstrating authentic Christianity to the world. This default continues to be an unfolding and escalating tragedy.
The proper response by preachers and churches to what we now face, surely must begin with
and revolve around, a radical resumption of responsibility in terms of two things: (1) preaching
and teaching, and (2) practical Christian living and church life that is driven by desire for holiness. “
To all my preacher brethren and fellow believers reading this post, I ask: What do you think? Do you recognize any lack of authenticity in modern day Christianity in comparison with what is taught in the Bible and what was believed and practiced by American Christians in the not-so-distant past? Do you think the worldliness of professed Christians today, and the carnal, commercialized atmosphere that prevails in churches is authentic? Do you really think that the shallowness of what is passed off as preaching—high in entertainment, but low in spiritual edification—is authentic preaching of the Word?
Authentic Christianity is marked by Spirit-filled exposition of the Word of God and a demonstrated desire for holiness in both the inner and the outer man. This is what needs to characterize individual believers and churches. And this is something our nation and our world desperately need to see.