October 10, 2008

Evangelical Truth - A Reflection Paper

Last week, I handed in a short reflection paper regarding the book, Evangelical Truth by John Stott. This book was a required reading assignment for my Theology in a Global Context class that is taught by Dr. Paul Siu.

Seminary has been quite demanding on my time with an incredible amount of reading that must be done in such a short period of time. As challenging and demanding as it is, I am enjoying my time here, to learn what the professors here are so passionate about and that is bringing the gospel message of grace through faith in Jesus Christ throughout the world.

I hope you enjoy reading my paper below and at the end is a photo of the final grade that I received.


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I enjoyed reading this book by John Stott very much. I felt the introduction was a bit long and drawn out and I was beginning to become disinterested in what he wanted to communicate. Once I began reading the first chapter, I was very engaged with the author to understand the subtitle of the book, which is his plea for unity, integrity and faithfulness.

In the introductory definitions of Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, I find myself to be more of an evangelical. I would agree with J.I. Packer’s six evangelical fundamentals that are found on pages 23 and 24 of the book: 1. The supremacy of Holy Scripture, 2. The majesty of Jesus Christ, 3. The lordship of the Holy Spirit, 4. The necessity of conversion, 5. The priority of evangelism and 6. The importance of fellowship.

The priority of evangelism is of utmost importance to the call of God upon my life as an evangelist/pastor.

Stott noted one of the aspects of the gospel is that it is Christological, saying that the gospel is not preached if Christ is not preached and the authenticity and centrality of the gospel must proclaim His life, death, burial and resurrection (p. 27). I completely agree with this statement as this is how I feel and would certainly oblige myself to ensure that Christ is central in my personal life and in ministry, as an evangelical preacher. Likewise, he also said, “the only authentic Christ is the biblical Christ (p. 39) and this must always be true for the evangelical Christian.

When Stott mentioned that postmodernism is the sworn enemy of claims to absolute truth, this strengthened my present opposition, to the ignorance, pastoral leaders have argued to be more pluralistic and relative rather than uncompromising and dedicated to the truth of God’s Holy Scriptures. This relativism, even minimizing the gospel has pervaded many churches, including one I belonged to and it was very disheartening to see the pastor acquiesce to a model or method of ministry, of another church, rather than following the example of the early church in the New Testament (Acts 2).

Stott mentions the risk of humility among some evangelical preachers, who lacked a fair and true understanding of Scripture, who had likely not combined the divine and human elements of God’s Word through the human authors and I agree with him. I have seen this not only from the church I had previously attended, but have noticed that all too much in other churches around the country, reading about them through various bloggers.

I have learned to come to the Scriptures with reverence, with diligence in study and daily preparation for ministry, but most importantly with a great amount of earnest prayer, as Stott states (p. 54). I have learned this from where I presently attend worship services at Times Square Church in New York City and Stott’s book has reinforced this within me.

In my former example, there was very little submission to the authority of Scripture for the sake of being relevant or non-confrontational, thereby reflecting little authority to Christ. To put it quite bluntly, a little submission to the authority of Scripture or to Christ, is no submission at all, but rebellion. There can be no compromise to the Scripture when it comes to remaining faithful and true to preach the pure truth of the Word of God.

Scripture must always be correctly interpreted and not deconstructed from the author’s original intent of the historical biblical text. While postmodernists will choose to make the text of Scripture say what they want and make themselves to be a unique entity, but not a biblical one, evangelicals will remain conscientious in the proper biblical exposition of Scripture in the evangelical church.

Chapter two of the book was the most interesting part of this book to me, which where the central focus of the Christian faith, the cross.

As an evangelical Christian, it is important to note as Stott has, that no one can ever enter into the holy presence of God, now or in the future, in the filthy rags of our own mortality.

Reading about the Justification by Faith (pps. 76 – 78) was very refreshing as I continued reading. I have often heard of the phrase, “justification by faith alone,” but have never realized that it also meant “justification by Christ alone.” And where Stott said, “faith has no function to receive what grace freely offers,” brings a greater meaning to my salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I, like the apostle Paul, want to glory in nothing that I have done, but only in what Jesus has done on the cross for me.

In chapter three, The Ministry of the Holy Spirit, I really enjoyed the explanation of the four insights to the new birth of a Christian. The new birth is a work of God, it is sudden and not necessarily, a conscious experience and it is not identical with baptism.

I can certainly identify with these key points, as distinguishing traits of myself as an evangelical Christian from those of other traditional beliefs. The assurance of salvation, if not accompanied by faith in Christ, will be nothing more than a false sense of assurance while on the broad road to destruction.

Evangelical Truth was a very enjoyable book to read and I would recommend it to others.

Dr. Siu's comment says, "And this reflection is also a very enjoyable read. It is insightful and thoughtful. I particularly like your staunch position against postmodern hermenuetics. Keep up the excellent work!"

Reference

Stott, J. (2003). Evangelical Truth - A personal plea for unity, integrity and faithfulness (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

11 comments:

Grandma said...

I AM SO VERY PROUD OF YOU, WHAT A GREAT GRANSON YOU ARE, I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH! CHEERS TO ONE GREAT KID AN A VERY SMART ONE TOO! GRANDMA

Beverly Wilson said...

Dear Kurt,

I have not read evangelical truth, but I am going to try to do so I loved your paper,anyway. Very good grade, now all you have to do is keep it up which you will by the grace of GOD. Please keep them coming, I really enjoy.

Much much love and the blessings of GOD our FATHER.

Dawn Barsi said...

Kurt -

That is awesome..... I knew you had it in you !!!

God Bless

Dawn Marie

Lori C. said...

Hi Kurt,

Wow, that was really good. I think you are definitely in the right place, and I'm glad you are following "your calling". Nice comment from your teacher, I'm impressed!!

Nancy Dahlstrom said...

Hi Kurt,
I am so glad to hear you are doing so well. Life has been very busy for John and I. I am truly enjoying retirement and my new husband.

Raymond is back in Iraq, for his third tour. We expect him to come home sometime in May of 2009.

Please add him to your prayer list.

Please keep me posted on your progress and know that I am wishing you well.

God Bless,

Dad said...

Nice job, gotta get a 4.0verall!

Kevin Gruosso said...

Hey Kurt nice job on the paper. Only an A+ next time try and do better. lol!!!

Mike Chunko said...

Tremendous reading on your blogsite, I want to peruse your article a great deal more and some of the rest of your content. This is an edifying and challenging series of pieces you have written and I trust they will continue to bless and uplift the hearts of others.

You're in my prayers!

Blessings,

Lou Chicatelli, ESQ. said...

Good for you Kurt! Keep up the good work.

It's easy when you like the subject, right!?

Cathy Kimball said...

Congratulations!!!!

That is awesome. Keep up the good work.

Sarah said...

Nice Job!

See you Saturday!

Sarah

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