In a perfect reflection of this age, in which the fear of God is lacking even among professing Christians, a popular British preacher and author named J. John has turned the negatives of the Ten Commandments into a positive approach called “Just10” (“Hundreds of Churches Using ‘New’ Ten Commandments,” Christian Post, March 9, 2012). John, whose material is used by 600 churches, changes God’s “thou shalt not steal” into “prosper with a clear conscience”; “thou shalt not commit adultery” into “affair-proof your relationships”; “honour thy father and thy mother” into “keep the peace with your parents.” The objective, we are told, is to make God’s Word “more personable” and something to which “people can relate to today.” Two of the fundamental principles of the New Evangelical philosophy which has swept through Christianity over the past half-century is to keep the preaching on a more positive, upbeat tempo, and to try to make Christianity “cool” to this cool-addicted generation. J. John has done well in furthering these wrong-headed principles, but he has not outdone Kenneth Caine, who in 1998 published the “Positive Bible” with the objective of removing all of the “negative” statements from Scripture. The result was a very thin Bible! There is both “negative” and positive in Scripture, and the preacher’s job is to preach it all. Proper biblical preaching has a strong element of warning and plain correction. We are to “reprove, rebuke, exhort” (2 Timothy 4:2) and “rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15). The preacher is to preach all things whatsoever Christ has taught us (Mat. 28:20). He is to speak the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). It is the “negativity” and “sharpness” of God’s Word that the Spirit of God uses to bring conviction to man’s heart; it is the “prick” that God uses to bring men to repentance (Acts 26:14). “... reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Prov. 6:23). The law of God is supposed to be negative and fearful! In light of God’s warning not to tamper with His words, I would rather have my hands cut off than do what J. John has done. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).
(Friday Church News Notes, March 16, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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