Tracts vs. the Preaching of God’s Word

At a site on Facebook, the author put up the suggestion that when we go out to eat dinner at a restaurant, we leave a healthy tip, and a gospel tract. He suggested that even when the service is horrible, leave a bigger tip and a tract.

This seems like such a righteous thing to do. But alas, this is contrary to what the Bible says when it comes to the spread of the gospel. No where are we told to share gospel tracts. The Scripture is quite clear that we are to preach the gospel.

We see this in Romans 10:14-15

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

The Reason

There is a theological reason that God has chosen preaching to reach His elect. It goes back to the Garden of Eden when the temptation of Adam and Eve took place. Satan tempted the first couple through the spoken word. Satan had no power over Adam. All he could do is use words to tempt them. Sadly, it was enough.

Surprisingly, it is through the spoken word, or preached word, that God has chosen to undue the work of Satan. We are to be the people of God, who are of the preached word. This is why the Scriptures says So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It is also why the word says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

By hearing Satan’s claims, Adam fell into sin. It is through the hearing of the work of the Second Adam that we will be saved. Given that, let us support those faithful preachers who proclaim God’s word, and quit depending upon the inventions of men to do what God has not told us to do, which is preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).

The Rebuttal

One more point. The author of the site came back with the rebuttal that his uncle was saved through reading the Bible, and another person was saved through reading a tract. The author was appealing to the exception clause of the rule, thereby making it the rule. The rule is that we preach God’s word faithfully. The exception is that GOD MOVES when and where and how He pleases. Yes, God can use the tracts we pass out. Yes, God can use the reading of God’s word for ourselves. But this is not what He has CALLED us to do. He has called men in the body of Christ to preach the word and teach it. He has also called some to be evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12). Through those offices, He operates through the ordinary means of grace. He can use any means He has chosen. But it up to us to be obedient in the use of the means He has given us.

The Real Reason “Engaging the Culture” Doesn’t Work

I really enjoyed reading Dean Abbott’s article “Engaging the Culture” Doesn’t Work Because Christian Beliefs Are a Mark of Low Status over at Patheos. He makes some great observations concerning this misguided movement. My regular readers know that I am not a fan of those who call for us to engage the culture (ETC) because what often happens is that the church ends up looking more like the culture rather than the culture looking like the church.

Continue reading

True Preaching Leads to the Theology of the Cross

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14)

This verse is one of those monumental verses we have in Scripture that point to the absolute necessity of preaching. Those who belong to Christ, must hear from Him, and the means by which we hear from Christ, is through the faithful preaching of His word.

Michael Horton, in his book A Better Way, makes the case that preaching is God’s means for reaching His people. While we can do all other manner of outreach, preaching is what God has ordained for us to do in order to reach the lost.

Continue reading

5 Things Every Pastor Needs to Remember When He Steps into the Pulpit

I know this will not go over well in our hyper-egalitarian society, but there is no greater privilege for a man other than to stand in the pulpit and declare God’s truth to God’s people. To do so faithfully is to imitate Christ to the utmost, for in doing so, the faithful preacher is allowing the people of Christ to hear from Him in a spiritual sense. The faithful preacher who declares the full counsel of God’s word is feeding the flock. He is building them up, encouraging them, and allowing God’s word to work in their lives toward sanctification.

Continue reading

The Impossible Love

Here is the introduction to my most recent sermon. Preached at King’s Parish (ARP) in Dallas, Tx, this past Sunday.

When my wife and I were having our morning Bible study recently, we came to this passage of scripture (Luke 6:27-36) before us and immediately felt the weight of conviction. Please don’t think that we would be alone in this. But for us, our experience is that we had to acknowledge that we do have enemies in our lives. This is a reality that few people will actually profess as Christians.

There are people in our lives who abuse us, who spitefully use us, who say things about us that would tarnish our characters and reputations. Yes, we have enemies.

Continue reading

The Blessed Woes of Christ

Sherewood Shores

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

I hope that when you hear the words of our LORD, you are as comforted by them as I have been over the past several weeks. We often think of these words as being quite profound, given that they are so at odds with the world’s understanding of things. They are not rooted in the worldly system of the Great Harlot. They are words rooted in Christ’s holiness, the Father’s love, and the Spirit’s comforting power.

Continue reading

First Advent: He Came to Preach

One of my problems with the yearly celebration of the first advent of Christ is that there is so little support for celebrating such a day in Scripture. When we look at Mark’s gospel, he completely ignores the birth of Christ. The Apostles never speak of it other than the birth accounts given in Matthew, Luke, and John. But what they all do speak to is the purpose of Christ’s coming. In Mark, Jesus declares His purpose early on in His ministry:

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;[a] repent and believe in the gospel.” (Emphasis added).

Notice the first thing that Jesus does: He preaches. He proclaims the necessity of repentance and belief in the gospel. He doesn’t set out to change the world through social advocacy. He doesn’t set out to be nice. He doesn’t set out to comfort people in their sin. He confronts them with their need to repent of their sin and trust in the gospel.

Continue reading

Should You Reimburse the Pastor for Performing a Baptism?

This question was recently presented to me and it is a good question. Should we give the pastor who baptizes our children an honorarium? After all, we do so when a pastor performs a wedding, and sometimes even a funeral. Where should we draw the line?

For baptism, the answer is clearly in the “no” category. Performing baptisms, like administering the LORD’s supper and preaching, are a part of a pastor’s regular duties. The pastor is charged with administering the normal means of grace, of which are baptism and the LORD’s supper. It would be quite odd for a pastor to expect additional money for doing what he was hired to do.

Performing weddings is a different story since he is under no obligation to conduct the ceremony. He does so for the blessing of the couple involved and gives up personal time on a Saturday, therefore he should be compensated for doing so.

A Rich Compliment

Recently I applied to work as the executive director for an organization that does work with the church overseas. I was really hopeful in getting the position because it would have allowed me to teach and instruct those in the ministry, even though this was a non-ordained position.

Continue reading