Another quote from the new book Preaching the Cross which contains the lectures from last year’s Together for the Gospel Conference. This selection comes from Mark Dever’s address from 1 Corinthians 4 on “A Real Minister.” In the midst of this message, Dever asked the following convicting series of questions:
Why, in so many of our churches, is it unusual to see someone giving their all to follow Christ, and growing in him? Is it because we allowed people who are in open unrepentant sin to continue on in our congregation, and so have diluted the witness, the fellowship? Why have we so neglected church discipline? Is it because we’ve not followed biblical instructions on leadership in the congregation (which we need in order to successfully practice church discipline), and we’ve also neglected the Bible’s clear teaching on church discipline itself? Why have we neglected discipline? Is it because we don’t teach about what church membership entails? And why would that be? Because we haven’t made it clear what it really means to be a Christian in the first place? And why would that be? Because we’ve misunderstood the gospel? How could that be? Because we have misunderstood the Bible? And why would that be the case? Because we’ve had pastors who – with the best of motives – have given themselves to everything in the world before giving themselves to the study and preaching of God’s Word! We’ve spent more time reading our email than our Bible. We have defended the Bible’s authority more than experienced its power in our own lives. (20-21).