What’s the Answer to the Modern Day Church?
We now stand in the twenty-first century, almost five hundred years removed from John Calvin’s time, but we find ourselves in an equally critical hour of redemptive history. As the organized church was spiritually bankrupt at the outset of Calvin’s day, so it is again in our time. Certainly, to judge by outward appearances, the evangelical church in this hour seems to be flourishing. Megachurches are springing up everywhere. Christian contemporary music and publishing houses seem to be booming. Men’s rallies are packing large coliseums. Christian political groups are heard all the way to the White House. Yet the evangelical church is largely a whitewashed tomb. Tragically, her outward facade masks her true internal condition.
“We Want Again Calvins!”
What are we to do? We must do what Calvin and the Reformers did so long ago. There are no new remedies for old problems. We must come back to old paths. We must capture the centrality and pungency of biblical preaching once again. There must be a decisive return to preaching that is Word-driven, God-exalting, Christ-centered, and Spirit-empowered. We desperately need a new generation of expositors, men cut from the same bolt of cloth as Calvin. Pastors marked by compassion, humility, and kindness must once again “preach the Word.” In short, we need Calvins again to stand in pulpits and boldly proclaim the Word of God.
Charles H. Spurgeon shall have the final word here. This great man witnessed firsthand the decline of dynamic preaching and issued this plea:
We want again Luthers, Calvins, Bunyans, Whitefields, men fit to mark eras, whose names breathe terror in our foemen’s ears. We have dire need of such. Whence will they come to us? They are the gifts of Jesus Christ to the church, and will come in due time. He has power to give us back again a golden age of preachers, and when the good old truth is once more preached by men whose lips are touched as with a live coal from off the altar, this shall be the instrument in the hand of the Spirit for bringing about a great and thorough revival of religion in the land…
I do not look for any other means of converting men beyond the simple preaching of the gospel and the opening of men’s ears to hear it. The moment the church of God shall despise the pulpit, God will despise her. It has been through the ministry that the Lord has always been pleased to revive and bless His churches.
May Spurgeon’s heartfelt prayer be answered once again in this day. We do want Calvins again. We must have Calvins again. And, by God’s grace, we shall see them raised up again in this hour. May the Head of the church give us again an army of biblical expositors, men of God sold out for a new reformation.
This excerpt is adapted from The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steven Lawson.