This is part two of a three-part blog series where we asked Dr. Steven J. Lawson some questions about expository preaching, current issues facing evangelicals today and Expositor magazine.
What are the main challenges today facing evangelicals today?
I do not think there is a one-size fits all answer for this because so many different Christians live in different parts of the world and are being confronted with different issues. So, there is not one critical issue that is facing the average Christian in the average church. Having said that, several things do come to my mind that rise to a high level of importance.
First, the evangelical church today tends to be non-theological. In other words, so many churches and ministries want to emphasize the practical aspects of Christian living, but they neglect the doctrinal foundations of the faith. This is like attempting to build a solid house on shifting sand. I believe that churches and ministries must put first things first and lay the foundation before they would build upon it. This necessitates the teaching of sound doctrine and the general framework of systematic theology.
My second grave concern for evangelicalism is having a high view of God, which is at the epicenter of systematic theology. I believe that the greatest issue facing the church in any century is a proper understanding of who God is. What is needed in the contemporary church today is a steady diet of the attributes and perfections of God. It is our high theology that produces high doxology. I believe that Theology Proper, which is the unique focus upon the person and being of God, is the lens through which we must see every other area of theology and life itself. Until there is the right knowledge of God, there will never be the right knowledge of self, nor the proper remedy applied to our own lives.
Third, I believe that evangelicalism today needs a stronger commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture. Today, the Bible is affirmed, but other secular sources are subsequently added to the message of the Bible as if they carry some measure of authority. While many affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, they neglect to assert its sufficiency. By the sufficiency of Scripture, we mean that the Bible is fully able, when accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, to carry out God’s redemptive purposes upon the earth. This must be recovered.
Explain why the doctrine of inerrancy is so attacked today.
The reason is very simple — it is unbelief. People do not accept the Word of God for what it claims to be: the inspired Word of the living God, because of their unbelief toward God. Ultimately, this is not a matter of scholarship, but lordship. At its root, a rejection of the inerrancy of Scripture is a desire to sit in judgment upon the Scripture. It is an attempt at self-elevation above the authority of God Himself, which is nothing more than pride and vanity.
Please read the remainder of this interview here.