Tragically I have witnessed in the greater Atlanta area new churches spring up and experience rapid growth. These churches have been established with the understanding that they are not your mom's and dad's church, but rather are committed to a "new thing." They claim to be doing church differently. Part and parcel to this difference seems to be a different gospel proclamation. Recently I listened to a sermon from the pastor of one of these places. The sermon was not very long, less than 30 minutes (I'm cool with that if the message is clear and biblical). But the tragic aspect to the sermon was that while his words were lauded and on occasion he was applauded, the message he preached proclaimed nothing of Jesus Christ. For nearly 30 minutes he stood up before a so-called church gathering and said nothing of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Correct me if I am wrong, but did not Paul say, "We preach Christ and him crucified?" Can we preach Christ and not mention Christ? Can we proclaim the faith and not proclaim the Author and Finisher of that faith?
Robert Smith in Doctrine that Dances writes:
As Jesus admonished that the Scriptures be searched because they testify of Him (John 5:39), preachers of Christian doctrine make Christ the heart of their preaching. If the Bible is read backwards, one will see that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). This means that in the mind of God, Calvary was a forethought and not an afterthought. God did not react to the fall of Adam and Eve, but rather He pre-acted before the the fall of Adam and Eve. The Old Testament proclaimed that Christ is coming. The New Testament announced that Christ has come and will come again. (p. 23)
Graeme Goldsworthy in Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture writes:
Is it possible to preach a Christian sermon without mentioning Jesus? I want to avoid simplistic answers here. Perhaps I can put it another way: Why would you even want to try to preach a Christian sermon without mentioning Jesus? Is there anywhere else we can look in order to see God? To see true humanity? To see the meaning of anything in creation? (p. 115).
While the temptation in preaching will be strong to proceed directly from, say, the godly Israelite to the contemporary believer, this method will inevitably produce distortions in the way we understand the text. There is not direct application apart from the mediation of Christ....While, no doubt, the direct approach will produce nice thoughts and, to a limited extent, even edifying ones, we simply can not afford to ignore the words of Jesus that the Scriptures testify to him. (p. 116)
Christ without Christ? Friends, where there is no Christ, there is no church. This is a sad and growing trend around here. May we stand firm upon the gospel of Jesus Christ. And may we preach it from every text of God's revealed Word.