Contend Earnestly: Old School Preaching, But Is it Complete?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old School Preaching, But Is it Complete?

Mark from Here I Blog, linked to this video and as I started to watch it I had some differing emotions hit me. One, was that it did spur me to thought on my works and the real change, or lack thereof, that has happened because of Christ. Second though, was that I realized how much grace was left out of this small section of preaching. I haven't listened to the whole sermon, nor do I know anything of Al Martin, but I am a little iffy on hearing something like this. It does honestly strike a cord with me as something I need to hear, but without grace attached closely and strongly to this message, what makes this different than any other preaching of having high morals for righteousness? What are your thoughts?


Jonspach said...

This just seems like part 1, to me. Those who have made a false profession are given opportunity to re-examine and then bring their hearts where their lips already are.

The title of the sermon is "Warning to Professing Christians" but yeah, those who are completely outside of Christ and unfamiliar (not the target audience) may well be asking "What Must I do to be Saved?". I'm assuming the pastor would answer in a manner biblical.

Pete Williamson said...

three thoughts:

1. very convicting, like you said. there is always a need for preachers to sound this alarm to sleepy Christians; but...
2. where's the gospel, Al? I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and trust that this is a clip from a larger message. otherwise, all he leaves us with is the Law which no one - not even Al Martin - is able to keep. the cross not only condemns sins, but also endures the punishment for our sins...where's that good news? what about the imputation of Jesus' perfect obedience to the Law on our behalf? what makes this all the more ironic is that he even calls out the moral and religious folks, only to then lead them right back into morality and religion.
3. one last small point, and I don't think this is on Al...but this presentation would work much better if someone did a grammar and spelling check. fwiw, it's "paring" knife, not "parry".

Jonspach said...

@Pete - I noticed a "your" instead of "you're". Kind of took me out of it. // grammar nerd.

I'm leaning towards saying this is the best message to give in the situation presented. You have a group of people claiming to know & believe the gospel but not doing so. I think the point is to rock them out of that mindset & have them reconsider what they already understand but don't know.

Unknown said...

Seth, Sometimes grace hits you with such force that it strips you of all of your pretenses. A great preacher knows how to expose your self-righteousness, but then he also knows how to apply the healing salve of the gospel. I have listened to many of Al Martin's sermons over the years and he almost always leaves you with the hope of the gospel. If you listen closely there is grace abounding in this sermon.

I have heard the following preachers (so called famous ones)in person: John Piper, Al Mohler, R.C Sproul, Sinclair Ferguson and Al Martin (and a few others) and I would say Al Martin is the greatest preacher I have ever heard. There have been points in his sermons that I did not agree with, but if we are honest we could even say that of Mark Driscol, or the rest of the guys I listed. Sometimes Driscol can come across heavy handed too.

Here is a link to a bunch of Al's Sermons.

That's my two cents.

Thanks for posting it!!

Tim Faulted said...

I also noted "citadel" was spelled "citdael" at around 2:55

Seth McBee said...

I noticed the grammar stuff...but I get attacked sometimes if I am too petty with stuff.


Steve...thanks for the info...good to know. I know nothing of Al Martin, and still think that this video was a poor attempt at lighting a fire under the ass of Christians. It will just lead to self-righteousness and pity.


I know you don't believe this, but your comment makes it sounds like that there is a point to where grace doesn't need to be preached. Which I know you wouldn't put forth that thought, but that is how it sounds.


Good points. We need to keep the cross at our center always and teach and discipline from it and it's purposes.

Darlene said...

Dear Seth,

I just viewed this video yesterday and at first thought it was a parody of Calvinist preaching. About a couple minutes into the video I realized it was the "real deal." At that point I breathed a sigh of relief that I am no longer sitting in a 5 point Reformed church.

Being yelled at from the pulpit to pound me into submission so that I will examine myself to see if I am really saved is just a religious form of mind control. The Calvinist view of humanity leaves one confronted with the bleak quandary that there really are no options - none whatsoever.

Bear with me for a moment while I inteject myself into this story, a story that was once lived and experienced firsthand. I'm sitting under the hellfire and brimstone preaching of one who says what a wretch I am and that God wants nothing to do with my wickedness and sin. He would love to obliterate me off the face of the earth because I am so despicable in His sight. I need to repent of my wicked, vile sin else I will suffer in this life and the next. REPENT, REPENT, REPENT YOU VILE SINNER!

But wait a moment, I did that. I think back to the time when I laid myself bare before God, not even knowing whether God existed. Yet, I took the leap of faith and called out to Him in hope that He would hear and answer. And He did. He changed my entire being, my mind, my heart, my desires. Yes, He took on my humanity so that I might truly be lifted up to share in His divinity, being a partaker of His divine nature. And since that time I told others of His love, His forgiveness, His redemption. I read His living words, I prayed and worked side by side with others who also experienced and lived out this marvelous LOVE.

to be con't

Darlene said...

Now, I am being told that I might not really be saved. That my confession of faith may have been false. That I need to consider the possibility, even the probability that I am a FAKE. That's right. Nothing more than an inwardly rotten specimen of humanity shrouded under a facade of religiosity, unfit for God's blessings.

Racing thoughts bombard my psyche. Perhaps I never really repented afterall. Perhaps what I thought was Christ changing me was really a mirage, a delusion. Was my life a lie? Did I ever mean any prayer that I had ever prayed? Were my works just evil deeds performed out of pride filled with the stench of a manipulative, corrupt heart? What did I know of myself, of God, of anything?

So I must repent, because the preacher is telling me I must. But how do I know if my repentance will be sincere? And how do I know that if I repent, I will not again question whether or not I have truly repented? Afterall, I thought I had repented, but now I may have been sorely mistaken.

Furthermore, how can I even repent if I am not meant to repent? What if I am a vessel of wrath? All the preaching for me to repent will be invain for God will not allow me to repent. He has predestined that I CANNOT reprent, even if I want to with all of my being.

Are we all just a bunch of hypocrites here, believing we have really repented but actually having been predestined to be damned and there ain't one doggone thing we can do about it? Then why preach to me? Why? If I'm one of His, even if I don't want to repent, He will make me repent for I cannot resist His grace. And if I am not one of His, all the preaching to me is pointless for I will not be able to repent, for God will not allow it.

I praise God that I am no longer under such bondage. My heart feels for those who struggle with scrupulosity and attend conservative, 5 point Reformed churches. There is no freeedom in Christ under such bondage, and the love of God, the love of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross Who said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do" is obscured.

I can never returned to such hopelessness. Christ has been very gracious to me and the scales have been lifted from my eyes.

In Christ's Immeasurable Love,


zog said...

Al Martin is the Teaching Elder at Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, NJ. From listening to his sermons over the years he introduced me to reformed theology. I have met him and he seems to be a loving and genuine guy. Some people don't like his preaching as he does get heated at times.

In every sermon I have heard he points to the cross of Christ. He begs and pleads with his congregation to run to Christ for healing and forgiveness. IMO he is the greatest preacher of our time that nobody has heard. A couple that I really like are "Godly fathers, the tragedy of a vanishing species" (although he might have called it something else) and "a life of principled obedience"

I do believe Al does a better job than most of making practical applications for daily living in all of his sermons. Too often we forget that sanctification is an active process.

Darlene said...

"The inevitable result of eliminating the gratia universalis is that the Gospel is, in effect, paralyzed. The stricken sinner does not believe in the Savior of sinners if he is really convinced that Jesus is the Savior of only some of the sinners (gratia particularis)." - Francis Pieper

Just one of the reasons Lutherans strenuously disagree with Reformed Calvinist preaching.

Darlene said...

"My argument is that by referring to God's eternal decrees, you turn attention away from God's revelation, the Cross, and force believers to look inward, at their own feelings, signs of regeneration, good works, etc. In short, I think that particular Reformed argument has the exact opposite effect to what it intends to combat: It forces you to look at yourself and not at Jesus. And Jesus is the only way to know God, not through theories about secret decrees or debates about whether God caused the Fall (Van Til) or merely permitted it or any other attempts to get behind the revealed Word." Anthony Sacramone

Excellent description regarding the root of the problem in Reformed preaching.

Douglas Kofi Adu-Boahen said...

Brother Seth,

I love you man but I do think you have been a little hasty in viewing this as moralism. This clip is from the tail end of the sermon - and this is my problem with the I'll Be Honest guys - and even then it misses the ending of the sermon as well.

Al Martin is one of the most cross-centred preachers I have had the privilege of listening to, and this sermon (available here - is no exception.

Have a good evening, brother :)

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