- Sheldon Clowdus
I think I know the answer to that question.
I spent the past week on vacation with my family on St. George Island off the coast of Florida. It was a much needed and appreciated week of rest and family time. On the way home this past Saturday I was listening to a Christian radio station that I found after searching for some music to listen to as we traveled through south Alabama. In between songs, the station had a Christian news segment where they highlighted some notable events in the Christian world. What interested me was the announcement right in the middle of the segment that at a Steven Curtis Chapman event, 3000 people came forward to accept Jesus Christ as their savior.
I don't want to discuss today the likelihood that all those were genuine professions or whether the whole gospel was proclaimed. What struck me as I listened to the report was the manner of the report itself. The person announcing the 3000 conversions was obviously operating under the assumption that all 3000 people were genuinely converted by the gospel and were now adopted sons and daughters of Jesus Christ. What amazed me was that the announcement of 3000 souls converted by the gospel was sandwiched in the middle of a couple of other stories and received the same excitement and enthusiasm as the announcement of concert dates. There was no noticeable excitement or amazement over 3000 conversions at one event.
I confess that my first reaction was one of cynicism. I thought that probably a good number of the supposed conversions were false and I assumed that some seeker sensitive, half gospel was probably presented. The truth is I wasn't there and I don't know the circumstances of the event or of the conversions. But if the gospel was presented in all its power and if in His grace God regenerated the hearts of 3000 people, shouldn't that be cause for wonder and amazement?
We know from Acts 2:41 that at least at one time 3000 conversions at one time was a biblically notable event. We also know that there is great joy in heaven when even one sinner repents (Luke 15:7,10). So how can the conversion of so many people cause nothing but a tiny ripple in the evangelical pool? How can we be so nonchalant about this?
Because we don't understand what the bible teaches about sin and salvation. I know this isn't true about everyone (all though none of us understand these things completely) but I can't help but think it is true about the evangelical world as a whole. How else do you explain our apathy to an event like the one described above?
If we really are, as the bible teaches, dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13), then any person repenting and believing in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross is a miracle no less supernatural than Jesus raising Lazarus or Jairus's daughter from the dead.
I know that I write about doctrine a lot. I know that to some that may be off putting. But please know this. My heart breaks to see people living outside the truth of God's Word with low, incorrect views of God. They are missing out on the glories of the Savior and the joy He desires for them to walk in because they do not know Him as He reveals Himself to be.
Doctrine matters to our joy.
We can't even celebrate the saving power of the gospel in the lives of those we love without sound doctrine.
Without sound doctrine we hear of 3000 souls being saved and shrug it off like it is normal. It is not normal. It is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit through the power of the gospel and we should be moved by the grace and power of our God in salvation.
God's choice to save sinners from His just wrath should move us to praise and thanksgiving.
God's grace to sinners (like us) should actually be amazing to us.