One year ago, I posted on this blog about the Easter Sunday sermon at my church. That post is here. I also sent a letter to one of the elders containing basically the same comments. The only response it got was that one of the other elders commented that they needed to do more to “protect” the younger members of the pastoral staff (the implication being, from letters like mine).
If anything, the sermon given one year later on this past Easter Sunday, by the same pastor incidentally, was even worse. It was a truncated, carefully sanitized re-packaging of the Gospel that deliberately omitted: (1) any reference to judgment; (2) any explanation of the fact that we are all sinners by nature and that we are therefore under the just wrath of an omnipotent God; (3) any reference to the Atonement or why it was necessary; (4) any valid Scriptural explanation for why Jesus had to die; and (5) any valid Scriptural explanation for why Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus did not die to “change your tomb into a womb” or any such thing. Any connection between “change your tomb into a womb” and the text of Acts 2:24 (“God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death…”) is so grossly attenuated that it is almost laughable. This presentation (I hesitate to call it a sermon) was not even on speaking terms with the true Gospel.
But when these empty words are preached on Easter Sunday morning at one of the largest churches in Wheaton, Illinois, it is hardly a laughing matter. Instead it is cause for weeping and righteous indignation. To soft-pedal the offense of the Gospel in this manner is wrong. What is worse, the church leadership, by all its venerable history of faithful preaching and teaching, should know it is wrong. Apparently they either do not know or do not care.
This poor young man has evidently gotten no instruction or guidance from the seminary he attended, from the senior members of the pastoral staff or the elders. What is more, the elders apparently think they have nothing better to do than to harass a few members for writing a letter questioning one of their proposals that was ultimately voted down by the congregation, while this kind of liberalism goes out unchecked from the pulpit week after week.
What is this but straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel? What is this but hypocrisy on a massive scale?