The church is at a crossroads with American culture today. Some have taken steps to make their churches more user-friendly by making worship style central, upgrading their high school ministries and having a bigger and better VBS program. Among many other things churches today are changing the way things have been done historically. One of the sad trends in Evangelicalism today is the movement towards a seeker sensitive style of preaching. The motto becomes “We are willing to do whatever it takes to get people in the door and bodies in the pews”, instead of what Paul would have considered of first importance, mainly that, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”.
On the flip side of the coin I have seen, in my opinion, some churches move to a more strict orthodoxy in the way their churches are organized and their services held. In an attempt to be less seeker sensitive they turn to a more wooden liturgy and dare I say that legalism has begun to creep in the back door of some of those churches. It’s at a time like this we need to get back to what the Apostles and Church fathers would have considered to be primary in the life of the church; the ministering of the gospel in the pulpit. It’s this premise that Jonathan Leeman puts forth in his book, Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People.
He brings to the mind of the readers the idea that God’s word should be at the forefront of Christian thought and practice. He brings us a clear view of God through the mighty power of His word and the things it accomplishes. He brings the reader in on a wave of God’s word and shows how the wave forms, crashes down, and calls to the sand it has just crashed on. While Jonathan does not use the analogy of the wave I thought it a helpful idea to describe the sections Leeman uses to describe the reverberation which God accomplishes through the Word.[pullquote4 align=”left” variation=”blue”]The Word frees the heart, and it does so in the most remarkable way. [/pullquote4]
A theme that runs through the pages of this book is the idea that God’s word will accomplish all it has set out to do. At times this includes dividing the people and effectually calling them to repentance and faith. Leeman is not afraid to state that the offense of the gospel is the aroma of life to some and the stench of death to others. He rightly points out that God’s word does divide the wheat from the chaff and calls those to repentance the people the Father has given Christ. He talks about things in this book that many will find simply umbilical, though the problem lies in the reader. It’s not that we don’t want to believe the message of the word, as the bible points out, we can’t! We can’t unless the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is wrought in our hearts calling us to repent and give up our lives for the sake of the gospel.
I recommend this book to the entire church of God. Men and women from all denominations will benefit from this study of God’s word. I have been helped by this book and been brought back to the right focus which the church should have in view. I pray this book will be taken up and read more than once. It’s a timely message the church can ill-afford to be without.