I had a conversation with a guy last week about the Ford Taurus.  Back in the late 90’s the Ford Taurus was one of the best cars in production.  Everything about it was good, the ride, the power, the comfort, and even the appearance.  Then one year Ford changed the design.  They didn’t really change the character of the car, just its appearance.  When that happened, the Ford Taurus almost disappeared into oblivion.  It has since made a comeback, but it has not fully recovered what it lost.

As I talked with this guy, it struck me how shallow America was.  Here was an excellent car, solid and reliable, that almost disappeared from the marketplace simply because people didn’t like the way it looked.  The engine and many of the other features only improved over time, but because the cosmetic appeal was lost, nothing else seemed to matter to car buys.

I think the converse of the Ford Taurus story describes what is happening to the preachers in America.  With the decline of the Reformed churches, America’s preachers have also declined.  Sure there are great orators still standing up on Sunday Morning and drawing large crowds, but where are the Luthers, Calvins, Whitefields, Edwards, and Spurgeons?

What I have seen instead is a preacher’s emphasis , not on Christ, but on the presentation.  This is the inverse of the Taurus illustration.  The cosmetic appeal is growing, but the insides are hollow.  The depths of grace and love have been replaced by moralism and easy-believism.  Instead of preachers viewing themselves and presenting themselves as God’s mouthpiece, it appears that preachers are more interested in being CEOs of a corporation where they use the Bible as by-laws.

I believe the result of preachers focusing on the happiness of the people (the customer) instead of on Christ and His Word has led the church into a situation like that of the Taurus.   The glitz and the glamour are there.  The cosmetics are good, but the heart of the gospel is gone and the church has been pushed aside by the shallow culture in which we live.

We need another reformation of the church.  The truths of the Bible, found by systematic exegesis, must be preached from the pulpit with boldness, gentleness and compassion.  The wonderful “Doctrines of Grace” must be presented day in and day out.

But there is always hope.  Just as the Taurus has started to make a comeback, so too is the true Preaching of the Word.  But it is not found in men like Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Rob Bell, or Benny Hinn.  These men have the cosmetic appeal, but they lack the “Doctrines of Grace.”  Thankfully God is raising up preachers like R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, Sinclair Ferguson, and John Piper who preach that we are saved by grace alone (Sola Gracia) through faith alone (Sola Fide) in Christ alone (Sola Christus) according to Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) and all to the glory of God alone (Soli Deo Gloria).

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