Where is the “Evangel” in Modern Evangelicalism? A Comparison of a Piper and a Lutheran Sermon
What strikes many converts from Evangelicalism to Lutheranism is how much Lutherans talk about Jesus Christ. No, scratch that. Not “about” Jesus Christ. They proclaim Christ. They talk Christ. They preach Christ and Him crucified. Many Evangelicals think they are proclaiming, talking and preaching Christ, but upon closer analysis, there is a whole lot of “God-talk” and not nearly enough “Christ-talk.” For much of Evangelicalism the “Gospel” is good news, but good news for a specific, “decision” or moment of conversion after which point the focus shifts from Christ to us; whereas, in Lutheranism, it’s always all about Jesus and everything He has done, and is doing, in our lives.
Let me offer another comparison. Here is a word cloud for John Piper, one of the most well known conservative Evangelical preachers working today, and one generally regarded as being more aware of the centrality of the Gospel. But look at this analysis of one of his sermons preached in the past year or so, on “overcoming the world.”
Now, look at a sermon preached by a Lutheran pastor on good works. You would think that if there ever would be a place where even Lutherans would dive well into a focus more on me, myself, I and we and us, and a focus on the law, it might be here. But, even in a sermon that was highly “practical” in its proclamation of the life of the Christian being marked by good works, notice the prominence of Christ. The sermon was on Eph. 2, “God’s workmanship.”