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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Monday, January 14, 2008

Is Huckabee Ashamed of the Gospel?

Pulpit Magazine had a post today by Jesse Johnson on The Church's Mission Statement. In the article there is a clear point made from the Scripture that the mission statement for the church and for each individual Christian involves proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost world.

Johnson wrote:

The church’s mission statement was given to us by Jesus himself.

Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Mark 16:15-16: And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Luke 24:45-48: Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

John 20:21: Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Acts 1:8-9: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

So at the end of all four Gospels, as well as at the beginning of Acts, the church is given it’s mission. To reach the lost with the saving power of the Gospel. And with this commission, Jesus makes evangelism an issue of obedience to our mission statement.

Christians are then called to live, think and act in light of our mission statement. We make decisions and choices based on how they will affect our purpose, the reaching and saving of the lost.

Now then, while I do not usually address politics here on my blog, after I read that post today I read a news story that highlighted a visit by GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to the First Baptist North Spartanburg Church in South Carolina. He apparently set his campaigning aside long enough to preach at the church's Sunday morning worship service. And what he said afterward needs to be commented upon because this is not so much about politics as it is about the gospel.

Yes, Huckabee is a preacher and a politician. He is courting the religious right and the evangelical community, presenting himself as a Christian and a conservative. I am not posting to debate whether he is a Christian or a conservative, or whether he was preaching or merely campaigning from behind a pulpit, but I am compelled to speak up when a fellow minister of the gospel appears to be using the gospel for political gain.

Like every Christian, and certainly like every preacher of the gospel, Mike Huckabee is responsible before God to live out the churches mission statement. There is no salvation in politics or politicians. There is no salvation in government or religion. There is only salvation in Jesus Christ. Therefore, when Huckabee was asked a direct question about the gospel, he should have responded by clearly preaching the gospel to those who asked. Instead, he responded in such a way that he sounded as if he was ashamed of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul says to us in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..."

In contrast, here is what Huckabee said when asked a question that opened the door for a clear and bold proclamation of the gospel:

Asked by reporters later if he thinks only Christians will go to heaven, Huckabee refused to say. "I'm going to stick to the things that make it critical for me to be president of the United States," Huckabee said Sunday. "I have deep convictions about who goes and who doesn't, but as far as who makes that decision, it isn't me, it's God. I'm going to leave that up to him."

I really have to wonder what motivates Mike Huckabee when he is willing to put his hand over his mouth when he is asked to preach the gospel to the lost world. Besides that, God has told us exactly who will and who will not go to heaven.

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 3:16, 18 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

When asked if only Christians go to heaven Huckabee should have said, “Yes,” and then gone on to define who is and who is not a Christian. However, he blew it. He disobeyed Paul's admonition in 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

It seems that Huckabee will preach the gospel to those who know it, but he will not preach it to those who don't. Either way, it sounds like he is using the gospel to get votes. That means that these days Mike is more politician than preacher. We all know that he is eloquent enough to speak the truth clearly, but instead he side stepped the single most important question he has been asked on the campaign trail.

For that he should be ashamed!

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