All this week we will be paying tribute to the now departed Michael Spencer by looking back at what I believe to be his best and most essential writings. I strongly recommend that you discover for yourself the riches of what Michael Spencer has to offer if you have not done so already; start with these, or feel free to explore on your own.
Today I will start by directing your attention to a post called “Wretched Urgency–The Grace of God or Hamsters on a Wheel?” The “wretched urgency” which Michael Spencer speaks of in this post is the urgency which many evangelicals feel about converting others to the Christian faith, and specifically the evangelical branch of Christianity. This is the primary form of wretched urgency which exists in the world of evangelical Protestant-dom, but wretched urgency exists in other forms as well. How about the church where the leaders call upon everyone to be uber-involved in church activities if they are truly committed to what God is doing through their church? Or the building campaign where the church challenges people to “get involved in what God is doing in this city” by giving toward their latest expansion project? Or the worship service where the worship leader says that if you are not all-out rip-roaring crunk for Jesus then you are not responding properly to the reality of what Christ did for you on the cross–or worse, that you are robbing God of the glory and honor and praise that are His due? Any of these sound familiar? Then this post will strongly resonate with you. While you’re at it, check out “Wretched Urgency II: My Not-So-Guilty Pleasures”, a follow-up piece in which Michael Spencer addresses the issue of why evangelicals cannot enjoy many of the simple pleasures which life in this world has to offer.
I now direct your attention to a post entitled “On Christless Preaching”. This post speaks to something which is increasingly becoming a problem in evangelical Protestant-dom: sermons which do not mention Christ at all, or if they do, only mention him as a secondary character. These include lessons drawn from Old Testament stories, sermons calculated to teach “life principles”, sermons dominated by illustrations drawn from the preacher’s own life, sermons about moral and cultural problems, sermons that speak of a vague and undefined “God”, and sermons in which Jesus plays only a bit part. Doubtless you have heard your fair share of sermons which fall into one or more of the above categories if you have done any substantial amount of time in evangelical Protestant-dom. In this post Michael Spencer offers his take on why this sort of preaching is so prevalent, and some shreds of hope toward addressing this problem.