The fundamental nonnegotiable
This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
D.A. Carson comments on 1 Corinthians 3:13, "Each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done."
This ought to be extremely sobering to all who are engaged in vocational ministry. It is possible to "build the church" with such shoddy materials that at the last day you have nothing to show for your labor. People may come, feel "helped," join in corporate worship, serve on committees, teach Sunday school classes, bring their friends, enjoy "fellowship," raise funds, participate in counseling sessions and self-help groups, but still not really know the Lord. If the church is being built with large portions of charm, personality, easy oratory, positive thinking, managerial skills, powerful and emotional experiences, and people smarts, but without the repeated, passionate, Spirit-anointed proclamation of "Jesus Christ and him crucified," we may be winning more adherents than converts. Not for a moment am I suggesting that, say, managerial skills are unnecessary, or that basic people skills are merely optional. But the fundamental nonnegotiable, that without which the church is no longer the church, is the gospel, God's "folly," Jesus Christ and him crucified. (The Cross and Christian Ministry)