01 (January 2017)

Style or substance — the nature of true Christian ministry

Style or substance — the nature of true Christian ministry
James Clark
01 January, 2017 1 min read

This is a readable book. It contrasts the boastful but shallow facade of Paul’s rivals at Corinth with the deeper substance of apostolic gospel ministry.

This contrast is the main theme of this series of addresses. The former kind of ministry is shown to be ineffective in giving lasting comfort to the genuine Christian. Such ministry emphasises the bold and spectacular aspects of what proves to be a shallow evangelism, with a man-centred message.

The authors rightly criticise the multiplicity of ‘ministries’ nowadays, including ‘prosperity ministries’ and ‘try-harder ministries’. They also give attention to ‘spirit ministries’ which contradict the actual words of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.

This book is a timely reminder that the problems at Corinth are still alive and causing as much havoc now, as then. In the words of the authors, ‘Paul is adamant that we should stick with the real thing, for only the unchanged message … will have the power to change the heart and work lasting change. Everything else is surface froth’ (p.63).

James Clark


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