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 Vol. 6, No. 4 

April 2004

Guest Editorial

~ Page 3 ~

Are the Fundamentals
of the Gospel Still Needed?

By Dennis Gulledge

Image The fundamentals of anything have to do with that which is of central importance. The fundamentals are basic and foundational. Even though the Gospel of Christ is "the faith," and as such is "one," it is both fundamental and advanced (Jude 3; 2 Peter 3:16).

There are what we call "fundamental sermons." These lessons are usually based on the basics of Christianity: faith, repentance, baptism, the church, obedience, etc. Any preacher recognizes the fact that when he preaches a fundamental sermon he is trudging familiar ground with many brethren. He knows that he is not dealing with something new to many people (especially among older brethren), but he simply asks you to remember that there once was a time when we did not know these things, due to the lack of opportunity.

It is with great sadness that we realize that many pulpits are all but silent on the fundamentals of the Gospel in these modern days. Why? Do we feel that we have graduated to greater things? Do we think it an inconvenience to retrace our thoughts to those areas of Bible knowledge, hopefully, already explored? Have we convinced ourselves that we are better served with a "feel good about yourself," "love yourself," diet in the pulpit?

I have never read a better defense of the need for preaching of the Gospel fundamentals than that which N.B. Hardeman included in the preface to volume one of his Tabernacle Sermons. In the language of another author he said, "I fear that some are drifting away from the old landmarks that so clearly characterized the restoration movement in its earlier days. Some of the old themes that used to be handled with telling effect by the pioneers are now seldom preached from some pulpits. It is, however, a noticeable fact that when first principles are shunned, evangelistic results are correspondingly meager. The men who are eminently successful in bringing souls to Christ are the men who preach a full gospel. Its facts, commands, and promises are all declared. Show me the man who eliminates first principles from his preaching, and I will show you one who has eliminated the baptistery from his church, so far as it is of any practical service -- nay, I will show you a man who is in doubt as to whether the disciples...have any distinctive message for the world."

That statement was taken by brother Hardeman and applied to his day in 1922. We can still apply it to our day, with only slight revision. Whereas some pulpits were void of the fundamentals then, now many are void of such. And it is amazingly prophetic that those who have abandoned first principles are correspondingly in doubt as to whether we have a distinctive message for the world. The Lord's church has always had a distinctive message for the world. The fundamentals never fail to make that distinction clear.Image

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