Error Can Be In Not Only What Is Preached,
But In What Is Not Preached
by Stuart DiNenno
We have all been trained to think of infidelity in the church in terms of heretical teachings and if we do not find that in a church, then we think its preaching must be faithful. People often use the analogy of a drink that is laced with poison to represent false religious doctrine that will damn those who receive it. They will say, “The doctrine in a church can be 95% truth but it’s the 5% of lies that will kill you.”
This is true but few realize that the omission of truth is just as deadly. I know of churches that will give you almost nothing but truth every time you listen to their sermons, and they strictly adhere to the biblically faithful doctrine expressed in the Westminster Standards in everything they teach. It is difficult to find anything erroneous in any of their messages. However, unconverted sinners could sit in these churches week after week, month after month, and year after year and never be confronted with the hard truths — the truths that must be proclaimed in order to bring life from the dead.
What I mean is this: the gospel is never delivered in the context of a confrontational message that thoroughly defines sin according to the law of God and presents it in an accusative way to those present in the congregation, and so it never causes the hearers to be profoundly convicted of their sins. The realities of human corruption also are not presented during gospel sermons in direct, second-person terms, if they are mentioned at all, and so those in attendance are not confronted with the depths of the depravity in their own hearts and never brought to truly recognize the utter hopelessness of their condition apart from Christ. Because of these shortcomings their gospel preaching does not bring men to a state of despair in themselves so that they cry out to God for mercy and it does not bring forth repentance in its hearers, and therefore it does not produce true spiritual conversion.