A year ago, Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave a powerful and revealing message on the temptaion of Christ in Matthew 4. Here’s the crux of his message:
…satan does not fear Christianity. Satan ultimately has a power that is not found most importantly in moral decay or cultural chaos. His power is found in the authority to accuse – the power of accusation: the power of holding humanity captive through the fear of death and the certainty of judgment. Satan is not fearful of external conformity to rule, not even to external conformity to the rule of Christ – provided there is no cross. Satan does not mind family values – as long as what you ultimate value is the family. Satan does not mind social justice – as long as you see justice as most importantly social. Satan does not tremble at a Christian worldview. He will let you have a Christian worldview as long as your ultimate goal is viewing the world…Pastor, satan doesn’t mind if you preach on the decrees of God with fervor and passion every single week, provided that you do not ever preach the Gospel of the cross. Homeschooling mom, satan does not mind if you teach your children all the books of the Bible, and all the ten commandments, and all of the catechisms, provided that you do not teach them the Gospel of the bloody cross. He will let you, ministers of the Gospel, get what it is that you want – no matter what that is: sanctity of marriage, environmental protection, orphan care – all of these good and wonderful things. He will allow you to gain those things provided you do not preach, proclaim, and live in the power of a cross that cancels his power of condemnation. He so fears the Gospel of a Christ crucified and raised from the dead that he is willing to surrender his entire empire just to appease the threat of it.
Download the rest of the message here.
Check out Dr. Moore’s blog here.