Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio, who hosts the daily radio program, “Truth For Life,” preached from Acts 4 which records the imprisonment of John and Peter after the healing of crippled man in Jerusalem.
Begg noted that when speaking before church leaders, Peter “is not dealing in some abstract proposition. His evangelistic preaching is essentially a logical deduction from certain historical events. He is in this position on this day because Jesus is alive.”
That clarity of doctrine and purpose is “imperative if we are going to reach the coming generation with the gospel,” Begg said. Peter’s unapologetic statement “stands in marked contrast to a lot of the stuff that is burbling out of contemporary pulpits in America.”
The native Scotsman and Edinburgh pastor said he sometimes feels like “an old man watching the circus pass through town” when observing some contemporary worship services.
“I am committed to being a hip pastor,” he said, explaining that in his context “hip” meant serving with “humility, integrity and purity.”
Begg posed and then answered the question: “If American Christianity is not to collapse and dissolve in a morass of religious relativism, what is required?”
Believers must confess their departure from the clear message of the gospel, he said. Conviction to doctrinal truth, and the acceptance of persecution from the world also is required. Finally, the church must demonstrate compassion to others.
“People know they’re messed up,” Begg said. “It is the work of the Spirit of God to convict of sin, not you. But when those people are confronted by the depth of that, do they find mercy? Do they find compassion? Do they find guidance (from the church)?”