Take all this new interest in the social application of the Gospel, and the idea of going to live amongst the people and to talk politics and to enter into their social affairs and so on. . . . The very thing that is regarded as so new today has already been tried, and tried with great thoroughness in the early part of this century.The answer is that they were failures, they were proved to be failures . . . I have no hesitation in asserting that what was largely responsible for emptying the churches in Great Britain was that 'social gospel' preaching and the institutional church.The Church has been trying to preach morality and ethics without the Gospel as a basis; it has been preaching morality without godliness; and it simply does not work. It never has done, and it never will.
Lloyd Jones is not saying that the Gospel doesn't apply to, or have an impact on all of life, culture, society, politics, etc., when it is faithfully lived out. He writes, "My argument is that when the church performs her primary task, these other things invariably result from it." He's saying that the *local church* is not to concentrate on any of these things, or try to use any of these things, as a means of building the kingdom of God. He says that preaching is the primary means of kingdom building.
I would agree that while the preached Word is the primary means, the local church is to use the Word, prayer, and sacrament as the ordinary means of grace in its worship, discipleship, discipline, and mission.
What do you think?