Monday, June 1, 2009

Moralism vs. The Gospel

Tullian Tchividjian (via Zach Nielsen):
In preparation for my sermon this past Sunday, I re-read the opening lines of Michael Horton’s excellent book Christless Christianity (an absolute must-read for anyone bold enough to handle some right-on-the-money constructive criticism). He writes:
What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastored), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at eachother. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday…where Christ is not preached.

As Horton points out in his book, there is a great difference between moralism and the gospel. We must remember that Christ came first not to make bad people good but to make dead people live. If we forget that, our Christianity will turn out to be Christless.


Louie said...

OH - very, very good!

Right now I'm preaching through Colossians and am LOVING how it keeps centering around Jesus! Our great redeemer, savior and Lord!

Spike said...

Horton's lecture series "Christless Christianity" that the book is based on is fantastic. His approach to worship is spot-on, and may be the silver bullet that so many churches need when they can't figure out why their otherwise 'perfect' services are so ineffective when it comes to spiritual growth.

Ken Stoll said...

Barnhouse was right on.

As you say, Christ didn't come to make bad people good but to make dead people alive. Jesus didn't suffer and die to make us nice guys.

I like something I heard Driscoll say some time back,"Furthermore, religion says that the world is about 'good people' and 'bad people'--and of course, 'we're good' and 'they're bad'--whoever 'they' are? If 'we' are a Democrat and 'they' are a Republican--Republicans are 'bad'. If 'we' are a Republican and 'they' are a Democrat--Democrats are bad. If we are right-handed--left-handed, Mac--PC, Chevy--Ford, smart--short bus... doesn't matter. Whatever we are is good, everybody else is bad. That's how religion works. The gospel does not see people in terms of 'good' and 'bad'--the gospel sees people in terms of repentant and unrepentant.'

Keep it front and center bro.