Sunday, June 10, 2007

Men of Integrity - most important thing about Christianity?

Consider the following congregational announcement:

Dear Men of Congregation X:

Have you considered what following Jesus would have been like, being around him and hearing him talk about men and their money, their careers, their families. Thankfully we have God’s Word so we can hear these things in our generation.

On date we will hold a seminar for men at Congregation X, an inspiring study called “A man of His Word: Calling Men to Integrity and Leadership.” We will be studying principles concerning eight aspects of most men’s lives: your relationship to Christ, your wife, children, church, career, money, the marketplace and your mission.

How sad for the men of this congregation. The do not understand the Gospel any more because they are constantly served such sanctification teaching. The purpose of this study is to teach you to behave and give you 8 rules for happy living. That sort of analysis was so typical of the sermons of the Rationalistic period (1800s). There is no focus on Christ here. It is all a focus on self. How can you be like Jesus? Well, do we have to ask whether Jesus, if present in the same way now, would be teaching us about money, careers and families? No, instead, it would be focused on salvation. Most of the Biblical examples that might be cited to support teaching on these subjects is really teaching us about salvation. Someone once told me that teaching about sanctification is on every page in the Bible so we have to be constantly teaching that (and consequently not teaching justification) but I don't buy it. Salvation and Jesus Christ is on every page. What are we doing, however, when we take those weak in the faith (whoever is not perfect) and teach them as above instead of about their sin and the salvation that Christ delivers? It is a very, very bad thing.


For more on this organization, see

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What is needed instead of sanctification preaching...

A quote from J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith?, pp. 141-142, 1925

A new and more powerful proclamation of law is perhaps the most pressing need of the hour; men would have little difficulty with the gospel if they had only learned the lesson of the law. As it is, they are turning aside from the Christian pathway; they are turning to the village of Morality, and to the house of Mr. Legality, who is reported to be very skillful in relieving men of their burdens.
... 'Making Christ Master' in the life, putting into practice 'the principles of Christ' by one's own efforts...these are merely new ways of earning salvation by one's obedience to God's commands. And they are undertaken because of a lack view of what those commands actually are. So it always is: a low view of the law always brings legalism; a high view of the law makes a man a seeker after grace. Pray God that the high view may again prevail.

As heard on an old recording of the White Horse Inn radio show I was listening to today on the way to the Free Lutheran Conference.