Saturday, March 18, 2006

Avoiding the “Two Thieves” part 3

Here is more application of the metaphor of the two thieves from the Web site of Sanctuary Church in Seattle (reformatted slightly):

Moralism tells us to control our passions out of fear of punishment. This is a volition-based approach.
Liberalism tells us to express ourselves and find out what is right for us. This is an emotion-based approach.
The gospel tells us that the free, perpetual grace of God "teaches" us to "say no" to our passions (Titus 2:13) if we listen to it. This is a whole-person based approach, starting with the truth descending into the heart.
Ministry in the world:
Moralistic religion will insist on converting others to their faith and church, but will ignore social needs of the broader community.
Liberalism tends to emphasize only amelioration of social conditions and minimize the need for repentance and conversion.
The gospel leads to love, which in turn moves us to give our neighbor whatever is needed--conversion or a cup of cold water: evangelism and social concern.
Moralism leads to a dour and somber worship which may be long on dignity but short on joy.
Liberalism leads to a shallow understanding of "acceptance" without a sense of God's holiness and can lead to frothy or casual worship. (A sense of neither God's love nor his holiness leads to a worship service that feels like a committee meeting.)
But the gospel leads us to see that God is both transcendent yet immanent. His immanence makes his transcendence comforting, while his transcendence makes his immanence amazing. The gospel leads to both awe and intimacy in worship, for the Holy One is now our Father.
Pastor Rod

“Helping you become the person God created you to be”

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