Archives For Legalism

Why is it we feel we must portray a model of perfection as Christians?

For as long as I can remember, the stereotypical Christian was one who cleaned up well and always answered the “How are you Doing?” question with positive enthusiasm.

Do we present a church which has arrived and is all together, or one filled with people on the journey of figuring it out?

Donald Miller, in his refreshingly candid book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy says,

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

A photo by Keith Wickramasekara. unsplash.com/photos/C-6TaN2fxK8

Sometimes it is these imperfections which bring beauty.

Miller would imply Christianity, at is core,  is an admission of weakness. We seem to grasp this as a way to enter the door of faith.

Gospel Versus Religion

October 6, 2015

I’m teaching Galatians this week in Cape Town. In my preparation, I came across a comparison floating around the internet of the gospel versus religion by Tim Keller.

I thought it was worth sharing with you all here at NoSuperHeroes.com.

It is worth chewing on, searching our hearts for the subtle differences which can creep into our lives.

Enjoy!

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Below is a very insightful comparison between “religion” and “the gospel” drawn from the sermons of Tim Keller (Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan). Tim does a remarkable job of probing hearts and revealing how easily we slip into self-dependence mode. As I’ve been saying each Sunday, real slavery according to the Bible is self-reliance. So, read the comparison list below with humility and care. It will do your soul good. 

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.

THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

I hate checklists for spiritual growth.

They lead towards a works orientation and a focus on being performance-based.

When a recent church service message started with a “Checklist for Spiritual Zeal” I was concerned.

6 commands from Ephesians 5 were restated as questions.

Each one had an emphasis on not having a “hint” of such and such bad thing and of “never” acting another way. It was a list of do’s and don’ts which were totally and completely unrealistic.

When “never’s and always” are included for spiritual behavior, my legalism alarm begins to ring.

“So how are you doing?”, asked the speaker.

The church expected to be hammered into submission and guilt.

What followed next shocked me.

He went on to overview chapters 1-3 saying that all these commands are a response to what God has done.

Gracious Disagreement

February 21, 2015

The issue is not whether I agree with someone but rather how I treat someone with whom I profoundly disagree. We Christians are called to use the “weapons of grace”, which means treating even our opponents with love and respect.”
– Philip Yancey from Vanishing Grace

Philip Yancey, in his new book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?,  shares a Barna survey regarding the way Christians are viewed. In 1996, 85 percent of Americans who had no religious commitment viewed Christianity favorably. This number has dipped in recent years to a mere 16 percent in 2009.

Yancey offers this question to the church, and even more to us as leaders:

“As one who has drunk deeply of grace, I want to offer it to a world adrift. How can we communicate truly good news to a culture running away from it?”

He offers the following thought:

Hyper-Grace

February 4, 2015

We’ve all heard stories of people doing foolish things in the name of grace.

This has led to a debate in the church which has been labeled Hyper-Grace. A student asked me some time ago if I believed in this teaching. My response was, “I have no idea but I should learn what it is.”

To educate myself, I picked up two books. The first was Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message by Dr. Michael Brown. Dr. Brown shares stories of people hearing more swear words and “F-bombs” in this grace movement than anywhere else. When they were confronted, the foul-mouthed Christians declared it legalism, ignoring any input.

In his book he shares a number of concerns with the modern grace message, including several topics we’ve discussed here at NoSuperHeroes.