Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy Moralist or Sad Moralist?

I've read a ton of good books lately! It's far time I start putting some of them up on the blog. One I've been reading is Counsel from the Cross. It's really challenged me in just how gospel centered am I? In chapter six she opens with painting two different types of churches that produce two different type of people. I can say I've been both at one point in my life.

"Further, in a strangely convoluted desire to reach the unchurched, many churches have mimicked in their ministries the world's emphases on amusement. Skits, comic sermons, and featherweight vignette masquerade as truth, while the souls of "seekers" thirst for a drink of the living water and wonder if this is really all there is. We think it would be safe to say that many people who attend this kind of church may be categorized as Happy Moralists."

"On the other hand, there is also a vibrant through sober church that can be identified as serious and disdainful of the airier versions of church-lite. This church is truth-driven and assumes that there are serious realities, particularly about sin and obligation, that must be taken to heart and pondered by "the elect" We think it would be safe to assume that we'd find the Sad Moralist here."


She goes on to explain how even though different they are the same in one area. They both lack the understanding of the gospel and are missing certain aspects of applying the gospel.

"The Happy Moralist needs to be humbled by a clear view of his laxity and self-love. The Sad Moralist needs to be humbled by the discovery that even his self-righteousness and self-loathing are symptoms of a heart to proud to abandon it's self-reliance and surrender to the grace of Christ. And both also need to see themselves as loved and welcomed".

"There's another facet of the gospel that's missing... neither lives in the joy that is to be their strength. The Happy Moralist won't have the impetus to put down the remote and follow hard after God. The Sad Moralist will feel burdened by his sin and estranged from the God who commands joy at his presence. Rejoice? About What? Is this something else I need to feel guilty about? he might wonder."


Elyse then goes on to explain sanctification and what she means by Gospel Sanctification.

"Although all Christians want to grow in godliness many of us miss the truth that the gospel is as necessary to our sanctification as it was to our initial justification. Without the gospel drenching our soul in our union with Christ, the quest for moral improvement becomes just that: another quest for self-improvement doomed to futile failure or, worse, arrogant success. But in light of the gospel, because of all that Jesus has already done, sanctification becomes another sweet evidence of his grace working in us, making us more and more delighted by his abiding presence and less and less enamored with the world's enticements. Only the extravagant love shown us in the gospel has the power to draw us away from other loves."

This book is filled with rich Gospel truth. With chapter titles like "The Gospel and our emotions" and "The Gospel and our Relationships" it's a book that I am sure I will re-read and reference often. I love Elyse's mantra that I've heard at her conferences and read in her books "Remember what the gospel says about us: we are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe but we are also more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope."

1 comment:

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