I have been reading "Christless Christianity," a 2008 book by Michael Horton. I'm finding it to be very thought provoking, and it clarifies why a number of things about the church as I have experienced it have made me so uncomfortable. Horton argues that our preaching frequently omits the gospel (because we assume that everyone already knows all that) and substitutes "good advice." We spend our time telling people what they can and should do (works?) to make their lives or their world better, rather than focusing on what Jesus Christ has done for us. I found the following statements interesting. Horton wrote,
"As heretical as it sounds today, it is probably worth telling Americans that you don't need Jesus to have better families, finances, health, or even morality. Coming to the cross means repentance---not adding Jesus as a supporting character for an otherwise decent script, but throwing away the script in order to be written into God's drama. It is death and resurrection, not coaching and makeovers. When we try to fit God into our life movie, the plot is all wrong---and not just wrong, but trivial. When we are pulled out of our own drama and cast as characters in his unfolding plot, we become part of the greatest story ever told. It is through God's Word of judgment (law) and salvation (gospel) that we are transferred from our own pointless scripts and inserted into the grand narrative that revolves around Jesus Christ."
A couple of blogs back, I said that Jesus is the only point of our faith, not "Jesus AND something else." Horton fears that we have gone beyond "Jesus and something else" and that the church in North America views faith as "everything else and Jesus too if we want things really good." Is that what is passing for the Good News of our salvation in Jesus Christ? ---- that we are pretty much OK on our own, but we need to add Jesus to our lives so that we can be great? That's not the gospel! Do you know what the Good News is? Find out for yourself. Read your Bible.