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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Don't Want to Challenge the Preachers

I think preachers have a hard job.  They have their own lives, needs and sins to contend with, and then they take on a congregation.  But...when they are wrong, they are just as wrong as anyone else.  Especially when they are proclaiming their version of the Word of God from an exalted position of authority.

Last week I heard a preacher say that we go to church to find friends, not to find a friendly church.  AARRRGH!!!  I don't go to church to find friends or a friendly church.  I go to church to find God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, worship, and instruction in holy living.
I have made some friends at my church, but when I am not fed the word of God, when my morals and sins are not called into question, when I am not spurred to participate in the Life of Christ, I need to find another church.

I heard another preacher who spoke on forgiveness.  He emphasized the importance of grace in forgiveness.  He said we should not work to achieve forgiveness.  I agree.  But I think we, as Christians, do have a responsibility in receiving forgiveness.  We don't just cruise along with our minds and hearts in neutral.  We don't just go to the covered dish luncheons and sing in the choir and expect to be filled with the remarkable peace that comes with forgiveness.  We need to confess and repent.  We need to do it everyday and every week in every service.  We need to be conscious of the sin that blocks our access to God and also blocks his grace from raining down on us.

These are examples of an easy gospel.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it "cheap grace."  Jesus lived and died to procure for us an expensive, costly, even priceless forgiveness.  It is blood stained and ugly.  One scripture says that he was so marred that none should want him.  Oh, but how great is the price he paid.  How gleaming is the victory, how marvelous is the grace that made me free of sin and gave me the honor of calling him my Lord?