Saturday, December 19, 2009

Michael Horton is not the gospel

This is an excerpt from Christless Christianity by Michael Horton. This is good stuff:

The question for us all is whether we believe the church is the place where the gospel is regularly preached and ratified to Christians as well as non-Christians. Like many Emergent Church leaders, Kimball invokes a famous line from Francis of Assisi that I also heard growing up in conservative evangelicalism: "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." Kimball goes on to say, "Our lives will preach better than anything we can say." (We encountered a nearly identical statement from Osteen in the previous chapter.) If so, then this is more bad news, not only because of the statistics we have already seen, which evidence no real difference between Christians and non-Christians, but because despite my best intentions, I am not an exemplary creature. The best examples and instruction-even the best doctrines-will not relieve me of the battle of indwelling sin until I draw my last breath. Find me on my best day-especially if you have access to my hidden motives, thoughts, and attitudes-and I will always provide fodder for the hypocrisy charge and will let down those who would become Christians because they think I and my fellow Christians are the gospel. I am a Christian not because I think I can walk in Jesus's footsteps but because he is the only one who can carry me. I am not the gospel; Jesus Christ alone is the gospel. His story saves me, not only bringing me justification but by baptizing me into his resurrection life. (Horton, Michael Scott. Christless Christianity the alternative gospel of the American church. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008. p117)

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