This is a step toward Christless Christianity.  Unfortunately we see it in many churches, televangelists, some megachurches and in popular culture.  Sin well, isn’t popular, and the ultimate consequence of sin, hell, even less so.  I guess that is why working with high-risk kids in a juvenile detention center can be so refreshing because for the most part kids in lock up know they are sinners.  Why?  Well they know they wouldn’t be in lock-up otherwise.  I’ll run into a few that make excuses, point to their past, and their dysfunction, playing the blame game.

Now I understand that many of the kids (and adults as well) have had to deal with a lot of crap in their lives.  Unfortunately this approach by the world (and now some churches) to address dysfunction, but not sin, avoids tacking the main thing.

Here’s the thing, for most people… you feel guilty because you are guilty.  The goal shouldn’t be self-esteem, but rather recognizing our utter helplessness – our spiritual poverty, (Matthew 5:3).  Our brokenness can be addressed on what Christ did on the cross, not by gaining self-esteem.  We need Christ’s righteousness because we lack our own, (2 Corinthians 5:21).  We need His forgiveness and grace because we can’t overcome our guilt any other way, (Ephesians 2:4-10).

Michael Horton in Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church quotes Pope Benedict XVI and I think he is spot on in his concern that the world is “losing the notion of sin.”

People who trust in themselves and in their own merits are, as it were, blinded by their own “I",” and their hearts harden in sin.  On the other hand, those who recognize themselves as weak and sinful entrust themselves to God, and from him obtain grace and forgiveness.

So true.

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