We all know them. Those that were at one time part of the Church, believing in Christ, and for one reason or another, have now left. Dr. Rod Rosenbladt addresses this in his message, The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church.

Dr. Rosenbladt puts these people into two categories. Those who leave sad, and those who leave mad. Most of these people come to believe the gospel, but then something happens after that. Rod submits in his message that one of the largest reasons for this, is the confusion of Law and Gospel.

According to Dr. Rosenbladt when the third use of the law, (the guide to how the Christian life is to be lived) is not done carefully there is a confusion of the gospel. Many come to Christ, but then become frustrated that they can’t live up to the demands of the Christian life. There is a shift once they become Christians to their experience and living the ‘victorious’ Christian life, and little reminder of the gospel.

Is sola fide (faith alone) sufficient? That is the message that Dr. Rosenbadt believes has been lost in so many churches, that have become Christless, and gospelless. The preaching is full of how to live the Christian life with countless recipes on how to conquer sin. And a reminder of the gospel, that we are saved by Grace Alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone is a message that seems to have been lost.

He believes that many who have left the Church, are not angry with Jesus, but rather angry at the Church, and justifiably so.

Considering the current state of the American Evangelical Church, a wrong understanding of the gospel by so many church goers, and the Internet Monk’s prediction of the coming Evangelical Collapse, this is something we should all be thinking about.

8 comments
  1. It is amazing but we do get in our own way so often and with such ardor at times! A focus on Christ, on the gospel and a recognition that all are sinners, before and after coming to Him in faith and trust. With these maybe so many will not leave sad, mad or glad to be out of the church.

  2. Wow – interesting thoughts. I've had my own personal backlash against evangelical churches… I think some of that is experienced on a very personal level. Perhaps this is where some of the Emergent church movement is generating out of.

  3. So many Church movements, including the Emergent Church are ultimately a result of being reactionary. Churches founded on that will have a whole host of problems all their own.

  4. I agree with you Shane. I also think so many in Evangelical Churches do not have a clear understanding of the Gospel. So many Pastors are not doing a good job. Too many self help sermons, or what Dr. Rosenbladt calls recipes on how to conquer sin, and not enough Expository, Historical Redemptive preaching. Unfortunately this causes a view of works righteousness. “You're saved by Christ Alone. Now come along and I will show you how you now have to live. . .” Anyone who hears that message becomes hopeless as they begin to trust in themselves, and not in Christ Alone.

  5. Let me say up front that I am a Catholic, so read this with that in mind. I believe that there are true Christians in the protestant churches and there are true Christians in the Catholic Church……and I believe there are people who go through the motions in both, too. What do true (protestant) Christians and true (Catholic) Christians have in common? They believe with everything they have that God can transform them, make them NEW CREATIONS in Him. They submit to God's molding of them into this new individual for His holy purposes. We must love God with our WHOLE SELVES. One problem I see in the Catholic Church is that we are not taught forcefully enough the fact that we are all called to be saints. In protestant churches, I think the emphasis is all on the initial “saving” experience and there isn't enough after that to guide the Christian on what obedience really means. The Gospel is watered down too often in both faith traditions. All should submit themselves to God's holy will DAILY and let Him make of you what He will. Sometimes, this can cause much suffering on the part of the Christian, but Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him. He promised it would be hard. Both Catholics and protestants are averse to a hard life……….so people turn from the Cross and leave Christ to hang on Golgotha alone. He stands ready to embrace us with the peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray more people will come to know Him.

  6. Lisa, thanks for your comments.
    I agree with a lot of what you say. Let me say that too that two of my best friends are Catholics, and both are a constant encouragement to me in Christ.

    But knowing a lot about the differences in what we believe, I also must point something out. Historically as protestants one thing that sets us apart is something that came out of the reformation. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. Ultimately our obedience has no bearing on our salvation. This is something that I see as very clear in scripture also.

    So am I saying that we should go on sinning?? As the apostle Paul said “May it never be!”

    This is the point in which most protestants do not understand. But the Heidelberg Catechism does the best at explaining it. Guilt, Grace and Gratitude.

    First the Law, drives us to Christ, as He is our only hope for salvation.
    Second, we see the Grace (not any obedience of our own) alone through Christ that I spoke of earlier.
    Third, we live in gratitude to Him, out of love and Thankfulness for that which He has done for us. And ultimately, it is He that is at work in us to do good works, for His Glory.

    That is the quick version.

    I will end with the first question of the Heidelberg, as it always refreshes my soul:

    Q & A 1

    Q. What is your only comfort
    in life and in death?

    A. That I am not my own,^1
    but belong—
    body and soul,
    in life and in death—^2
    to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.^3

    He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,^4
    and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.^5
    He also watches over me in such a way^6
    that not a hair can fall from my head
    without the will of my Father in heaven:^7
    in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.^8

    Because I belong to him,
    Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
    assures me of eternal life^9
    and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
    from now on to live for him.^10

    ^1 1 Cor. 6:19-20
    ^2 Rom. 14:7-9
    ^3 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14
    ^4 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2
    ^5 John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11
    ^6 John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5
    ^7 Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18
    ^8 Rom. 8:28
    ^9 Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14
    ^10 Rom. 8:1-17

    Q & A 2

    Q. What must you know
    to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

    A. Three things:
    first, how great my sin and misery are;^1
    second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;^2
    third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.^3

    ^1 Rom. 3:9-10; 1 John 1:10
    ^2 John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43
    ^3 Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:9-10

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