Thursday, February 15, 2007

Therapeutic Theology: Part 3

What Should We Do: Teach Sound Doctrine (continued)

The Doctrine of Sin (Includes the Doctrine of Man)

"Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies and false doctrines of the present day... I believe that one of the chief wants of the church in the nineteenth century has been, and is, a clearer, fuller, teaching about sin." - J.C. Ryle, Holiness

"Christianity doesn't make sense without sin. If we are not sinners, turned away from God, then there was no reason for God to become a man, and no reason for Him to die. Our slavery to sin is the thing that Christ came to free us from. That is the most fundamental Christian belief. If follows that if you have no consciousness of
sin, you simply won't be able to see the point of Christianity... Now it is possible to create a climate in which people have very little sense of sin and therefore, little chance of comprehending what Christianity is all about. We know it is possible because that is the climate that exists today." - William Kirk Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction: The Failure of Modern Psychology

"The subject of sin is vital knowledge. To say that our first need in life is to learn about sin may sound strange, but in the sense intended it is profoundly true. If you have not learned about sin, you cannot understand yourself, or your fellow-men, or the world you live in, or the Christian faith. And you will not be able to make head or tail of the Bible. For the Bible is an exposition of God's answer to the problem of human sin, and unless you have that problem clearly before you, you will keep missing the point of what it says. Apart from the first two chapters of Genesis, which set the stage, the real subject of every chapter of the Bible is what God does about our sins. Lose sight of this theme, and you will lose your way in the Bible at once. With that, the love of God, the meaning of salvation, and the message of the gospel, will all become closed books to you; you may still talk of these things, but you will no longer know what you are talking about. It is clear, therefore, that we need to fix in our minds what our ancestors would have called 'clear views of sin.'" - J.I. Packer, God's Words
a. A clear view of sin is necessary and critical for understanding and appreciating justification.
"The plain truth is that a right knowledge of sin lies at the root of all saving Christianity. Without it such doctrines as justification, conversion, sanctification, are `words and names' which convey no meaning to the mind." - J.C. Ryle, Holiness

[The greatest need we all have isn't one we naturally are aware of or normally feel.]

"In today's world there is little emphasis on the biblical doctrine of sin... But a person with a shallow sense of sin and of the wrath of God against our sin will neither feel the need for nor understand the biblical doctrine of
justification." - Hoekema, Saved by Grace

"It must even be said that our evangelical emphasis on the atonement is dangerous if we come to it too quickly. We learn to appreciate the access to God which Christ has won for us only after we have first seen God's inaccessibility to sinners. We can cry `Hallelujah' with authenticity only after we have first cried, `Woe is me, for I am lost.'" - John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ

"It is partly because sin does not provoke our own wrath that we do not believe that sin provokes the wrath of God." - John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ

[It is only when we are aware of wrath that we appreciate grace. To appreciate grace one must understand the seriousness of sin and be convinced he is worthy of wrath and incapable of altering this condition apart form faith in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ.Ignorance of this is why so many are insecure and unsure of God's love. And the fact that our teaching about self-esteem has replaced the doctrine of sin today.
(1) The proponents of self-esteem often have a very superficial view of sin.
(2) The result is that one is misled into thinking that Christ's death is primarily a manifestation of our value to and before God.
(3) We were worthy, but only of His wrath.]

"The cross reveals the depth of our sin, not the height of our worth before God." - Michael Scott Horton, Power Religion: The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church?

"I have often heard it said, `If I had been the only person on the earth, Jesus would still have died for me.' Although our Lord could have given His life for just one person, it most certainly would not have been because that person was so valuable, but because God was so gracious. Such an occurrence should hardly, therefore, be regarded as a source of pride or self-esteem. For me to argue that Jesus would have died for me if I were the only person on the earth simply indicates that my sins alone, without the rest of you contributing your share, were sufficient to demand the severe punishment Jesus Christ vicariously assumed in my place. When faced with that reality, we ought to weep for the selfless sacrifice of our Lord instead of finding in it one more opportunity for feeling good about ourselves." - Michael Scott Horton, Power Religion: The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church?

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