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Short Take 1: What is “moralistic preaching” and why is it a false gospel?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2020 7:00 pm

Short Take 1: What is “moralistic preaching” and why is it a false gospel?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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February 9, 2020 7:00 pm

Short Take from Is the “American Gospel” the true Gospel? Length 3:51

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Let's get straight to what you mentioned in this previous answer about moralistic preaching. Here's Matt Chandler, a pastor from, I believe, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, talking about this idea of moralistic preaching. In fact, I think the thing most common among unbelievers when they think about Christianity is they think about Christian moralism. What we believe about sex, what we believe about money, what we believe about them, the most common misperception about what Christianity is, is it's some sort of moral betterment program. And it is about being good. And that's what all religions are about anyway.

Be a good person. There's few things as damning and devastating to the human spirit than that message. We want to first of all say there's nothing wrong with preaching morality. We certainly don't want to preach the opposite, immorality. But moralistic preaching, or sometimes identified as moralism, is preaching the commands of Scripture, or the morals of Scripture, and nothing else. Just pretty much saying to people, you be a good person and God will love you for that. And while we do not intend it, that is not just a sub-Christian message, it's actually an anti-Christian message. Okay, it was Matt Chandler at the beginning and then another, I can't remember his name, who was interviewed there at the end, but talking about this issue of preaching moralism.

It's a personal betterment program. Brandon, explain that a bit more and how that has become very pervasive in the evangelical church today. Moralistic preaching is really preaching all the commands of Scripture. So you're going to hear about how you need to love more, serve more, what you should do or what you shouldn't do. That would be under the category of law.

There's this very important distinction that's helped me a lot. The distinction between law and gospel. So law would be do what you should do, the commands of God, and the gospel is done. That's the good news of what God has done for you, or his promises of what he will be doing. I experienced a lot of sermons where I wasn't hearing about Christ and his work, who Christ is.

It was really just those commands. And so there's this problem where if that's all a person is hearing, you're left with these two twin damning possibilities. If you hear these commands and you think that you haven't lived up to those commands, you're gonna fall into despair.

But if you think that you have, it's gonna make you prideful. So on one hand, you're either self-righteous, or on the other hand, you're in complete despair. The gospel is coming in between those and saying, you haven't been good. Actually, the standard for good is to be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

And just hearing that alone leaves you in despair. But the good news is going to say that, look, Jesus obeyed the law in your place. He lived a sinless life, and he died a substitutionary death in your place, took the penalty that you deserve for your sin, and paid that himself. What you should be hearing in a sermon is a balance of law and gospel. So you want to hear about what Christ has done. And in response to that, therefore you obey. Here are the commands. Now you're obeying out of a love and gratitude for what Christ has done for you. And you're not just given a be good message or a be like insert Bible character message.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-22 17:02:18 / 2024-03-22 17:04:07 / 2

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