“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I received a flyer in the mail the other day, from an ostensibly conservative local Christian bookstore, and was struck by the advert for one of the books -- To quote the popular author -- "Contrary to what you may have heard in church, desire is the key to the Christian life"

Is he right? If desire is the key to the Christian Life, then it falls into the same bucket as a pagan life -- is not desire the key to a pagan's life? What about everyone else, isn't desire the basic motivation for all?

Western Christendom is rife with inane sayings like this -- we speak of faith and desire as if they are our goals, but both of these have an object -- we are to have faith IN Christ, our desire is to grow IN Christ. These terms without an object upon which to focus them are simply man-centered actions.

Now, I understand two things: (1) Questioning a wildly popular author's statement is bound to cause people to go into defense mode for their author, and (2) the comments should be taken in the light that the author is giving them.

However, being curious, I went out and read a portion of this author's book, and, like another of his books that I ALMOST made it through, this is based around us and OUR feelings, OUR desires, and only marginally concerned with God, although he uses a lot of phrases with 'religious words'. He also makes this statement -- "You've heard this teaching before -- sublimate your desires and replace them with obligation (sanctification). Would you be surprised to learn that Christ calls us to embrace desire, not to suppress it?"

The author says that the church has killed our desires, and has replaced it with moral obligation and called it sanctification. Is that our choice? We either are legalistic automatons, or truly alive people pursuing our desires? And of course, this author asserts, our desire will be to pursue God, right? -- Funny, that is not what Paul says -- In Romans 3 Paul makes it clear that we are not seeking God.

Also, what about 'dumping' that 'moral obligation'? Paul's Epistles are full of moral obligation -- what this author seems to have forgotten is that our desire, if we are truly regenerated, WILL be for that moral 'obligation'. Some of Paul's writing on this -- Ephesians 5; 1st Corinthians 6; Galatians 5.

This author is well-known as one who likes to promote the 'if it feels good, it must be right' psychobabble mentality. I was so unimpressed with the first book I read by him that I only made it 3/4 of the way through it. And that book had been recommended by a friend who I have (still) a lot of respect for!

It is precisely this type of pulp fiction that causes pastors to constantly be grappling with people who are mired in the muck of the therapeutic gospel, dealing with their 'hidden languages', 'woundedness', and 'pursuit of their manhood'. These people WILL NOT turn to, or listen to, the Scriptures on this -- they constantly get out their dog-eared books written by people who selectively quote the Word, whose appeal is blantantly to the basest nature of man.

Listen to Paul -- Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Over and over Paul says that we are to put off our old self and put on our new self that is being forged into the image of Christ. It seems that this author with his "Mortal Obligation" statement has overlooked what true regeneration is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of poison on the bookshelves of Christian book stores. The real tragedy is that most people who browse these stores don't know the difference.