Moral Effort or Grace?
There is a brief health update at the end of this message.
Certainly one of the distinctives of the Christian faith is Jesus' claim to be "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," the only way to the Father (John 14:6). Do our words and practices of Christian worship present and reinforce this statement of the exclusivity of the gospel of grace, or are we tempted to present Christ as a very good option--one among many? Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from Tim Keller's book THE REASON FOR GOD: BELIEF IN AN AGE OF SKEPTICISM. Here the author attempts to present a persuasive argument for biblical faith.
MORAL EFFORT OR GRACE?
Christianity teaches that our main problem is sin. What then is the solution? Even if you accept the Christian diagnosis of the problem, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason why one must look only to Christianity for the solution. You may say, "Fine, I understand that if you build your identity on anything but God, it leads to breakdown. Why must the solution be Jesus and Christianity? Why can't some other religion do as well, or just my own personal faith in God?"
The answer to that is that there is a profound and fundamental difference between the way that other religions tell us to seek salvation and the way described in the gospel of Jesus. All other major faiths have founders who are teachers that show the way to salvation. Only Jesus claimed to actually BE the way of salvation himself. This difference is so great that, even though Christianity can certainly be called a religion in the broader sense, for the purposes of discussion we will use the term "religion" in this chapter to refer to "salvation through moral effort" and "gospel" to refer to "salvation through grace."
--Timothy Keller, THE REASON FOR GOD: BELIEF IN AN AGE OF SKEPTICISM. New York: Dutton/Penquin Group, 2008, pp. 174-75. ISBN-13: 978-0-525-95049-3. Highly recommended.
AUDIO SERMON ON WORSHIP: A free Tim Keller sermon on worship (based on Psalm 95) is found at http://tinyurl.com/sbts-icw-keller-Psalm95
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, RECOVERING CANCER PATIENT
Dear Praying Friends,
There are longer journal entries and pictures at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam . We are waiting patiently (and prayerfully) for the next PET scan, now scheduled for November 18.
Thanks for your friendship, interest, and faithful prayers to our merciful God.
In His care,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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