The Question of Dignity
The "Excuses" of Worship


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I was reading through Joshua today and was struck by the ferocity of the impact that Aichan's sin had on Israel and his own family. Against the express wishes of God concerning the plunder left after Jericho fell, Aichan took a robe and a few bars of precious metals. The fallout was incredible.

God had just a few chapters earlier told Joshua that if the people did as God commanded, they were virtually invincible in their new home. Yet right after the big victory over Jericho, the Amorites of Ai are routing the Israelite army because one guy took forbidden plunder. Other people died because of the greed of one man.

But truth will out. God sorted out the "bad seed" and Aichan and his whole family wound up under a pile of rocks, their bodies and everything they owned then burned.

We take sin SO lightly. We have taken God's perspective on sin and warped it into an "oops, my bad" on our part. We do everything we can to act as if it's no big deal. But God HATES sin. And He HATES our "so what?" attitude on it.

That our pastors, teachers, and counselors gloss over this issue like it doesn't exist is criminal. No other thing is so responsible for the lack of power we see in our churches than the fact that we can't seem to get a handle on sin. When we pronounce forgiveness over sins for which there is no true repentance, then we are putting Bactine on cancer. When we fail to discipline people who just don't get it, we are putting band-aids on severed limbs.

A vast, huge, enormous problem and too many Christians just look the other way. We can thank our cross-less seeker-sensitive churches for this, too. Or should I say, "No thanks!"

(Do I get a little stirred up by this, or what?!)

Yes, we are weak because of sin, there is no doubt about that; however to castigate seeker-sensitive churches as the root of all evil is harsh and judgmental. Seeker-sensitive churches are imperfect, like ALL churches, a mix of good and bad. Churches of all stripes and types are guilty of overlooking or glossing over sin, offering "cheap grace" and forgiveness without repentance; but they are also preaching the gospel, doing works of mercy, being the Body of Christ. Like the individuals who make them up, churches are works in progress, and the most amazing thing is that God accomplishes his work in the world through these "earthen vessels." A little grace, friend. After all, who are we to judge another man's servant? What is not your cup of tea has brought life to multiplied thousands.


In the last twenty years of my church life, I've been a part of several different churches (and denominations) because I moved quite a bit. Not a single one of those churches was suffering a shortage of grace dispensing. On the other hand, several of them were very short of talking about repentance, sin, and the cross.

I've also seen what happens when seeker-sensitivity runs amok in a church. Or worse, how a church that changes its emphasis to be seeker-sensitive can run itself into the ground and wind up not really making disciples at all. The Gospel IS offensive to people and when you strip out the offense, what you get is possibly not even life-changing.

When you look at the NT, the message in almost every case started with "Repent...!" Today, we may not even get to that point in the message at all. It bothers me that we may not actually be making real disciples, but some weird hybrid thingy who is part alive and part dead still because we never got them to the foot of the cross, there to fully die and be fully reborn.

Unfortunately these guys have some ideas!

May I be so bold as to look at this verse in a different light? People today often come to church because they are hurting. They are looking to us to be the ones who care and have some answers for them. We often get so busy with other things to do the work that God has called us to do. That is to love people. We try to put a bandage on much more serious hurts of our people. To me it's more simple than the deep, profound's reaching out your hand like Jesus did.

Wow, Judy. So, so, true!

I experienced real repentance as the basis for my faith in Jesus Christ, and it was incredible. I think we can't be afraid of the subject since it was the first thing that Jesus preached.

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