You can’t become what I am by imitating what I do. At best, you’ll be an imposter. At worst, you’ll be a fool. In either case you’ll be a fraud. Neither can you become what I am by admiring what I am. You may be inspired or you may be disappointed, but observation and longing will effect no transformation.
So why is this the model for Christianity throughout so much of the contemporary church? Following Christ’s – or even a good church leader’s – example may result in charitable works, kind temperament and moral lifestyle, but those things do not equate to regeneration. Neither do they represent the chief end of Christ’s purpose in the life of the believer.
Behavior-based Christianity seeks to influence a sinner’s actions so as to demonstrate redemption by obedience. Here, repentance is seen as a precursor, rather than an effect, of regeneration. The result is altogether pharisaic: the believer must clean himself in order to approach Christ. The problem, of course, is that the whole of scripture – and Christ’s explicit teaching – demonstrates that there simply isn’t enough soap to make us clean enough to come to God. And if there was, then the cross itself was a galactic mistake.
Other times we assault the unbeliever’s intellect with all our clever Christian apologetics, attempting to satiate their doubts with archaeology, science and historical record. But after we’ve travailed the meandering maze of allegations and contradictions, we will come full circle to the core issue of human will: unbelievers reject God because they want to. As Paul Washer points out, the Bible makes no room for atheists – only God lovers and God haters. Read the rest of this entry »