“Well, that makes it just a Law-Life.” No, it doesn’t. You . . . you try to keep this Law, and it crushes you, and you go to God for Grace. But you minimize the Law, and you think you can do it on your own. And you can go days without asking Him to help you obey or anything else (20:55+).
Folks, I can’t do this. This crushes me when I read this. I need divine grace to do this because I’ve got a heart that wants just to do the externals and get by. And so do you. But Jesus doesn’t let us off the hook with externals. He said, “You can’t just be like Pharisees and comply on the outside. I’ve defined what it’s like in the heart, and you can’t do that without Me.” And that’s exactly where He wants us (32:00+).
I found the sermon that pushed me over from apathetic, half-lidded shrugging to resolved action. You need to listen to it.
It was from the first week of February, 2006. And I couldn’t blog about it specifically at the time, of course, so here’s what I tried to say.
Preached in BJU campus Sunday Morning church on February 6, 2006 by Jim Berg, its title “Measuring Kingdom Usefulness” really says it all. Here’s the handout he references. Because so many “campus leaders” were absent for the Sunday morning service due to extension responsibilities, Berg repeated the sermon the next Thursday for an APC/PC meeting. That’s how significant he judged his message for campus life. This is the philosophy behind BJU student life at Bob Jones University.
This sermon is gravely in error.
Here’s what Berg argues in a nutshell:
- We cannot fulfill the Law. True.
- We cannot fulfill the Law in our own strength. Well. . . . not quite.
- But we must fulfill the Law. Well, outside of Christ. . . .
- So you can fulfill the Law because God’s grace gives you the strength to do so. NO!
If you’re incredulous at that reasoning, listen to it for yourself. That’s the message. And that. is. not. the. Gospel. At all. Christ is not even mentioned in that schema. Christ is not our Atonement here. He’s not the fulfillment of the Law. He simply communicates its requirements. And in this mistelling of the Gospel, Christ’s sacrifice is proof that we can do it!!–not our substitution for our doing it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Reformed, Dispensationalist, Wesleyan, Lutheran, or Anglican. Any believing Protestant would take issue with that message.
To ignore that error, you’d have either agree with it or dismiss it as unimportant. Fundamentalism has so dulled the discernment of its followers–myself included!!–by overwhelming them with the quantity of messages that they can’t hear the quality anymore. When I woke up and listened and then dug deeper, I realized that this was not the set of fundamentals I agreed to uphold. And I was just enough of a fundamentalist that I knew I had to speak up. . . even if it was within the organization that trained me to do so.