By Marsha G. Witten
In latest global we're faced with a gospel of straightforward forgiveness and inexpensive grace. slightly have we spoken up of our offenses, then somebody reassures us that we're forgiven, don't fret approximately it.
Churches (and pastors) purchase into this new Theology since it is the type of factor that specializes in headcounts and minimizes friction. Smile, be at liberty, God loves you it doesn't matter what, so let's move have fun.
It sounds exaggerated, yet even the main trustworthy preacher reveals secular messages creeping into his or her sermons. We rush earlier the issues within the textual content and concentrate on the finishing. We put out of your mind that the Prodigal Son was once long gone decades sooner than he back domestic, or even then he needed to hit backside earlier than he used to be able to admit he was once wrong.
As I struggled via this ebook i discovered myself asking approximately my very own sermons. was once I final real to the textual content and nonetheless conveying a latest message? was once I permitting my listeners to spend time within the fight? Or was once I spoon feeding them a simple message they desired to pay attention?
Marsha Witten does an exceptional task in "All is Forgiven" in gaining knowledge of and addressing those concerns. i like to recommend it for all who're liable for preaching, making a choice on fabrics for educating Sunday institution and holiday Bible tuition, and who're leaders within the church.
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Additional info for All Is Forgiven: The Secular Message in American Protestantism
SB] Quite transparently, this speech is an attempt to evoke feelings of guilt on the part of listeners. If one can demonstrate that God has suffered so in order to fulfill his plan of salvation, the onus is placed on listeners to conform to God’s will: “We” made him suffer, and we continue to do so without our repentance. Especially in the context of diminished attention to the penalties for sin in these sermons, the construction of guilt plays a key motivational role in inspiring correct faith and behavior: It is perhaps the only remaining negative inducement.
No ascribed or achieved qualities of human beings can earn them special attention or support. As one speaker puts it: That is the gospel: God has come to find us. He requires no tests to pass—who could pass—and he has wiped clean the slate of the past. He holds nothing against any of us. [SB] But the nature of God’s love is such that it is not merely dispensed equally. An essential element in this category is the characterization of God as an extravagant lover of humankind. The term is used in the sense of its root Latin meaning: To be extravagant is to wander outside, overstep limits, exceed boundaries.
In this set of sermons, God is thoroughly democratic. He loves all regardless of merit and in the same way—freely and equally. No ascribed or achieved qualities of human beings can earn them special attention or support. As one speaker puts it: That is the gospel: God has come to find us. He requires no tests to pass—who could pass—and he has wiped clean the slate of the past. He holds nothing against any of us. [SB] But the nature of God’s love is such that it is not merely dispensed equally. An essential element in this category is the characterization of God as an extravagant lover of humankind.
All Is Forgiven: The Secular Message in American Protestantism by Marsha G. Witten