The faultless beings of the Reformed church

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:

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Having preached on the last half of Romans chapter 7 yesterday, I woke up troubled by how sure of ourselves we Reformed are today. We claim we are the only ones who truly believe in the doctrine of the Fall, Original Sin, total depravity, and the life of the Christian being a life of repentance, yet again and again we show the world we are entirely lacking in self-critical capacity.

I’ll be beginning an adult Sunday school series in September based on Jerry Bridges’ excellent Respectable Sins, which is basically an extended journey of self-examination, and turning over of the rocks to find the sins we’ve declared a cease-fire over. It will be the second time I’ve taught through it, and I think he does well to anchor all self-examination in the finished work of Christ.

It is only the person who knows and trusts that they are forgiven in Christ who will be able to look into their heart and start digging away at all the crud in there.

Maybe anecdotal, but I believe there is a correlation between an absence of assurance/loss of focus on Christ (weak theology of the Atonement), and an unwillingness to really get down to that self-examination process.

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Sadly, this sort of “we are the wise and wisdom will die with us” thinking is not restricted to the Reformed tradition.

I was brought up in the AoG, and my father was a pastor for them for many years. He brought me up to think that being a Pentecostal was the best way to be a Christian (not a view I hold now, to be clear). I eventually left when I realised that Pentecost not only had promised more than it delivered, it had promised more than it could deliver.

Fast forward to about 20 years ago, when I was getting my head round the Fundamentalist tradition, which actually has a fair amount in common with Pentecost (more shared in the family tree than either would admit to). And then I found myself coming across … all the same attitudes to other Christians and especially Christian traditions that I had seen beforehand. And to top it all off … some of the things I had disliked when I had come across them in the Pentecostal tradition as well.

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This is a sin I continually battle, self-righteousness, especially coming out of the pentecostal movement. I think this is a problem no matter what your denomination. We join a church because we think it is right, true to Scripture. And then we must fight pride due to our knowledge which puffs up. ‘Respectable Sins’ was very convicting to me and helpful to point out these sins in my life. I need to read it again. This was a good post and reminder for me to be diligent in examining myself. Search me, O God, and know my heart…lead me in the way everlasting.

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“How could I possibly serve other persons in unfeigned humility if their sins appear to me to be seriously worse than my own?” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, attrib.

“No sinner without a future, no saint without a past” - Oscar Wilde.

One of the more disconcerting things is having to publicly oppose men for sins when you know your own. This is the constant state of church officers and preachers. It’s why Calvin’s commenting that God could have had angels be our preachers is so helpful. Love,

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