Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Witty, or just stupid?

David Nelson is annoyed by silly — or worse — messages on church signs. After describing some other categories, he comes to some of the theologically problematic:
Finally, here are some signs I’ve seen recently that have obvious theological problems. It is troublesome that we could pack such theological garbage into such small sayings:
We’re too blessed to be depressed.

Never run faster than your guardian angel can fly.

Do your best and let Jesus do the rest.

God does what few men can do - forgets the sins of others.
Let me take these one by one, to be clear about what I mean.

We are too blessed to be depressed: Finding the grace of God in Christ does not assure you that you will not face struggles and, yes, even depression, in this life. Read the Psalter. I realize that some might like this little saying, and may walk around with smiles pasted on their faces as if there are no worries in this world. But they didn’t get that from Christ, and that is not the result of walking according to the Spirit. That is a fabrication that has no association with Christianity. So, please, write a self-help book, or perhaps a pop song, but don’t sell this as the gospel.

Never run faster than your guardian angel can fly: Does the Bible teach that we have a guardian angel? And do all angels have wings? And, if they do, would it be possible for me to outrun a flying angel? Hmm.

Do your best and let Jesus do the rest: A popular sentiment (and it rhymes too!), but it’s antithetical to the gospel, which clearly teaches there is nothing we do to help ourselves, and that our best is nothing more than filthy rags. And, if the point of this sign is about sanctification, then it is a confused theory of sanctification that somehow displaces the primacy of grace with human effort. Be very careful here.

God does what few men can do - forgets the sins of others. No, God does not. An omniscient God does not forget sins. The Bible nowhere teaches this and the idea is theologically incoherent. If God forgets sins, then He believes something false about those humans whose sins He forgets. And if He believes something false, then what god is He? Not the God of the Bible. Be very, very careful here. .... [more]
They Don’t Seek This Sign « Between The Times

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