On the Plains of Moab Blog
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October 4, 2012, 9:17 AM

1+1=The Gospel

Please pardon the soap box here.  I felt that there were a few things that I needed to say in conclusion to the two sermons preached in the previous two weeks.

I do not write this because of any blowback from Sunday.  Quite to the contrary, the response has generally been very positive and kind.  I write because I want to make sure, before I move on to the next sermon series, that I clarify some important points that I want to define the whole endeavor.

First of all, I want to underscore the importance of living out the Christian life in grace, compassion and forgiveness.  We know that loving our neighbors as ourselves is one of the marks that serves as a summary for all of Scripture.  We must balance behavior and belief together so that they sing a beautiful song with our lives, both faithful and godly.  This is why I want to suggest to you that you must read both sermons together:  "Can't Be Good; Be Good Anyway" (Sept. 23) AND "Here I Stand" (Sept. 30).  Can't have one without the other.

Secondly, I did not in anyway intend that my firm words in this past Sunday's sermon to be construed as meaning that the Presbyterian Church (USA) teaches that there is no God or that we must throw away our Bibles.  As I mentioned in the sermon, "Let me state at the outset that this is not about Good Guys vs. Bad Guys.  Us vs. Them.  Christian vs. Non-Christian.  This is about attending to the seriousness of Paul's words we heard a few moments ago.  He said. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.... (1 Cor. 15:3-4 ESV).  Do we believe that?  Do we cherish that?  Every Sunday at communion we hear these words, For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you.... (1 Cor. 11:23 ESV).  What we receive from the Lord -- his Word -- is what we take forward faithfully.  Are we willing to do that?"

My words were intended as a call to a serious and sober critique of where we are as a Church.  As I said of Luther, and which I believe of my own Presbyterian Church, it is "understood that the Church, while filled with fine, well-meaning people desiring to follow Jesus Christ, nevertheless, [has] gone off the track....The Church seem[s] fueled by imagination and innovation rather than the will of God expressed in Scripture."

Thirdly, I want to offer an opportunity in the Connections Sunday School class over the next three Sundays, an opportunity to raise questions and concerns about the issues before us.  This is a time of listening and praying and talking.  I invite you to join us for this discussion.  This is an important matter and we need all of our voices weighing in.

I say again to you, what we believe is important.  How we behave is important. 

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