Chris Gordon

Secret Sin is Never a Secret

There is not a single sin when it comes to the holiness of God that, done in isolation, doesn’t hurt others. Most importantly, all sin originating from the human heart is an affront to God’s holy and righteous character. The problem with secret sin is its sheer power over our lives.

Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (Psalm 19:13-14)

There is nothing secret about secret sin when it comes to the all-seeing eyes of the Lord. The Scriptures are full of warnings against committing secret sin, thinking that private actions are not that serious or that they hurt no one else. One of the most distressing accounts in the Bible is the sin of Achan. In his heart he coveted and stole a beautiful Babylonian garment that God had forbidden him to take. The account is scary. No one knew about it, and Achan assumed he was getting away with what seemed to be a private matter as he buried Jericho’s plunder in the earth.
Achan’s secret sin made all of Israel liable to God’s judgment.
But God’s omniscient eyes saw everything and he would not advance Israel forward in the conquest of Canaan until the sin was dealt with. Yes, in a painful exposure, God held all of Israel accountable for the sin of Achan as he pulled the secret sins of his heart out for everyone to see and then exercised a righteous judgment. We shouldn’t miss this point, Achan’s secret sin made all of Israel liable to God’s judgment. Does anyone still think our private sin causes no one else harm, as we hear today?
The story of Achan is meant to trouble us, for who doesn’t have secret sin in their lives? It is meant for the reader to ask who can stand before the omniscient eyes of the Lord. Who has not coveted in his heart? Who refuses to forgive, from the heart? Who has not made a covenant with their eyes to look upon no worthless thing? Who is among us who has clean hands and a pure heart?
When God’s says, “Be sure your sin will find you out,” he is telling us that he will not allow his children to continue in willful, blatant, secret sin. And when Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, he expressed that though their outward actions might receive the praise of people, “God knows their hearts.” This is a great problem for everyone.
The problem with secret sin is its sheer power over our lives.
The effect of Achan’s exposure must have caused great fear for Israel that day.
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10 Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Church to Attend

People have six days to be entertained, but the seventh day is a day of rest from worldly amusements and a time to seriously worship the risen Christ. If the church one is attending is theater-driven, tickling people’s ears with what they want to hear while using the world’s methods in an attempt toward relevancy, then the worship of the Lord is compromised with worldliness. Every Sunday churchgoers should shake off the worldly desire to be entertained and enter the holy gathering of the saints with the desire to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth in the beauty of Christ’s holiness.

The following guide is designed to help churchgoers with discernment as to whether they are attending church for the right reasons, and to help with discernment in choosing a faithful church to attend.
Personal Motivations
1. Sentimentalism should never overrule truth.
When it comes to church life, people are easily given to sentimentalism rather than to the truth. There may be a variety of reasons for this: sentimental attachment to a building, longstanding family representation in a particular church, pride in a certain denomination, etc. Doctrinal integrity often takes a back seat to these kinds of sentimental attractions. In these scenarios, people can easily honor their traditions more than the Lord.
2. The church should not be a product for consumption.
People approach a prospective church like consumers: What kind of programs does the church offer? What is the facility like? Does the pastor make me feel comfortable? How did the people make me feel? What people like and what they actually need are often radically different things. The church is established by Christ as a place to help the needy in their struggle against sin to receive mercy and the forgiveness of sins through the message of the gospel.
3. Your children should not determine the choice of a church.
We live in a day of the cult of the child. The home today is built around children in all ages of development with a neglect of proper discipline. This has devastating effects upon church life. Undiscerning parents are prone to listen to their child’s wants rather than to actively nurture their children by leading them in what they need. As peer pressure grows, a youth may complain that sermons are too long, the service is boring, or the views are too restrictive, and undiscerning parents often honor their young people more than the Lord as they base their church attendance on what the young person likes.
This has resulted in the practice of children’s church and youth centers, along with other practices that remove children/youth from the worship service. The consequences of this are devastating upon church life. We are raising an entire generation of children/young people who are not being trained to listen to sermons or worship the Lord together with God’s people. The long term fruits of this show in increased antipathy to anything formal or organized when it comes to worship, and an unwillingness to attend church. This is a prevalent reason as to why scores of young adults no longer attend Christian worship.
4. Style preference should not be neutral.
Often people base church attendance on stylistic preference, often with regard to music. The Bible never presents worship as a matter of personal taste or style. Self-imposed worship is greatly condemned in the Bible (see Col. 2), Christians, therefore, should give great care that worship conforms to God’s Word. Our music must conform to his truth, our liturgies should be filled with his Word, and the sermons should be delivered in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
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Christmas Day Worship in America

When Christmas lands on a Sunday, I often think that a great test is set before those who claim to follow Christ. Who and what are they really worshipping? Family? Sentimentality? People need to think beyond the mere fact of the birth of Christ to what his work accomplishes and where we are led in response.

Every year there is some new controversy over the celebration of Christmas. Of particular interest is the controversy that broke out this year in Dedham, MA over the local library’s decision to not set up a Christmas tree. The decision was made in response to the claim that “people were made uncomfortable last year looking at it.” An intense debate followed and many Christians protested against its cancellation expressing that “the Christmas tree is the symbol of Christianity.” As a result of the public outcry, the save the Christmas tree campaign prevailed and the Dedham library has now installed their annual Christmas tree.
Of Trees or Worship Services?
In all of this, we should not miss a much quieter cancellation that has not yet made it to Fox news. As Christmas this year falls on a Sunday, churches have announced that they are canceling worship on Sunday to accommodate those who want to be with their families. Kevin DeYoung has responded. But then, surprisingly, over at the Gospel Coalition, Fletcher Lang has written an article in response to DeYoung justifying the canceling of worship on Sunday due to Christmas celebration logistical challenges.
With a remarkable line of reasoning, Fletcher attempts to support the canceling of Sabbath worship (as required in the fourth commandment as it has been historically received across denominational lines), for the sake of difficulty and numbers. “ The problem is around 80 percent of our church travels for Christmas…We need to put out chairs, set up sound equipment, and place signs outside. While we have less work to do than many church plants, there’s still a considerable amount of setup required.”
Are these reasons legitimate? And why should we not make application here to Jesus’ warning about making the commandment of God of no effect for the sake of our tradition? Is the fourth commandment really a thing indifferent, as Fletcher suggests, by citing Romans 14 and the celebration of days? Does Sabbath worship all the sudden become a neutral issue only when it coincides with tradition, culture, and difficulty?
It might be helpful for the reader to know that when the Synod of Dordrecht met in 1618-19, they had a debate about challenges to public gathering for worship on the Lord’s Day. The consensus at the Synod was that even if the minister and his family are the only ones in attendance, the second service itself shall still be called on the Lord’s Day because the public gathering of the people to worship is not a neutral proposal of God’s Word.
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Two Gardens, Two Adams, and the Forgiveness of Your Sins

All of your personal sins, the sin of Adam and the condemnation that you and I deserve, Jesus carried on his shoulders, being led away as a sheep to the slaughter (see Isa. 53) as he releases you, dear believer, forever, forgiving your sins and securing a place for you in glory. As we celebrate the passion and suffering of Jesus, leading to his glorious resurrection, meditate on the glorious truth of Jesus in your place.

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Rom. 5:19).

One of the more important contrasts in the Bible is between the first Adam in the original garden of Eden, and the last Adam, Jesus Christ, who came as God’s gift to to the world to save people from their sins. This great contrast helps us to understand that what Adam lost, Christ has regained—and more. The most vivid of these contrasts in shown to us in the arrest of Jesus in John’s gospel as Jesus purposefully steps into our place of judgment.
Two Gardens
The Bible presents Jesus Christ as the last Adam and promised savior of his people to come and regain, in our place, perfectly, what the first Adam lost. This being so, we shouldn’t be surprised that a garden scene is described in the Bible before the penalty of death is executed by the last Adam.
In John 18:1-11, a great contrast is drawn between the two garden scenes of the first and last Adam. John begins by telling us that Jesus went out over the Brook Kidron where there was a garden which he and his disciples entered. That John doesn’t mention Gethsemane is a purposeful omission to let the single word “garden” captivate the reader. What kind of garden was this?
The first man Adam lost everything in the original garden.
When we think of a garden, we think of a beautiful place of plants, shady trees, and that which is pleasant. John’s mention of Kidron, however, should not go unnoticed. Throughout the Old Testament Kidron was known, particularly by the designation of Jeremiah, as a place of dead bodies and ashes. Jeremiah 31:40 states,

“The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord.”

The valley of dead bones, death and ashes was a place consecrated by the Lord for precisely what John 18 describes.
The first man Adam lost everything in the original garden. The garden was a place of beauty and peace. In was in this garden, however, that the crown of God’s creation, made in his image ,was seduced away into rebellion and ruin. God said to Adam,

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)

That’s exactly what happened: the garden became a place of exile and death.
The first Adam hid from God’s judgment.
To keep with the contrast in John, the reader should be reminded that the original garden scene came with a day of reckoning. Genesis 3:8 describes God coming into the garden in the “cool of the day.” This has been one of the most misunderstood verses in all of the Bible. God was not taking a casual stroll to enjoy the breeze, only to discover the half-eaten piece of fruit in the hand of Adam. Genesis 3:8 describes the final Day of Judgment in the original garden. Adam heard the sound of God’s glory coming forth in the “spirit” (ruach) of [judgment] day. What did Adam do? He ran as fast as he could the other way and hid.
Fast forward to John 18, and we have the same scene. John presents the last Adam as crossing over the valley in the shadow of death for us, into the place of dead bodies and ashes. Jesus is standing in our place to pick up the pieces where the first Adam once fell. The whole thing is meant to recall the first garden scene, provoking the question: What would have happened had God unleashed the fury of his wrath in full in the original garden and not planned a covenant of grace?
The sad story of the human race would end in eternal judgment apart from God’s grace.
The original garden scene in Genesis ended with mercy; God shed blood to cover Adam’s sin in anticipation of the last Adam to come. But we do have some idea of what would have been like had God decided to judge Adam and his posterity without mercy in the original garden.
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Girolamo Zanchi on Sin in the Life of the Believer

Zanchi’s comments on the violent uprisings of fallen desire should be a great help to Christians who find themselves perplexed over how easily they can stumble into sin. How many believers have been completely overcome with guilt after giving in to sin, and upon becoming overwhelmed by their sin and the shame that follows, that they question how they could be believers to begin with if they could commit sin so easily? While he makes clear that no one is excused for their sin when these violent desires overwhelm us, the true believer is immediately led to repentance and turning away from sin, and this is a blessing of faith.

Sin is greatly confusing for believers. The apostle captures this in Romans 7 when he says “the things that I will not, these I do.” How could the apostle seem to speak in such a defeated manner with regard to sin in a believer who has been given the Spirit and the grace of repentance? And if such a double-minded “believer” could be conceived of in this life, is assurance of salvation possible?
To answer these questions, some have tried to explain Romans 7 as speaking of a man before conversion since a “defeatist” view of sin in the believer seems entirely out of accord with the New Testament teaching on regeneration and holiness. This answer would seem to take away any notion that a believer might so willingly enter into sin as a new creation.
Answers to this dilemma, however, have not always been helpful for Christians in their struggle against sin. There have been some who suggest that when the believer sins, God turns in anger against him and the impression is given that without the requisite degree of sanctification, salvation may absent or at worst, lost.
When John Owen wrote his famous treatise on The Mortification of Sin of the Life of Believers, he was pastorally concerned to help Christians with this dilemma. He began with a case of conscience:
Suppose a man to be a true believer, and yet finds in himself a powerful indwelling sin, leading him captive to the law of it, consuming his heart with trouble, perplexing his thoughts, weakening his soul as to the duties of communion with God, disquieting him as to peace, and perhaps defiling his conscience, and exposing him to hardening through the deceitfulness of sin—what shall he do?
Owen provides many helpful and practical ways for the believer to mortify sin in his life. But of first importance is to ask how the Scriptures help the believer to understand what is happening in his whole man with regard to his struggle against sin.
What believers need most in this struggle is to appreciate the way in which the Scriptures distinguish their struggle from that of unbelievers. When this is appreciated, a certain release is provided that untangles the believer from a servile fear of God toward a filial fear that actually promotes true assurance of faith and lasting mortification of sin.
Help From Girolamo Zanchi
In his great work Speculum Christianum or The Christian Survey of Conscience, Girolamo Zanchi addressed at length the Reformed view of Romans 7 as the regenerate man’s struggle against sin, a view he assures was held by all the learned divines. He makes a crucial distinction that in the regenerate is a double-man. The Christian, he says, has a fundamental quality that is different from that of the unbeliever. When a regenerate man sins, “he sins only in the flesh and not with the whole will and the whole heart.”
Zanchi claims to have been attacked by Roman writers and even some Protestant divines for this distinction, but he engages heavily with Bucer and many others to make his case. The believer does not sin “according to the spirit but according to the flesh and therefore not with full and plenary consent of will.” He makes a distinction between the outward and inward man.
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What the Federal Vision Still Does to the Definition of Faith

The FV position can be summarized this way: The certain kind of faith that God gives in the justification of a sinner is a living, active, and personally loyal faith. Since faith itself includes the necessary virtues for justification, faithfulness to the gospel message does not require upholding the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s active obedience. The basis for the sinner’s final justification is perseverance in the covenantal responsibility to maintain an obedient faith—those who do not, will be cut off.

Between the years 2001 and 2004 a group of writers within the Reformed community banded together forming a theological system and movement known as the Federal Vision or Auburn Avenue Theology.[1] Under the rubric of covenant theology, this movement has posited a false dichotomy between Biblical and Systematic theology, redefining many confessional Reformed categories and terms. For our purposes, we will briefly explore and evaluate the teachings of the Federal Vision on the nature of justifying faith and the place of good works in the believer’s salvation.
In A Joint Federal Vision Statement, signed by the central proponents of the FV, a series of affirmations and denials are presented. The statement on “Justification by Faith Alone” reads,
We affirm we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Faith alone is the hand which is given to us by God so that we may receive the offered grace of God. Justification is God’s forensic declaration that we are counted as righteous, with our sins forgiven, for the sake of Jesus Christ alone.
We deny that the faith which is the sole instrument of justification can be understood as anything other than the only kind of faith which God gives, which is to say, a living, active and personally loyal faith. Justifying faith encompasses the elements of assent, knowledge, and living trust in accordance with the age and maturity of the believer. We deny that faith is ever alone, even at the moment of the effectual call.[2]
In the affirmation section, standard Reformed language is employed. Justification is described as a forensic declaration, received by faith alone which is described as the hand gifted by God by which we are accounted righteous for the sake of Jesus Christ alone. In the denial, however, we find a clear presentation of the FV’s understanding of the nature of this justifying faith.
There are two important points to observe. First, the FV statement correctly denies that faith in God’s act of justifying the sinner can be understood as anything other than that which has been given by God. But when prompted as to what kind of faith justifies, and what is the kind of faith that God gives, the statement is unequivocal: justifying faith is “a living, active, and personally loyal faith.” For the FV, faith justifies not because only apprehends Christ but also because it obeys or because it contains Spirit-wrought sanctity and the virtues of love and hope. Faith is not merely apprehending and resting in Christ; but it also must be active, living, and loyal.
Here we notice that certain virtues are inculcated into the nature of the faith that God gifts into the sinner for his justification.[3] This certain kind of faith by which God justifies a sinner includes virtuous qualities. For instance, Doug Wilson writes,
So when we use phrases like “obedient faith,” others should just hear “new heart faith,” or “living faith,” or non-disobedient faith.” It should not be seen as a faith that has to perform a requisite number of good deeds so that it can earn its way unto heaven. Rather, obedient faith is the only kind of saving faith God gives.[4]
Because the FV generally denies the existence of merit, many fail to understand whether there is any real concern with the FV’s formulation. But the formulation is elusive. Wilson writes, “Obedient faith is the only kind that God ever gives, and when He gives it, this justifying faith obeys the gospel, obeys the truth, obeys His salvation. Faith that does not obey the gospel is not justifying faith.”[5] Wilson is able to deny that a sinner earns anything before God because he affirms that justifying faith is a gift from God, but the kind of saving, justifying faith that God gives to the sinner includes certain virtues.[6] Steve Schlissel writes, “Nothing in the Bible teaches a kind of faith that does not obey. Obedience and faith are the same thing, biblically speaking…To believe is to obey.”[7] Peter Leithart criticizes the Protestant doctrine of justification as being “too rigid in separating justification and sanctification.” Instead, Leithart proposes that justification and definitive sanctification should be viewed as the “same act” in God’s declaration of the sinner as righteous.[8]
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The Greater Lesson of the Parable of the Good Samaritan

Eternal life on our own merits is impossible for a people who by nature hate God and neighbor. Salvation is brought to us by a Good Samaritan who showed us mercy and promises to return for us to take us into eternal life. We demonstrate that we are right with God not in trying to justify ourselves but when we love God and neighbor with this kind of humility, recognizing with great awe that we were the ones beaten up and left for dead because of sin, and that it was Jesus himself who crossed the road from heaven to save us.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is generally understood to be an ethical teaching of Jesus that challenges us to love our neighbor better. Most teachings on the parable are moralistic, leaving the impression that the imperative to “go and do likewise” is the sole aim of what Jesus is attempting to accomplish in telling the story.
But have we missed the greater lesson of what Jesus is impressing upon the hearer in this well-known story? Is the parable simply intended to press upon us the responsibility to love better? To answer this question, there is required a careful reflection of the context into which this parable comes. The parable is a surprising response to someone who understood well the demand of the law to love, but had failed to see how far he missed the mark of love in his own life.
The lawyer, seeking to justify himself, bypassed the question of his own need for deliverance.
Luke 10:25-37 records for us that a certain lawyer approaches Jesus to test him about how one can obtain eternal life. The lawyer specifically asks Jesus what he must “do to inherit eternal life.” When Jesus answers specific questions posed to him in the synoptic gospels, it is important to reflect carefully on the question that is being asked of Jesus. If the question being posed is not understood, the exegesis that follows will be faulty.
In this case, the lawyer asks the very same question of the rich young ruler, “what must I do to inherit eternal life”—two verbs. This is an entirely different question than those who asked Jesus for mercy, as with blind Bartimaeus or others who, as in the book of Acts, asked what they must do to be saved. Humble approaches to Jesus by those who asked for mercy and deliverance from sin received compassionate responses. This lawyer, however, is asking Jesus how, through his own efforts, he could achieve eternal life, not salvation.
Any attempt to justify ourselves is immediately met with the full weight of the laws demands.
The lawyer bypasses the question of his own need for deliverance, a detail that is obviously so important to Luke that he adds, for proper interpretive purposes, that the lawyer was “attempting to justify (δικαιῶσαι) himself” (Luke 10:29). As he stands before the only one who supplies the righteousness that comes from God, the lawyer’s attempt to justify himself is immediately met with the full weight of the laws demands.
Upon asking for eternal life, Jesus poses as question of his own: “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” The lawyer responds by citing Deuteronomy 6:5, the great Shema, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart will all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus responds from Leviticus 18:5 with a perennial blow that should have made any Israelite tremble: “Do this and you will live.”
Jesus’ use of Leviticus 18:5 in this context is a direct response to the lawyer attempting to justify himself in asking Jesus for eternal life based his own merits. This demonstrates that any attempt to self-justify oneself before God to achieve eternal life is always met with the divine standard of perfect and complete obedience. Jesus does not mince words. He answers the lawyer by saying “if you do this, you will have the eternal life that you are seeking.”
Jesus tells a story to explain what it means to fulfill the intent of the law.
The glaring omission in the dialogue, unlike that of the rich young ruler who openly said he obeyed the law, is the silence of the lawyer with regard to his own performance of love. The problem, as much of the rabbinic tradition evidences, is that a neighbor was only understood to be a fellow Jew. The question is whether Leviticus 19:8, in its command to love one’s neighbor, only intended love to be exercised for a fellow Israelite, as the Rabbinic writings indicate, or did it demand love for all peoples.
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3 Precious Promises of the New Covenant

These three major promises of the new covenant are intended to drive the Christian to a life of faith a trust in the once-for-all death of Christ, to live confidently in this present evil age in the face of great opposition and struggle, and to not give up.

The author of Hebrews desires for Christians to appreciate the much better quality of the new covenant than the old covenant administered at Sinai. His lengthy citation of Jeremiah 31 in Hebrews 8 is intended to cheer the Christian with what the new covenant secures for believers through the coming of Christ. The covenant promises that we now enjoy in fulfillment are the same promises that Abraham looked forward to and, as Hebrews stresses, “is not like the covenant made with Israel on the day when God brought them out of Egypt, the covenant which they broke” (Heb. 8:9; Jer. 31:32).
Since many early Christians were giving up on Christ and desired to return to the Mosaic administration as a more superior revelation of God, the author stresses three promises of the new covenant that makes the arrangement superior to the old one.
These three major promises of the new covenant are intended to drive the Christian to a life of faith a trust in the once-for-all death of Christ, to live confidently in this present evil age in the face of great opposition and struggle, and to not give up.
These are the most precious promises of the covenant of grace:
1. The Law is written on our hearts.

I will put my laws into their min ds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Heb. 8:10; Jer. 31:33).

The law was originally written on stones, and this is how the people related to God. Their religion was one of mere duty without love. But the summary of the law was to love to God from the heart. This is the great reasons that the Lord called for circumcised hearts–that they might love him. The new covenant promise spoke of the interior quality of true religion. True love of God, springing from the gift of faith, would be demonstrated by a people who are not characterized as always apostatizing from the Lord from the heart. Instead, out of sincere and true love for God, faith and repentance will be the defining characteristic of their lives.
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On Wolves, Sinners, & Social Justice Hypocrisies

God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud. If we want to see real change in our world, it starts right here, with our own sin. Go down, this day, to your own house justified, first. This will renew our motivations together in what we are trying to accomplish when we feel the pain caused through the sins of others.

A perception is often created in our social media discourse that Christians who speak out against the newest injustices of the day are fulfilling some kind of duty for God. Our social media world has produced thousands of little independent journalists and “experts” in sociology who sit all day in front of their computers anxiously waiting for the new story and opportunity to decry injustice.
We’re addicted to controversy. Whatever new headline, scandal, hypocrisy, or sorrow, there are a million tweeters with ready fingers to expose the hypocrisies of their neighbor. Forget that the Proverbs often commend silence as an answer to a sorrow to avoid speaking foolishly. “Calling out” is now is championed as a virtue, a civic good for an ideal utopian humanity where hypocrisy will no longer exist and people will truly love.
The problem is that hypocrisies only seem to be growing worse, and who really knows what the newest champion of exposure is really doing themselves behind closed doors? Is our champion of whatever cause we pursue, exempt of the same hypocrisy? There must be a black and white Twilight Zone episode somewhere of a society where everyone became independent journalists, angrily waiting to uncover their neighbor’s worst hypocrisies until there is nothing left to uncover. And then the last righteous man emerges, the hero who called out everyone else, who pompously struts back to his wife and family…after a brief visit to his mistress on the way home.
There is no end to the hypocrisy of the human race. I, too, am weary of the scandals, the hurt, the sorrow, the immorality, and the injustices but the question is how we get to a proper solution, because what we are doing right now is crushing one another. What does our outrage and call-out/cancel culture really say about us?
Distinctions are important in this regard. There is general hypocrisy in which we all share and then gross hypocrisy and public scandal. The gross, public hypocrisies of an abusive leader does incalculable damage. When this happens, public exposure is often necessary to counter the lie and help people in their hurt. We should never support or cover for people in their unrepentant sin. Yes, there are wolves and wolves deserve exposure and prompt removal. This is why God ordained church courts for proper discipline.
But many of the current efforts toward social justice fail to make any distinction here. Anyone who disagrees with the prevailing narrative of the culture is deemed a wolf. And failing to make a distinction between wolves and saints who are sinners results in making condemnation the goal across the board for, well, everybody. This is particularly true right now with the Christian ministry. There is a vicious attempt at present in the exposure of actual wolves to assault the entire Christian ministry as untrustworthy. Anyone involved in the institutional church is under suspicion.
Something really bad has happened to Christianity’s mission right now. Surely there are high standards for both ministry and Christian life in general. But what we have forgotten is something absolutely fundamental to the Christian faith, namely that “all alike have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” What we have lost is a shared humility in our common guilt.
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Foreword by Rosaria Butterfield to “The New Reformation Catechism on Human Sexuality”

No one is exempt from original sin and its consequence. Neither good nor malicious intentions can rewrite God’s call for men and women. Scripture is clear that we are responsible for our inborn as well as our actual sins (Psalm 5:5, Romans 1:18, Deuteronomy 27:15, Hebrews 9:27). Taking responsibility for our own sin is hard and necessary, but because of the way that the world, the flesh, and the devil conspire, it is difficult to know where to start.

The New Reformation Catechism on Human Sexuality, written by Christopher J. Gordon and published by the Gospel Reformation Network, has just been released. The Catechism can be purchased at Reformation Heritage Books. Here is the Foreword written by Rosaria Butterfield.
“I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.” So begins the The Heidelberg Catechism. Written by Zacharius Ursinus and published in 1563, the Heidelberg Catechism quickly became a manual for Christian living and religious instruction during the Reformation. A catechism focused on helping Christians lay hold of the deepest truths in the best ways was dearly needed during the tumultuous time of the Reformation.
Today’s revolution in theology is not over the doctrine of justification by faith alone, but over sexual identity. Our post-Freudian world maintains without any substantial pushback that sexual identity is the most important truth about a person. Organized under the banner of LGBTQ+, authentic personhood depends on placing yourself under one of these letters or joyfully and without reservation applauding people who do. The American Medical Association tells us that mental health depend on practicing what you desire, and enthusiastically supporting others who do what feels right in their own eyes is a suicide-prevention strategy. The biblical creation mandate seems a quaint ancient narrative with no binding force when in the United States today there are hundreds of pediatric gender clinics and Testosterone is administered to adolescents from Planned Parenthood on a first visit and without parental consent or a therapist’s note.
In contrast to the world’s anthropology, a biblical anthropology understands that after Adam’s transgression (Genesis 3), we, his posterity, have a sin nature that compels each person to love something that God hates. If nothing checks our will, our sinful desires will plunge us headfirst into all manner of spiritual, moral, and sometimes physical danger. No one is exempt from original sin and its consequence. Neither good nor malicious intentions can rewrite God’s call for men and women. Scripture is clear that we are responsible for our inborn as well as our actual sins (Psalm 5:5, Romans 1:18, Deuteronomy 27:15, Hebrews 9:27). Taking responsibility for our own sin is hard and necessary, but because of the way that the world, the flesh, and the devil conspire, it is difficult to know where to start.
And this is where Pastor Christopher Gordon’s The New Reformation Catechism offers to the church such a timely and pastoral guide. I have no doubt that this means of discipleship will give glory to God and be used of the Lord to liberate many who are held captive by sexual sin. Twenty-three years ago, when I was in a lesbian relationship and at the same time reading the Bible, I would have greatly benefitted from The New Reformation Catechism on Human Sexuality. I know that I am not alone in needing this book.
May God bless you richly as you grow in Christian liberty. May this book help you hold fast to the truth and better understand how the full counsel of God speaks to the godly priority of human sexuality.
Rosaria Butterfield
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