Preaching ‘God’ and Justifying the Self

Derek Rishmawy | August 29, 2014

You ought to have friends who disagre with you regularly. For example, my buddy Morgan and I seem to agree about little when it comes to the hot-button theological issues of the day. He’s a progressive Methodist; I’m Reformed. Our rhetorical styles clash, and our forms of argumentation and analysis differ widely. And yet I still learn from our little sparring matches. In fact, often it’s precisely for that reason that I find his engagement so helpful. He helps keep me honest.

I bring up Morgan because one of the big themes he’s always preaching is the way Jesus frees us from our various attempts at religious self-justification. Within that theme, a regular trope he’s identified is the way some theological types will use their doctrine of God as a way of self-righteously posturing as particularly holy and faithful compared to everyone else.

With conservative Reformed types, we somtimes we look at the world, see many reject the idea that God is a judge, or has wrath, or would command laws that go contrary to our cultural instincts, and then push back overaggressively to prove our own faithfulness. In other words: 

You wanna know how faithful I am? Look at the…

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