Chapter III : Inadequate Popular Christianity
Sect I : Scripture Doctrines
That: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
That: our blessed Lord willingly left the glory of the Father, and was made man.
That: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain.”
That: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.”
That: “The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
That: “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross.”
That: “Jesus Christ who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and also interceding for us”
That: “being reconciled to God by the death of his Son” “we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need .”
That: “(our) Father in Heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
That: “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”
That: “(we) are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” & “the trumpet will sound (and) the dead will be raised imperishable.”
These are the leading doctrines concerning our Saviour and the Holy Spirit that are taught in the Holy Scripture. They are repeated in our liturgy. Surely everyone has heard them. If only people took them to heart and learned their power in their lives!
Most people who call themselves “Christians” have a defective faith. Surely anyone who really feels the weight of their sins jumps for joy at Jesus' invitation “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”. But most people think their sins are so trivial that they set a low value on what Jesus offers. It is amazing how different the strong language of the Scripture the creeds and our articles of religion is from the wishy-washy sentiments of many so-called Christians.
You may object: “The general population yes, but not the church-people surely.” I say: “yes even them”. You may reply: “How do you know – you can't read their minds.” Jesus said: “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” So the test is: how do church people talk when we lead the conversation to Jesus' life and teachings – if you can actually get them to talk about it? I'll tell you: they fluff around so much that it is obvious they are not accustomed to thinking about it at all. They show no passion about the fact that he did all this for us. No loving wonder at him who “loved us and gave himself for us” and who “was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification.”
But these great truths – even though preachers so often neglect them – shine out of our liturgy. Despite this, people hear them and even repeat them in the liturgy just as though they were only old fashioned fairy tales! Once church is over they are dismissed from thought. How can this be! What Jesus did for us – delivery from eternal misery and the gift of eternal joy and a crown that never fades – this should make anyone who receives it absolutely bursting with love and gratitude. They shouldn't be able to stop talking about it. It should be a delight to tell of his kindness. It should be a joy to worship him. Caring for others he loves should be our natural disposition.
So what does this tell us about the inner faith of most church goers?
They love little that we can say they believe equally little.
The doctrines of the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life they treat even worse. They don't seem to even believe in the Holy Spirit. They also seem to think that sanctification is so easy that they don't need any help from God.
Next: Objection Discussed & Answered