The Law of the Church

By Barry York - Posted at Gentle Reformation:

As the church watches helplessly from the sidelines as one after another moral tenet of society falls, each one more rapidly than the previous one, she really only has herself to blame. For having forsaken the law of God, the one called to be salt and light to the world is fighting the cultural wars trying to stand on the one foot of "the gospel of love." Yet the gospel without the justice, blood, and righteousness of the law becomes no gospel at all.

Listen to R.C. Sproul:

The law and the gospel may never be absolutely separated…for the gospel has stipulations. We live in an age in which both Law and gospel have been obscured. As a result evangelism often is expressed simply as an announcement of redemption without obligation. We hear preachers declare, “God loves you unconditionally.” What does this mean? The danger with such declarations is that they are often heard or understood to mean that God’s love imposes no conditions or obligations upon people. It suggests that I can have a loving relationship with God even if I do not repent or if I do not embrace the gospel. It suggests that I am acceptable to God just as I am. This sounds more like Mr. Roger’s neighborhood than the kingdom of God.”

We can argue over what has caused the church to avoid God's law, and in so doing trade in its spiritual armor for Mr. Roger's cardigan and sneakers. Is it from the decades-old downplaying of the Old Testament by dispensationalists? Has lazy exegetical skills kept us from understanding the distinctions needed in the study of God's law regarding its categories and uses? Does it come from the fear of being seen as a bunch of thundering theonomists or, worse yet, theocratic terrorists? Has the missional movement's emphasis on being relevant caused the church to miss the point that many of her members have been moved into relativism? Have we advertised and marketed the church so much we have sold its very soul? Are we afraid we will no longer be seen as gospel-centered if the grace we preach requires anything of anyone? Surely all these reasons and more are to blame, but one thing is clear. The church has forsaken the eternal, pure, binding moral law of God, and as a result she does not have just one hand tied by her back but two. No wonder the church is punch-drunk.

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