22 September 2009

Brokenness

Sometimes I interact with Christians who speak of the value and goal of remaining 'broken' as a believer. Some brothers I respect deeply from my seminary days spoke this way.

I reject it. My response is: if by 'broken' you mean 'not triumphalistic or arrogant,' then, of course, amen and amen. But if by 'broken' you mean (as I think is often what is meant) remaining in a perpetual state of spiritual pursed lips, emotional languishing over sin, calling to mind one's failures, dwelling on one's shortcomings, this is not spiritual health but a victory for the enemy, the Accuser. That is not what Christ came to win for us. It is a hollow maturity that appears humble but in fact spits on the cross. It is actually a form of self-parading, a subtle way of drawing attention not to the Savior but to our own mock spirituality.

Here's Bavinck:

[T]o this day one encounters in the church a great many Christians who year after year complain about their sins but almost never enjoy the heartfelt joy in God through Christ nor ever arrive at a peaceful and quiet life of gratitude. . . . Those who encourage grieving over one's sins . . . are abandoning the gospel, which is the message of joy and gladness in God, and fail to do justice to God's grace and the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

[Real Christianity is] faith in the reconciliation accomplished in the blood of Christ, a quiet and childlike resting in the grace of the Lord, knowing oneself secure in the wounds of the Lamb, and a joyful and lively feeling of the love of the heavenly Bridegroom.

--Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 4:158, 159-60

2 comments:

Ray Ortlund said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray Ortlund said...

"Brokenness" can even serve as an excuse for evading bold obedience. "Don't ask me to grow up, take a stand, call sin sin, etc. I'm just so broken." Sniff.