25 September 2006

SBC Legalism?

In January, Illinois pastor Steve McKoy wrote a good letter to his fellow Baptists regarding the existence and dangers of legalism. All of us seminarians and young pastors would be wise to reflect on what he says and what we see reflected in our hearts and denominations (for me, the Presbyterian Church in America). Though it is most visible in the SBC right now due to the alcohol controversy, every Christian is a recovering legalist and every denomination is prone to this infection.

At the same time, I am thankful for the Lord's mercy in helping much (not all) of the PCA see and love the centrality of grace for life and ministry.

Also, as the Lord frees us from our legalistic impulses and mindsets and liberates us to engage culture as Jesus desires (and exemplified) in ways that are incarnationally culturally relevant while unapologetically theologically precise, it would be the supreme tragedy and irony if, in doing so, we pridefully look down on older, traditional, culturally aloof congregations or denominations. Such an attitude would be proof that we had not, in fact, elevated grace as central, but rather our understanding of grace as central. And that's an error difficult to detect.

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