22 September 2009


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


Ray Ortlund said...
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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.