What is the way out of Christian moralism? Continuing from the last post, Coe says we have to
[open] our heart and mind deeply to (1) the reality of Christ’s work on the Cross in justification and (2) the ministry of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and in-filling. (p. 73)
If there is no more condemnation then “come out of your hiding in your prayer life and be honest with God.” And if Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to you, “then stop trying to cover your badness by being good.” (p. 74).
Coe says we often feel forgiven for failures but still feel unacceptable. And so we tend to respond with moralism in an effort to get to that point that we feelacceptable. Instead we are to meditate on the truth of our acceptance on the merit of the Cross AND need the transformation of the Spirit. Coe reminds us that spiritual disciplines do not transform us but “only become relational opportunities to open the heart to the Spirit who transforms.” (P. 77)
So, what do you think about his way out? Are you left wishing for more direction? More objective activities? Then in his mind you might be a moralist…
Maybe we should start by talking to others about our propensity towards moralism and quick fixes to our deepest problem. Also, we may need to explore how little we rely on the Spirit and how infrequent we are mindful of our needy state without moving toward shame or dulling that feeling.
3 responses to “The way out of moralism?”
Wow – this guy has amazing insight. I need to get a hold of this article. I’ve recently been trying to figure out how to teach my girls that they should strive to do good, yet they can do no good apart from God. I don’t want them to be all about the moralistic performance, but I don’t want them to be like a lot of Christian adults I know that have accepted their lack of growth and lack of joy etc. as just the way the Christian life is. Like they are waiting for God to change them but they aren’t putting out any effort to change themselves. There seems to be a huge disconnect between what we teach about the Christian life and what most Christians are actually experiencing. I like the idea of opening ourselves up for the Holy Spirit to work in us.
Karen, see my note back to Judi on how to get a copy on the previous post.
This has the same essence as Daoist philosophy, where Doing puts one further from the Path, whereas Being puts one on the Path.
@karenestelle: I’ve also noticed the same disconnect in the practice of Christianity, as well as several other religions, faiths, and practices as well. This universal experience seems to stem from a unwillingness to accept life, all of it, as is, and going from there.