Monday, March 17, 2008

True religion

"Wilberforce believed that there was a real force for evil in the world and that man had to contend with this as well as his own natural depravity. And yet, 'the grand defect of the bulk of professed Christians' was that they did not feel encumbered by sin. What gave Wilberforce particular cause for grief was that what he called the more decent and moral of his contemporaries seemed oblivious to real religion as he knew it."

Patrick Cormack, Wilberforce: The Nation's Conscience, page 80.

"I cannot speak of religion but I must lament that among so many pretenders to it so few understand what it means. . . . True religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle's phrase, it is 'Christ formed within us.'"

Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, pages 15-16.

"The climactic realization of this covenantal bond, this reciprocal possession between the triune God and his people, the church, centers for Paul in union with Christ. This . . . is the central truth of salvation for Paul, the key soteriological reality comprising all others."

Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight, page 36.

If we hold to the audacious belief that there is one true religion and that Christianity is that one true religion, then let's communicate clearly and constantly what Christianity is and what it is not, so that no one can mistake what we stand for. True religion is not morality, not politics, not a culture war, not a better way to raise kids, not therapy, not hipness, not a right good scolding, not anti-pharisaism, and a lot more. True religion is union with Christ.