Have Christians Lost Personal Moral Responsibility

Just like perhaps 1,000 generations of humans before me, I am sitting above the beach staring across the Pacific Ocean pondering the greatness of God and the vastness of his creation.

I’m visiting a friend who always sparks deep spiritual discussions. Lots of thinking and re-thinking.

On the plane out to California, I went over my notes from Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. He discussed a 19th Century philosopher who surveyed the culture of Europe at the time and perceived that because of the Protestant emphasis on salvation by grace through faith, they had forgotten the moral imperative to live like Jesus said.

The perception of the European Church at the time was that church leaders willing took money from rich people and told poor people that they would get their reward in heaven after they died. Salvation by faith–but no moral works until then.

Both Nietzsche and Marx may not have known, but they could have said that the overemphasis on one chapter of Romans wiped out the instructions of the four gospels plus the writing of James.

My friend was asking about Christianity. I told him it was two things.

First, there is the resurrection of Jesus. Without that, then we’d just be a Jewish sect.

Second, there is (to use a church word) repentance. That means that we are to stop living the life we have been living and turn around and live a life with-God, filled with the Spirit.

You cannot read the entire New Testament and believe that everything ends with the profession of faith. Indeed, everything begins with it. From that point on, we participate in eternal life because of the way we live. That, my friends, is the moral responsibility that Nietzsche thought we had lost.

It is time that we stop, look around, and see where we stand. Has our life stopped at faith? Or, has it begun in earnest because of the faith?

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