Here’s a simple formula used by young, aggressive, often Reformed Christians with otherwise decent motives when they want to be convicting.
1) Shouldn’t you Christians do more of _____ if we’re real Christians?
2) Here’s why you don’t do it.
– a. In case you think I’m not humble, here’s why I don’t do it.
– b. Here are stats, figures, horror stories, and bad endings if you’re not convinced.
3) So let’s do more of _____ if you want to be a real Christian.
– a. Insert Gospel to gain credibility.
– b. Make sure to say we’re saved by faith and not by works.
4) Go back to Step One if necessary.
You’ll see this everywhere. We’re all guilty of it, and with all sincerity, as am I. Fill that blank with reading Scripture, evangelizing, fasting, abstaining from sex, praying, journaling, not getting a tattoo, homeschooling, not cussing, not listening to secular music, not judging, not criticizing, not whining, not watching sensual movies, and of course, quitting legalistic, cold-hearted religion.
These all may or may not be good things. But this surgical formula is like trying to do an organ transplant without having the new organ. It’s diagnosis without treatment. It can be a cowardly technique of guilt-driven manipulation to move a crowd by mob mentality. The choir loves it because it’s “standing up for your beliefs,” so this enslaving morality is preached to the choir for that rabble-rousing reaction.
This doesn’t set anyone free. It just adds chains to the Bible.