Classics: A number of new readers have joined the blog lately, so from time to time I’ll be re-posting what I think are some of the most important and foundational essays I’ve written. This post underscores the fundamental difference between the grace of the Gospel vs. legalism.
In 2 posts dated Jan 28 and Jan 30, 2008, Dave Hasz started this dialogue on his blog:
In other words if you were going to let someone speak into your life about your spiritual condition or your pursuit of God what would “qualify” or “disqualify” them from speaking. This could get a bit controversial.
If someone drank would that impact your thinking? Should it? What if they smoked? What if they chewed? What if they told dirty jokes? What if they were recently saved? … What if he liked to cuss? What if she questioned God’s existence seriously at least once a year? What if this person was massively insecure?
Some of you stated that you would read it anyway because everyone sins…. this is a bit of an odd statement. Of course everyone sins, but some more than others. There are books that have been written by authors who are walking in victory over sin – why not read those? Apparently many of you have much more time in your lives than I do, I cannot read every book written, there just is not time. So I have to be pretty selective. If you knew that the author was saved, but wrestling with all the issues mentioned in the previous post would you spend your time allowing that individual to speak into your life on spiritual matters?
That is an excellent question, Dave. Let me think about some of my favorite authors and Bible characters to see how they “measure up” against your litmus test.
Moses was disobedient – he didn’t even get to see the promised land. And I really thought he would be “always honorable.” Oh well, guess I’ll rip out the first five books of my Bible.
King David was an adulterer and a murderer. I am going to stop reading the Psalms right away. I definitely don’t want that kind of person influencing me spiritually.
The prophet Elijah was suicidal at times, so I better not follow his example either. Too bad his adversity quotient just wasn’t higher.
Abraham was a liar. Count him out.
Job questioned God. Who does he think he is anyway?
Gideon – man, talk about insecurity. Who qualified him to be a leader?!
Solomon was a disobedient polygamist who worshipped many gods. Wisest man ever, my ass!
Mother Teresa struggled with lifelong depression and doubt. What a loser.
Brennan Manning is an alcoholic, so pardon me while I burn my copy of “The Ragamuffin Gospel.”
Ted Haggard is a homosexual. Good thing he never accepted your invitation to speak to at Battlecry events. Oh wait, nevermind.
Gee, now that I think about it, it is pretty hard to tell what kind of sin is in a person’s life. After all, how can you see what is in a person’s heart?
And really, the most important question is: What sin can possibly disqualify someone from being used by God?
Well, there isn’t one. Because their righteousness never qualified them in the first place.
And that’s where we disagree.