Why The Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision

“Today, the Church finds itself in the midst of a culture whose moral fabric is rotting and whose spirit is troubled.  But as evening descends upon America, the prospects for Christian faith, I believe, could be bright.  The Church, however, will have to have its moral vision restored in two principal ways if it is to seize this moment successfully.”

First, it will have to become courageous enough to say that much that is taken as normative in the postmodern world is actually sinful, and it will have to exercise new ingenuity in learning how to speak about sin to a generation for whom sin has become an impossibility.  Without an understanding of sin – sin understood with a powerfully conceived moral vision of reality – there can be no deep believing of the Gospel.  This, then, is not an optional task but an essential and inescapable one.

Second, the church itself is going to have to become more authentic morally, for the greatness of the Gospel is now seen to have become quite trivial and inconsequential in its life.  If the Gospel means so little to the Church, if it changes so little, why then should unbelievers believe it?

It is one thing to understand what Christ’s deliverance means; it is quite another to see this worked out in life with depth and reality, to see its moral splendor.  It is one thing to know the Gospel; it is quite another to see it lived.  That is when its truth catches fire in the imagination.  That is what makes the Gospel so attractive.  The evangelical Church today, with some exceptions, is not very inspiring in this regard.  It is not being heroic.  It is exhibiting too little of the moral splendor that Christ calls it to exhibit.  Much of it, instead, is replete with tricks, gadgets, gimmicks, and marketing ploys as it shamelessly adapts itself to our emptied out, blinded, postmodern world.  It is supporting a massive commercial enterprise of Christian products, it is filling the airways and stuffing postal boxes, and it is always begging for money to fuel one entrepreneurial scheme after another, but it is not morally resplendent.  It is mostly empty of real moral vision, and without a recovery of that vision its faith will soon disintegrate.  There is too little about it that bespeaks the holiness of God.  And without the vision for and reality of this holiness, the Gospel becomes trivialized, life loses its depth, God becomes transformed into a product to be sold, faith into a recreational activity to be done, and the Church into a club for the like-minded.”

Copied from pages 179-180 of David F. Wells’ book, “Loosing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision.”

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