An interesting interview on Christianitytoday.com with Ron Sider, author of the new book Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience. I'm limited on time today, so only a couple of excerpts:
How do we turn the ship around?
We need to rethink our theology. We need to ask, "Are we really biblical?" Cheap grace is right at the core of the problem. Cheap grace results when we reduce the gospel to forgiveness of sins only; when we limit salvation to personal fire insurance against hell; when we misunderstand persons as primarily souls; when we at best grasp only half of what the Bible says about sin; when we embrace the individualism and materialism and relativism of our current culture. We also lack a biblical understanding and practice of the church.
Today, when so many congregations are abandoning biblical truth, you say in the book that all congregations need to be connected to a denomination. Are you serious?
Absolutely. It's simply wrong for a local congregation to have no accountability to a larger body. Now I'm not saying it has to be one of the current denominations. There can be new structures of accountability. Any congregations that feel they must break away from older denominations that are no longer faithful theologically or in terms of moral practice should be a part of some new denominational, organizational structure so they're not isolated lone rangers. They need to have a larger structure of accountability. It is flatly unbiblical and heretical for an individual congregation to say, "We'll just be by ourselves and not be accountable to anybody."