Stop Teaching the Ethics of Jesus?

Seriously?  I ran across a blog post today that just boggled my brain.

According to Peter Rollins’ About page, he “is a widely sought after writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker. He is also the founder of ikon, a faith group that has gained an international reputation for blending live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theatre, ritual and reflection to create what they call ‘transformance art’.”  Now, I’m not able to ascertain exactly what kind of “faith” is being talked about when it says he founded a faith group, but in a blog post he posted advocating that we stop teaching the ethics of Jesus, I’m not thinking that his definition of faith and mine are the same.

Mr. Rollins makes the following statement to open up his post:

There is a strong tendency within the church for people to extract and teach the ethical framework found in the Gospels. For instance, people might set up a community in which they attempt to live out principles such as giving to someone in need, turning the other cheek and living simply.

There are however a number of interrelated problems with this approach. Firstly it tends to generate guilt. In other words, the more that we hold up certain principles the worse we will feel when we fall short of them.

This leads to the second problem, namely repression.

The post is much longer and can be read here, but it appears to me that he is advocating an atmosphere of love, acceptance and grace without the condemnation of of sin entering into the equation.  He further states his answer to this issue as such:

The answer is creating a space of grace in which we are invited to bring our darkness to the surface, to speak of it in an environment in which we will not be condemned or made to feel guilty, a community that will let us speak our anxieties and darkness without asking us to change (bolding not in the original).

I’m seriously concerned with the statement “without asking us to change.”  Salvation is about change.  Before salvation we are a total slave to sin, darkness, unrighteousness.  After salvation, we struggle with sin because, even though we are now a slave to righteousness, we still carry around the old body.  It is our heart that is changed.  Our desire becomes one of trying to live the ethics of Jesus.  Fail we will! But our desire is to be righteous, which implies ethics.  This desire is not of our self, and cannot be accomplished in our own strength, but is a work of The Holy Spirit empowering us.

The frustrating thing to me in all of this is that Peter Rollins is influencing many young people in our churches and planting false ideas in their heads.  This is why Doctrine is so important.  The Church is languishing for a lack of understanding doctrinal truths.  I’ll say it again, Doctrine Is Important!  It grounds us in a proper understanding of God.

If you care to read other thoughts on this, you can check out Ken Silvas Blog.

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