What Is Necessary for us to Become Pelagians?

All that is necessary for us to become unwitting Pelagians is less preaching and teaching of the law and the gospel – downplaying the means of grace (Word and sacrament) in favor of our means of transforming ourselves and our world.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 244

Which Church Do You Desire to be a Part of?

A church that is deeply aware of its misery and nakedness before a holy God will cling tenaciously to an all-sufficient Savior, while one that is self-confident and relatively unaware of its inherent sinfulness will reach for religion and morality whenever it seems convenient.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 243

Lost in Translation

Efforts to translate the gospel into contemporary language actually aim at making the gospel is so counterintuitive to our fallen pride that it cannot be believed apart from a miracle of divine grace.  And because it is through the gospel itself that the Spirit accomplishes this feat, we remove the one possibility for genuine conversion that we have in our arsenal.  Lost in translation is the gospel itself – and therefore the only hope of genuine transformation as well as forgiveness.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 240

God Has Granted American Christianity No Reformation

God has granted American Christianity no Reformation.  He has given it strong revivalist preachers, churchmen and theologians, but no Reformation of the church of Jesus Christ by the Word of God…Aerican theology and the American church as a whole have never been able to understand the meaning of “criticism” by the Word of God and all that signifies.  Right to the last they do not understand that God’s “criticism” touches even religion, the Christianity of the church and the sanctification of Christians, and that God has founded his church beyond religion and beyond ethics…In American theology, Christianity is still essentially religion and ethics…Because of this the person and work of Christ must, for theology, sink into the background and in the long run remain misunderstood, because it is not recognized as the sole ground of radical judgment and radical forgiveness.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

as quote by Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p.

Our Goal is This, Not That

An authorized gospel comes with an authorized ministry.  It is ministers of God’s Word – not people who like to carve out their own niches, share their own experiences and determine their own emphasis – whom God qualifies by training, testing and approving and who bring us God’s gifts in his name.  Our goal is not to leave our own legacy but to dole out Christ’s inheritance.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 235

The Ministry of the Church

The ministry of the church is God’s service to us through pastors, teachers, elders and deacons, which generates a thankful community of genuine gift giving that overflows to the world.  The kingdom of God is something we are receiving, not something we are building (Hebrews 12:28)

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 233

This Unholy Separation Leads to Pestilent Errors and Foulest Delusions

For although God’s power is not bound to outward means, he has nonetheless bound us to this ordinary manner of teaching.  Fanatics, refusing to hold fast to it, entangle themselves in many deadly snares.  Many are led either by pride, dislike or rivalry to the conviction that they can profit enough from private reading and meditation; hence they despise public assemblies and deem preaching superfluous.  But…no one escapes the just penalty of this unholy separation without bewitching himself with pestilent errors and foulest delusions.

– John Calvin

as quoted by Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 231