This Is the Last Thing the Church Needs

The last thing we need is a church that keeps sealed up in our own compartment with others of similar experiences in life.  We need to be the integrated body of Christ.  Younger believers don’t need another speaker to come in and tell them about dating, self-esteem, and relationships.  They need to have relationships with saints who have put a few miles in the Christian life and have faced challenges to their faith and practice that the younger believers have not.  And the lessons learned from these relationships need to be passed on to the rest of us in unplanned, unchoreographed, and unplugged conversations.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 197

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No Secular Self-Help Guru Comes Close to Evangelical Rivals

Robert Schuller, founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral and [Norman Vincent] Peale’s most prominent disciple, helped to make this quintessentially American gospel more successful in evangelical circles.  Spurred by his television ministry, Schuller’s best-sellers include Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Self-Love, Believe in the God Who Believes in You, and the Be-Happy Attitudes.  Not only have evangelicals caught up with their liberal rivals in accommodating religion in secular culture, they are now clearly in the lead.  No secular self-help guru comes close to the sales of evangelical rivals.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 67

The Esteem We Cherish

Nurture in Christ is not a self-improvement program to build self-esteem.  The esteem we cherish is not self-esteem, but our Father’s esteem, extended to us not because we deserved it or earned it, but because in love he claimed us.  True, we were made in his image, but like the prodigal, we had forfeited all the rights of sonship.  The Father’s amazing grace claimed us while we were without hope and without God in the world.  God loved us enough to give his Son for us, and he loves us still.  Nurture is rooted in our new position in Christ.  Without hope there cannot be growth; without a new identity there is nothing to hope for.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 147-148

Wellness That Can Endure the Day of Judgment

The Spirit of God has a programme for providing the only mental and emotional wellness that can endure the day of judgment.  He gives the peace with God that comes with the collapse of a sinner’s self-esteem at the foot of the cross, and he gives the peace of God, in which the Spirit assures us that we are children of God in Christ.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 61

Preoccupied with Self-Esteem

We are preoccupied with the issue of self-esteem.  Yet here (Philippians 2:3-4) we are called to esteem others better than ourselves. This is precisely the opposite of our normal patterns.  We usually want to think of ourselves as better than others.  We want other people to esteem us as better than ourselves.

– R.C. Sproul, Pleasing God, copyright 1988, page 170