Cool or Wretched: Which Kind of Christian are You?

Here is what one of the apostles’ successors says makes Roman Catholicism “cool”:

Guilt. Pundits and comedians make fun of “Catholic guilt,” often described as an overactive conscience that makes us think everything is a sin. For example, when forgetting to floss, or not finishing all the food on your plate becomes confession material. But while people make fun of Catholics for their scrupulosity, in fact, having a little guilt is a healthy habit. It keeps us from getting into trouble and inspires us to do the right thing. Our world today would benefit from a little “Catholic guilt.”

What happened to that sense of the penalty for sin that Paul agonized in Romans 7?

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Funny how a little bit of guilt goes a long way — all the way to the cross.

How can you be scrupulous and turn guilt into something by which to appeal to youth?

4 thoughts on “Cool or Wretched: Which Kind of Christian are You?

  1. It’s not ever cool to be cool. You need to be more earnest and that way you won’t be so wretched.

    Mark Jones–There are both unconditional and conditional promises offered to us in the Scripture. Conditional promises depend on human action, which means they are sometimes unfulfilled. Even within the Christian life there are certain conditional promises made to us that remain unfulfilled because we do not help ourselves (i.e., we do not ask). In the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 91) the divines ask, “How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?” The answer involves human response: by the blessing of Christ and the power of the Spirit, those who by faith receive the Lord’s Supper will be helped by God. God does not eat and drink for us; we must apply ourselves to the sacraments and receive from God all that we can lawfully receive. To deny the value of the concept that God helps Christians who help themselves is actually to fall into a type of “Hyper-Calvinism” whereby human responsibility is jettisoned for a type of Islamic fatalism. As with most theological slogans, the problem is not in the slogan itself, but in how we understand the slogan.

    Matthew Henry.–“God will help those that help themselves.The law succours those who watch, not those who sleep.”

    Thomas Watson–“Sinners can go to hell for not forgiving as much as for not believing.”

    J C Ryle–Neglect of the duty of forgiving shuts a sinner out of the kingdom of Christ.

    John Piper–“You can believe the promises and be lost”


  2. How can you be scrupulous and turn guilt into something by which to appeal to youth?

    How? By exhorting for a good conscience and warning to beware of a seared (dulled, deceived, etc) conscience?

    the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.1 Tim 1:5

    keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:16

    our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. 2 Cor 1:12


  3. Sarcasm alert. In his attempt to avoid what he accuses of being “hyper-Calvinism”, Mark Jones avoids the scandal of the gospel. Done before Do. To correlate the increase of our obedience with the decrease of sin is to decrease faith in the Accomplished Death of Christ.

    Martin Luther–“Imagine that by the merit of congruity you have made so much progress that the Spirit has been granted to you and that you have love. Of course, all this would be a monstrosity and cannot be found anywhere in the nature of things. But imagine, I say, that, by doing what lies within you, you acquire grace, are righteous, and have the Spirit. On what basis? On the basis of the merit of congruity? Then you do not need Christ, but He has become useless to you and died to no purpose.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.