I was involved in a full-time christian ministry for eight years and within that culture and environment I witnessed daily, weekly and years of legalism and moralism. Within that ministry, the preaching and teaching was saturated with legalistic and moralistic form of spirituality. In the midst of that environment, I started to teach systemically and contextually the books of Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. I was teaching the message of the Gospel of Grace(Christ-centered & Cross-focused) to broken, confused, wounded, unstable, immature legalistic/moralistic Christians.
Excerpt From a Blog Post: By Brian Zahnd (posted on July 9,2010)
“I’ll never forget the time I was sitting at the Starbucks in downtown Estes Park, Colorado with my friend Brad Jersak and his relating to me how Archbishop Lazar Puhalo of the Orthodox Church of Canada had replied upon being asked, “What message would you have for the evangelical church?” The Archbishop’s reply was this:
“Your moralism is killing you.”
Wow! That hit me like a ton of bricks. And the line has stuck with me ever since. “Your moralism is killing you.” Sometimes it takes the perspective of an outsider to get to the heart of the matter. Orthodoxy has its own issues to contend with, but as far as I’m concerned Archbishop Lazar’s diagnosis of the chief malady within evangelicalism is right on target. Our moralism is killing us. But Jesus wants to save us!
Here is another quote from Archbishop Lazar which expounds upon the topic.
“If our faith is primarily a mantra to drive away punishment, our faith isn’t really a faith, it is a fear. We feign faith in order to keep from being punished. When we do that it usually manifests itself as a kind of harsh and brutal moralism. Because in this system it is psychologically comforting to see ourselves as better than other people. Thus trying to hype up our ego leads us to a kind of moralism where we have to denigrate others in order to make ourselves feel better.” -Archbishop Lazar Puhalo
Alright, that’s all I wanted to share with you, but if you are interested in more of this conversation you can view the Symposium on Deep Structural Fear with my friends Brad Jersak, Ron Dart and Archbishop Lazar. It will be well worth your time. Link: https://vimeo.com/8729390
Note: I don’t agree with Eastern Orthodox Theology, but nevertheless, I do find some of their theological perspectives extremely insightful.This was a very interesting conversation on Deep Structural Fear, especially the many insightful comments made by Archbishop Lazar. Again, I do not necessarily agree with everything that was said, but do agree with the common thread regarding Deep Structural Fear within the Christian Tradition.
Other Article On Moralism:
Why Moralism Is Not the Gospel — And Why So Many Christians Think It Is > http://www.albertmohler.com/2009/09/03/why-moralism-is-not-the-gospel-and-why-so-many-christians-think-it-is/
Grace and Peace,