Wednesday, 26 May 2010


'...Christ's redemption restores identity and community. Both religious moralism and nonreligious idolatry lead to an unstable identity, superiority, and exclusion of those who are different to us. The gospel gives un an unassailably confident and gentle identity, which frees us to embrace "the other" in love. Religion and non-religion lead to an unstable identity (insecurity resulting in either arrognat superiority or fearful inferiority), because significnce is bound up in performance or achievement. This means we are humble but not confident when failing our standards, or confident but proud when living up to standards. We will never be sure we've arrived, however, so we are always driven and nervous. But the gospel makes us humble because we are such sinners that Christ had to die for us, and yet also makes us bold because we are so loved that Jesus was glad to die for us. We are sinfully and hopelessly wretched, yet also unbelievably love and accepted.
Religion and non-religion lead to superiority and disdain toward "the other." If our identity is based on being productive and efficient, we feel superior to those we consider lazy or inefficient. If our identity is based on being open-minded and liberal, we feel superior to those we consider conservatives. It all leads to exclusion. But the gospel is that on the cross Christ fulfilled God's righteous law (unlike the relativist mindset, there are absolute moral standards by which you evaluate others), and on the cross he did it all for me (unlike the moralist mindset, there can be no superiority or haughtiness toward anyone, since we are saved by sheer grace). At the heart of the gospel is not a teacher whose standards we live up to, by a savior who dies for his enemies and who embraced "the other," including us.'
Timothy Keller, Our New Global Culture: Ministry in Urban Centers, p.8.