Saturday, March 13, 2010

How Good is Good Enough?

I must preface this blog by stating that I firmly believe that mankind is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and not by any sort of works – period (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I also firmly believe that no one is good except God alone (Luke 18:19).

I further believe that even the apostle Paul struggled with doing what was right when tempted with wrong (Romans 7:1-8:1).

But, I also believe that as time marches toward the parousia, there will be a gradual decline of faith; ultimately leading to a watershed departure from faith, hope and love; as well as a marked increase in the visibility and influence of wickedness (Matthew 24:12, 22; 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Full yet? So the question weighs heavy on my heart: How good is good enough?

I ask that question because in my life time there have been numerous individuals (some personal friends and acquaintances) specifically ministers of the full gospel (not to mention the present Catholic priest scandal now unfolding in Europe) who operated successfully in their ecclesiastical offices all the while engaging in illicit behaviors. Don’t make me list names and activities. You’d be ticked off if I did.

And maybe you think that my bringing up of this subject is like beating a dead horse, but I beg to differ on the matter. The reason being; patterns of religion and church polity have all but morphed into true relativism. And yes I do really believe that statement. Power seems to be at the heart of the issue; thereby eliminating the lower class or the people of the parish. Who are all but left to fend for themselves in the struggle between right and wrong.

Which brings me to this very question: How good is good enough?

If we were ranking goodness then Oprah has done a boat load of good. Or Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have done major philanthropic good. But how much good garners God’s favor? And what KIND of good garners His favor?

I ask that question because most of us fall and fall again only to be able to appeal to the raw mercy of God upon humble repentance.

So if we were to measure “goodness” on a scale, the first question would be who is zeroing the scale?

Remember that tried and true procedure from science class. First you must zero the scale to get an accurate measurement. So who zeroes the scale God or us? What seems to be happening is WE have been the ones zeroing the scale. Not God.

So maybe we’ve been inaccurately setting the scale to zero; so as to make ourselves be right in our own eyes (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). All the while ignoring God’s standard.

Call me a radical reverend from section seven (, but my gut leans more toward what Michael L. Brown wrote in his little book from 1990 (How Saved Are We?).

Granted, no one can be good enough to save themselves, but how far to the left or to the wrong can we gravitate and still maintain our salvation? All of which once again begs the question of Armenians versus Calvinists. Any takers on that debate?

Bottom line: How good is good enough? Maybe we should just do away with any of the hoops we’ve created for people to jump through for ecclesiastical approval. Or maybe we should just do away with names and denominations and laws and policies and just live what Jesus told us to live?

I will never preach like my former pastors, but then again I’ll never cheat on my wife. I hope... and you?

Keep in mind it’s my blog.


  1. "Power seems to be at the heart of the issue; thereby eliminating the lower class or the people of the parish. Who are all but left to fend for themselves in the struggle between right and wrong."

    I think you've touched upon the primary misconception in the issue at hand. The sad fact is, both the "lower class" of christians (laity) as well as the "upper class" (clergy, especially denominational leadership) have bought into a bill of goods that suggests the former cannot find their true place in the kingdom without the wisdom and guidance of the latter. While mentor relationships are certainly supported by even a cursory reading of scripture, the dynamic that exists has taken some very sound ideas past the point of absurdity.

    For example, while the word "pastor" is certainly derived from the language of tending livestock, there is no place in scripture (that I can find) where anyone other than Christ is called a shepherd. Yet, we commonly hear our clergy referred to as "shepherds" of "the flock," and treated as if they have some special access to the mind of God, that your run-of-the-mill Spirit-filled believer doesn't. This sort of hierarchy seems to fly in the face of the fellowship dynamic that Christ exhibited with those he called his friends (not his underlings or his students).

    The fact is, we're all in this together. We all fall, we all (hopefully) get back up. The special conditions under which we place our "leaders" are arbitrary, capricious and devised to scratch the itch of religious people for control and self-righteousness. I can think of a number of good, Christ-following guys who have been destroyed by other "godly" men because of a single mistake. Where Jesus would have said, "Go, and sin no more," our religious leaders just say, "Go."

    Personally, in response to the book title, I think we're more saved than religious people want to think.

  2. Thanks Dorsey for the comment. I appreciate your thoughtful and candid response.

  3. I'm not always thoughtful, but I'm always candid. : )
    I appreciate the way you put yourself out there. Not many people in ministry do that. Good on ya.