(See the update at the end...)
About a week ago, I mentioned this article about a church in Toronto that is taking God and Jesus out of the life of the church. Instead, they are committed to re-forming God into something more palatable to their way of thinking. And the focus is going to be more on doing good deeds than believing the right things. In fact, the pastor recently had a book published, called With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe.
I mentioned before that news like this makes me more sad than angry. I mean, I agree with my brother Tim that once you strip Christianity of God, the Bible, sin, salvation, and any of the essentials of the faith, you really don't have Christianity any more. And this pastor has reduced the faith to one thing: Love one another.
Abd that's what makes me sad. This pastor and her followers want to do something good; namely, they want to spread love, beauty, and justice in the world. But they've made two critical mistakes. One, by throwing out Scripture and God, they've cut themselves off from any objective source for what is moral or immoral behavior. "Good" is whatever they decide it to be. Groups that create their own morality sometimes end up doing great evil. (If you want proof of that, look at the 'isms that flourished in the last century, nazism, fascism, communism...)
The second thing is even more sad from my perspective. They've replaced what God wants, a living relationship with us, with what they want, a moral code. God is not impressed with our good behavior. The only righteousness that God wants is the righteousness He gives us when we come to faith. And these folks, like a lot of people, are trying to do holy things without actually having any holiness. That doesn't work.
It reminds me of the verse from Jeremiah 2,
My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Living a good life apart from God is doubly sad, because you have no standard to judge good from, and God requires more than holy living. He requires holy being, and that only comes through Jesus...
[Update--Apparently, the article I mentioned at the beginning is only available now if you pay for it. Don't bother. You'll get a good idea what it's about by reading here and here...]