We are reading Cost of Discipleship in our small group. It is a surprisingly readable book and very, very challenging. I came across this quote in my reading.
"Clergy frequently come across cases like this nowadays. The outcome is usually that self-imparted absolution confirms the man in his disobedience, and makes him plead ignorance of the kindness as well as the commandment of God. he complains that God's commandment is uncertain, and susceptible of different interpretations. ... It is the complete turning point. The pastor should give up arguing with him, and stop taking his difficulties seriously. That will really be in the man's own interest, for he is only trying to hide himself behind them. It is now time to take the bull by the horns, and say: "Only those who obey believe." Thus the flow of the conversation is interrupted, and the pastor can continue: "You are disobedient, you are trying to keep some part of your life under your own control. That is what is preventing you from listening to Christ and believing in his grace. You cannot hear Christ because you are willfully disobedient. Somewhere in your heart you are refusing to listen to his call. Your difficulty is your sins." The Cost of Discipleship, p 69, Chapter 2
I've been tracking much of my sermon prep online. This series on encountering God is at Encounter . I also rewrote our church homepage. It is somewhat interactive. Go there and take the poll! The Crossover Home Page