I'm working my way through Broken right now. Fabulous stuff:
... "the danger is, that by being so concerned with these hypocrites in the church you end up starving the sheep. And the end result of that, starving yourself as well." - Jonathan Fisk
(10:47) How often does it turn out that we even start on this path from the "if we can just" mentality that is mentioned in the book (Broken) that I'm looking around and I'm looking at the church and I'm seeing that the church isn't looking like what I think it ought to be. That is: "I'm not so worried about my own standing before God, I've come to a point where I think I'm doing pretty good. It's everybody else!" This is especially an easy thing for a pastor to do because of course we're spending our lives in the midst of this and we've got membership in this congregation or church that we have that well they just don't look like they really care. Yeah, I know how that is and so what's easy to do is to start trying to pinpoint what's wrong with that individual that they are perhaps not having faith, and then wanting to fix it. But then here's the thing. Why do you think that fixing it is a matter of the law? Because if they're not living the Christian life, as in they are not living in the "new obedience," the problem is not that we haven't taught them the law enough. But they don't really believe the gospel.reads a bit from the Augsburg confession article VIII
Now it may be a matter of the law not being taught enough in a manner in which it condemns them, and makes them aware of their need for the gospel, but it is a lack of faith that is the issue. Not a lack of "obedience."
which is to say, we recognize that in the church there are going to be false brethren.... we recognize this and we confess this as a reality lest we somehow become extremely surprised when we find that there are sinners in the church, not just sinners, there are unrepentant sinners. That means sinners without any faith at all. Now again here's the question. Having maybe been concerned about one of your sheep that they are an unrepentant sinner, is the answer then to make the entire sheepfold begin to believe that the mark of their Christianity is obedience, and put them back on the treadmill of the law? Or is the issue to go directly to that one unrepentant sinner who has no faith and actually speak words of conviction to them? Which isn't 'you need to be a better person so you can be a Christian!" the issue is "I'm not so sure you're a Christian." And the answer to that is repentance and faith in Christ, not 'oh, be good now.'
That's the challenge. The difficulty, the danger is, that by being so concerned with these hypocrites in the church you end up starving the sheep. And the end result of that, starving yourself as well."