The Trouble with Moralism

You've probably noticed disconnects between what people say in worship and how they live. That’s why more church leaders are talking about the difference between moralism and genuine faith formation. They’re asking how worship can form people to picture faith and life as so much more than a list of do’s and don’ts.

Even Google knows about David and Goliath. Enter “five smooth stones” and “sling” in the search box and you’ll get thousands of websites about the well-known Bible story. Many explain the story as a tale of courage, which is how you may have learned it in Sunday school. Sermons posted online ask listeners to name their personal Goliaths: things like cheating, using drugs, or problems as giant as AIDS and poverty.

Preachers describe David’s five smooth stones as the ammunition we need to face impossible odds. They exhort us to faith, obedience, prayer, and humility.

Yet you’ve probably noticed disconnects between what people say in worship and how they live. That’s why more church leaders are talking about the difference between moralism and genuine faith formation. They’re asking how worship can form people to picture faith and life as so much more than a list of do’s and don’ts.

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