While the debate rages (or rambles) on in Reformed circles about the Christian’s motivation for obedience, a piece that seems to be missing from much of the discussion is the crucial role that love plays in our obedience to our Heavenly Father.
It seems that one of the major bones of contention between the two sides is that some want to preserve a place where it is legitimate to motivate the Christian to general growth and obedience by preaching threats of punishment to induce fear in the believer.
It is crucial to note here that I am not discussing the role of the law in confronting unrepentant sin. It ought to go without questioning that pastors must confront sin in the life of their congregants with the law of God. Should pastors meet with resistance and/or rejection of God’s law in their people, then reminding them of the possible judgment that awaits such open rebellion is a very necessary and very pastoral means of caring for their sheep.
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Tom Wenger graduated in 2003 from Westminster Seminary California with an MA in Historical Theology. He has since pastored in Washington D.C., Annapolis, and is presently pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Crofton, MD. He is author of the essay “The New Perspective On Calvin: Responding To Recent Calvin Interpretations” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 50 (2007): 311–28. Tom is Vice-Chairman of the Heidelberg Reformation Association.
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