Four ways teaching Christians to embrace “I’m the worst sinner I know” is harming the church

SermonTitleSome background of the teaching

When CJ Mahaney began proclaiming “I’m the worst sinner I know” somewhere around the late 1990s, it certainly wasn’t the first time this teaching had been promoted. But from what I could find, this was when it began to go mainstream.

Mahaney himself claimed it regularly, often even as a way of introducing himself when he would stand up to speak. “I’m CJ Mahaney, and I’m the worst sinner I know.”

But it isn’t only Mahaney who is supposed to be the worst sinner he knows. Each one of us Continue reading

Power over Porn

Not long ago I had the privilege of having a deep conversation with a young man who was attending an excellent local Bible school.

What made this conversation unusual was that this young man began telling me about an addiction to pornography that had gripped him since he was nine. He was one of the oldest children in a large family, so hiding his addiction had been no small feat, but he managed it. Continue reading

Free from sin

“How can I pray for you?” I asked my friend.

She mentioned a few things. Then she hesitated. “I have so much trouble with sin,” she said. “I keep sinning. I feel suspicious of people, that they don’t like me. I’m so jealous—-I see other people doing well, and I feel full of jealousy. Just sin, all the time.”

 I could have laughed and said, “Welcome to the club of humanity.” But I didn’t. Continue reading

Is Satan really a defeated foe in my everyday life?

I was reading a little booklet about how Satan is a defeated foe. The text said something like, “So why is Satan so powerful in the world today? Because Christians haven’t believed that he is powerless.”

I’m sorry, but this makes no logical sense. If you don’t believe he has no power then he has power? Just believe that he is already defeated, and then he will be defeated? Continue reading

Should my life be centered around the gospel?

“So what do you mean by gospel?”

My friend was taken aback by my question. She had just been talking about the importance of living a gospel-centered life, based on the transforming power of the gospel.

But I had been feeling some concern that gospel is becoming more and more of a buzzword Continue reading

Writing about triumph like Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens loved England. Because of this love, he felt a deep sense of urgency to help his homeland change in important ways. He wanted people to care about the poor, to care about orphans, and to arise from their complacency.

While his contemporary George Mueller worked for change by trusting God and starting an orphanage, Charles Dickens worked for change by writing books. Continue reading

Maturity: praying in faith or in fear?

I was doing a Biblical word study, because I wanted to understand the concept of perfection, often translated “maturity.” After all, with two children young adults, it seemed about time.

Mature, perfect, complete, sanctified, holy, whole-hearted. The study got bigger and bigger, but I kept doggedly Continue reading