As we exchanged on another post, the sentiment, “The world would be a better place if there were more Christians in it” kept coming up. Echo and Rube seem to champion this idea as do most relational Po-Mo transformationalists who beckon sinful saints to change the world by making it more Christian. I find it completely at odds with Reformed confessionalism. Eventually, the discussion turned to grace and sanctification, as I think it naturally should.
Anyway, I would rather let Clark speak at length. As he does, an important aspect seems to stand out, as evidenced in a couple of statements:
“Many evangelicals are also influenced by this way of thinking. Their piety and theology revolve around the quest to deny or over come their humanity…. Nature generally may need to be renewed, but certainly human nature (it was humans who sinned and they who are redeemed) must be renewed by grace. Humanity, however, remains humanity even in a state of grace.”
It is not, as some seem to think, that I have no category for sanctification, obedient Christian living, a life of response, etc. (Indeed, what finally wooed me away from Lutheranism and to the Reformed tradition was the former’s relative lack of these categories and the latter’s robust, biblical articulation. And it should go without saying that it eclipses broad Evangelicalism’s categories of glorified moralism or legalism.)
It’s that when you unpack “more Xians, less sin” far enough, I think you have a theology that, as I like to put it, wants to “transcend its own humanity.” In this way, I discern more Evangelical thinking than Confessional. I hear more Anabaptist/Fanatic undertones in it that conceive of grace to overwhelm nature to the point that Christians transcend their standard-issue sin in their shared humanity, and out pops, “The world would be better if there were more of us around.” What, more sinners? It seems one thing to be a justified sinner, another to over-realize our justification and call it a doctrine of sanctification.
Like I have said before, I think part of the problem here is that some are not cognizant of what they may really be trying to say, namely, “If our ideals were more in place, the world would be better.” Well, who could argue with that? But our ideals are dependant upon us to become reality. This is Paul’s argument when he says that there is nothing at all wrong with the Law, but the wheels fall off when it is sinners who are the lynchpin. (Frankly, inasmuch as even false religions are functions of how we all have equal access to Law, the case could be made that the world would be a better place if Buddhist ideals were more in place. True enough, all false religions are, by definition, functions of self-justification. But is there anything all that arguable in the content of the virtues of the Eight-Fold Path? I think the world would be pretty good if all that was put into place!)
“More Christians, less sin” is actually bloated with narcissism, a deluded view of humanity that does not square one bit with true Calvinism. When I hear it, it comports with what I would expect from PREF circles.