Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Every serious Christian should read Lewis Benson's A Universal Christian Faith (formerly Catholic Quakerism) because it solves the problem of "I know what God requires but I don't have the power to carry it out." Who has not felt the tension between what the Bible spells out as Christian behavior and one's own moral impotence?
This inability to do right is the human condition apart from the direct guidance of God. And, though many Christians believe they get this guidance through Scripture, this is one of the points Benson addresses. He states, "God...created man as a being with whom he could converse. [Man's] creator visits him and speaks to him, demanding a reply." [p. 16]
Benson is describing an encounter with a living being—the One who created us. This is not the same as reading the Bible and lifting from it prescriptive commands that then become a burden to us because we can't obey them. By contrast, God's voice comes with power: Whatever he tells us to do, in the direct encounter that is our only true communion with him, he gives us the ability to do.
If you're caught between what you know you should do, and the endless struggle in which you fall short, this book is for you. Along with directing the reader to a dynamic, conversational relationship with God, Benson describes how this living interaction is the foundation of the true church.
In the church led directly by God, human authority cannot predominate and exercise its inevitable tyranny. Nor can the opposite occur, where there are no core beliefs nor any moral standard. Instead, Benson shows how listening to the voice of God can "release the maximum of moral energy" and also grant us the liberty of the sons of God whereby we can live a righteous life free of the strictures of legalism.
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