“In other words, we cannot preach the gospel without preaching morality. People cannot receive the good news without first believing the bad news, and that bad news is that they are lawbreakers and rebels. They must understand that morality is not an arbitrary convention, but that it stands over them in judgment and that it is a matter of divine imposition.
Are morals overrated? Is it a waste of time and energy to lead a morally pure lifestyle? Should youth pastors exhort their students to obey their parents, to tell the truth, and to read their Bibles? Or are Christians somehow beyond those rules now? These types of questions are inevitably asked of those who speak out against moralistic preaching. But these questions betray an underlying misunderstanding of the dangers of moralism. Please allow me to go on the record and state that, as a former youth pastor, I think morals are a good idea. I subscribe to the notion that I have a responsibility to advocate obedience, honesty, and sexual purity to those students who have been entrusted to my care. I also believe Christians should read their Bibles. Regularly.
However, I am growing increasingly dissatisfied with moralistic preaching. In fact, I have had quite enough of it. Over and over again, I have seen bits and pieces of it scattered among the wreckage of shipwrecked faith, too often in the lives of close friends. It masquerades as Bible preaching, but is hollow, shallow, and powerless. And at the end of the day, moralistic preaching has probably done more to destroy professing Christians than alcohol, tobacco, rock ‘n’ roll, and TV combined.