I recently read this article. In it, the author talks about how college students have a misunderstanding of what Christianity is. She quotes Kara Powell, who has done extensive research on the issue. "The students involved in our research definitely tended to view the Gospel as a list of dos and do-nots, a list of behaviors. We asked our students when they were college juniors, “How would you define what it really means to be a Christian?” and one out of three—and these were all youth group students—didn’t mention Jesus Christ in their answer; they mentioned behaviors."
I do not believe that this is a misconception that is only reserved for students. I believe it is one that many adults and even pastors struggle with. Early on in our attending UCC, my wife was talking to someone about the church, a member who had been around awhile. Her perception of the church? She said it seemed to be growing slowly, but that for the most part it was a revolving door. She had seen a lot of people come and go during the couple of years that she had been attending.
Is it any wonder? The author of the article quotes Michael Horton from his book, Christless Christianity, a man whom was also quoted a lot in a book I just finished reading. He states, "The law guides, but it does not give. For all who seek to be acceptable to God by their obedience, love, holiness, and service, the call to obedience only condemns. It shows us what we have not done, and the more we hear it properly, the more we actually lose our moral self-confidence and cling to Christ. It stops our inner spin machine that creates a false view of God and ourselves, (pg. 132, emphasis mine)
I've already ordered it for my Kindle. Should make for some good reading. Is it any wonder I want to turn a few tables over?