The following is taken from the introduction to David F. Wells book Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover its Moral Vision [Eerdmans, 1998]. Wells is also the author of No Place for Truth and God in the Wasteland. I give your this excerpt here because it goes far in explaining why abuse victims (sexual, domestic, and spiritual) are being treated so cruelly today when they seek help from their churches. The fact is, they are a threat to the “success” of the corporate machine that calls itself the church (but is not):
Here are some excellent truths about fake repentance. These words are from a pastor of old named Thomas Watson in England:
COUNTERFEITS of Repentance (from Thomas Watson’s The Doctrine of Repentance, Puritan Paperbacks series)
To discover what true repentance is, I shall first show what it is not. There are several counterfeits of repentance, which might occasion that saying of Augustine that “repentance damns many”. He meant a false repentance; a person may delude himself with counterfeit repentance:
You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)
The sum of the Law of God is the two greatest commandments: love God, love your neighbor. Jesus said so. No doubt about it.
Now, this is a rather strange thing. This means then that when we give our entire being, heart, mind, and soul, to the Lord, we are enabled to do the same to our neighbor. Love God. Love others. It is strange, I say, because it would seem that logically if you give all of yourself to the Lord there will be nothing left to give to your neighbor. But it isn’t so. The more we love the God of the Bible, the living and true God, the more love flows from us to others.