Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Gospel does your neighbor need to hear?

Your neighbor Bob has shared some problems he's having in his life. He feels trapped and burdened.

"Hi Bob, I see you are a sinner. Do you want to hear some good news? God used to require His people to kill animals to receive forgiveness for their sins. Then Jesus came to die for your sins. You don't have to kill animals as burnt offerings to restore your relationship with God anymore. Confess your sins to God, believe in Jesus and what he did on the cross, and you will have eternal life."

Bob:"Huh? I wasn't talking about my sins. And the thought of killing an animal as a sacrifice for my sins has never crossed my mind. So what's the message of the cross have to do with the problems I'm burdened with?"

OR should we try this good news message:

"Did you know God's power is available to you? You don't have to do everything in your own strength and wisdom. If you allow God to rule in your life, instead of your selfish ambitions He will restore your life to what it was intended to be."

Which good news message is closest to the message Jesus preached as He traveled from town to town?

If Bob accepts the good news message of the reign of God, he will want to learn more about how this all works. As he studies the Scriptures he will also learn about the work Jesus did on the cross, and understand the problem of sin. Bob wouldn't be the first person to be saved without an understand of Christ's work on the cross first.

Would the good news Jesus and His disciples preached before the cross still work today?

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Anonymous said...

(So is the neighbors name 'Chuck' or 'Bob'?)


You pose some thoughtful questions here. Maybe it depends on the particular scenario. Some folks seem to have a sense of "spiritual debt" and a desire for that "account" to be made right.
Whatever the case, the 'good news' is rooted in the fact that Jesus is the true Lord of the world and that we are invited to dwell in His kingdom and economy.

The other side to this, though, is that I don't believe the 'good news' can really be 'the good news' without an earthly counterpart; The Church.

The message itself is powerful, but I am thinking that the message can go unconsidered if it's divorced from the reality which it is designed to create.

I'm not talking so much about "church as we know it" but God's foretaste of renewed creation expressed in living, Christ centered community in the here and now.

I haven't read enough here to know your thoughts on 'Church', and I hope that I'm not over complicating the message of your post...
And I suppose that introducing your neighbor into the reign of God would be a beginning of authentic church life between you...
Ahh, lot's to consider here, I suppose.

Jonathan said...

Thanks, yes that's just like me, I'm never good with names... and here I forgot the name of my imaginary neighbor from one sentence to the next... I'll go edit that now - thanks. :)

I think I'm with you on the role Christ's church plays in the kingdom of God, He wants us to be part of His redeeming work together.

For the sake of unity with my local 'church' I have censored some of my random thoughts on how we often do church.... so sorry if you are unable to read my take on that topic. Moving all Christ followers towards unity with each other, with Christ as the head of His Church is a complicated challenge, and I don't have many answers to what role we can each play in that... But if we each recognize that Christ is Lord, maybe He will move us each in the right direction.

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate the feedback.

God bless!

Anonymous said...

"Moving all Christ followers towards unity with each other, with Christ as the head of His Church."

Amen, brother. Amen.