Monday, March 01, 2010
A Balanced Message
We all love the phrase: ‘The Gospel is not good advice, it’s good news.’ Or at least, we should love it. It’s an essential reminder that we don’t preach a moral ladder to Jesus. Instead we announce that He has come down.Christ incarnated so that He could minister to the totality of our humanity. Use whatever divisional paradigm you want - intellectual/behavioral or mind/body/soul - Christ wishes to minister to all of it - ALL OF IT! And when we limit Him to only part of it, we not only reduce His impact, we make an idol of that part.
But I am worried about a similar error in our evangelism. It’s thinking that the Gospel is a good idea - even the best idea. The crowning ‘world view’ among ‘world views’.
In reality this is precisely the ‘good advice’ problem transposed to epistemology. Where ‘good advice’ preaching proclaims a moral ladder to Jesus, ‘good idea’ preaching proclaims a reasoned ladder to Jesus.
Both approaches are just as opposed to the good news as each other. One is moral pelagianism, the other is intellectual pelagianism.
Christ came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. The Pharisees had the Law, the problem was they had made an idol of it. Today, we often make an idol of God's immense grace.
The church is a tool, the most powerful tool, we have to make disciples of all men and nations. Yet many make church growth an idol - the point of it all instead of a means to an end.
Many of this issues develop becasue we see ourselves with limited resources. We fight between factions becasue "the church has to focus" or "the budget is limited." But the sad fact is GOD HAS NO SUCH LIMITATIONS. That does not mean we be fiscally imprudent, but it does mean that we have to understand and live like God has room in His Kingdom for ALL OF IT AND ALL OF US.
But that, of course, means we have to face the dark corners of ourselves so we can pace them too into His care. It's scary, but it is what needs to happen.