Friday, March 05, 2010


The Gospel humiliated?

So, Jared Wilson wrote an afterword for a book that he reprinted here. It got a lot of discussion, most notably from Justin Taylor and Dan Edelen.

Wilson's title cuts to the heart of it:
An Earnest Call For Evangelical Leaders To Recover The Gospel From Its Present Humiliation
I was struck first that I do not think "The Gospel" can be humiliated - we can be, but it cannot. The truth remains the truth regardless of what we do with it. But I am not a big fan of discussing "The Gospel" in that fashion anyway. It reduces the good news of Jesus Christ to some paradigmic formulation of our invention.

Christianity is truth, and that is important, but it is so much more. Edelen goes in the right direction when he says:
As Kierkegaard so ably said, if we American Christians genuinely lived the Gospel we say we believe, every single aspect of how we live, work, love, commune, and bleed would be radically altered. Almost none of the way we live would resemble the lifestyles we have becomes so enamored of. We wouldn’t recognize our old lives at all. And we would look so profoundly different from the rest of the world that it would have to sit up and take notice.
But again, there is that "gospel" language that I find problematic. We don't act on the truth of Jesus, it acts on us. Our problem is not that we don't "act like Christians," our problem is that we are not transformed.

Here I am using words to describe something that is decidedly unwordy - A difficult task. Truth, "the gospel," is an intellectual concept. We are part intellect, but we are not all intellect. We are very concerned about how we "feel" about Jesus. Again, emotions are part of us, but they do not define us. Hence we refer to the "spiritual." That words means some level that defines the very essence of who we are. It is not another part of us - its ALL of us. We have to contact Jesus on that level. And that requires the least likely thing in any modern American, genuine self-examination.

In the end it is simple. You want to "save the gospel from its present humiliation?" Then each of us, and it must start with leadership, must allow ourselves to be humiliated.

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