August 12, 2020

A Gospel Thought for Monday Morning

By Chaplain Mike

To start our week out, here is a  good thought from Tullian Tchividjian:

I once assumed the gospel was simply what non-Christians must believe in order to be saved, but after they believe it, they advance to deeper theological waters. Jonah helped me realize that the gospel isn’t the first step in a stairway of truths but more like the hub in a wheel of truth. As Tim Keller explains it, the gospel isn’t simply the ABCs of Christianity, but the A-through-Z. The gospel doesn’t just ignite the Christian life; it’s the fuel that keeps Christians going every day. Once God rescues sinners, his plan isn’t to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it.

Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, p. 16

Comments

  1. So very true. Every day is a “repent and believe the Gospel” day for me. Actually, several times a day.

  2. Great reminder. Thanks for this.

  3. What feeds that mentality? Maybe this line of thought: “The gospel is so simple that there HAS to be more! You can’t just give constant alter calls, you’ve got to move on to solid foods at some point!” Well, it is simple, but it’s also unfathomably rich.

  4. I’ve said for some time now, (commenting on my tragic, anemic interactions with Evangelicalism), that it is as though once the Gospel message of grace has gotten someone through the door and has made them a member, it is then time to be done with all of that grace stuff. Once you become a believer in Christ grace is not for you anymore….. now it’s time for bible study, unwavering church attendance, tithing and the holy quest to be beyond reproach; i.e., now it’s time to work. It stands out as a clarion logical fallacy, that if an individual critiques the “church” they are often met with the response: ‘There is no perfect church so stop trying to find one.’ What is so astonishing about this pat response is that, while the “church” maintains this liberty for itself, it does not do so for its members. Week after week people pick themselves up and go to church to hear about how they’re not living up to the ideal Christian life, how they are not quite there yet, and how if they would just try harder, perhaps employ these easy to understand and use 7 steps they would experience true freedom, fullness and have an ever increasing faith. It is sentiments like these that have severed my relationship with institutional Christianity. Jesus has left the building, and so have I.

    Great post Chaplain Mike.

    • Week after week people attend church and hear about how they must embrace ‘the elementary principles of Christ…….. {about} laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.’ Seriously, week in and week out these themes resound from pulpits across the North American Evangelical landscape……. and Paul said to move on from these things. The North American Evangelical church is a three-ringed circus….. a sinking ship that is painfully double-minded.

  5. I agree – if the Gospel isn’t defined down to “Jesus died for my sins so I can go to heaven”. See Scot McKnight

    for a fuller explanation.

    What feeds that mentality? Maybe this line of thought: “The gospel is so simple that there HAS to be more! You can’t just give constant alter calls, you’ve got to move on to solid foods at some point!”

    I was in fact just thinking – what do we do with the clear implication in scripture that there is a growth and maturity in Christ that moves on from basics to deeper waters?

    12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

    1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.

    Heb 5:12-6:4

    • Those are the secrets of the Kingdom that Jesus shared with His disciples (GMark Chapter 4 verse 34) and Clement of Alexandria referred to in a letter that Morton Smith discovered at Mar Saba. Just ask the young man who followed Jesus into the garden. 😀

    • <>
      New International Version
      1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

      4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

      8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

      13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

      ‘Let us move on to perfection….’ Love = Perfection = Love. Love is greater than faith. How tragic it is that this clear message in scripture is so muted and blinded in our day and age. I get it though. We prefer that which we can systematize, that which can be replicated and verified. It’s easier. Love, however, does not and will not be so manipulated.

      I’m sure we all know that the word Gospel means good news. I ask everyone, how do you respond to the hearing of good news? With joy? With elation? Happiness? I know I keep using this word, but I can think of no more appropriate word…. tragic that in our espousing of the Gospel people respond like they are hearing bad news.

  6. Wow – my formatting got messed up on the previous comment. If no kind admin fixes – “for a fuller explanation” isn’t supposed to be quoted and “I was in fact just thinking…” was my sentence as well. The rest is a quote of Jason and Hebrews respectively…

  7. “As Tim Keller explains it, the gospel isn’t simply the ABCs of Christianity, but the A-through-Z.”

    I few months ago, I wrote an iMonk comment that was almost this statement word-for-word. I was unaware of this quote by Tim Keller at the time. Any plagiarism was purely coincidental.

  8. It is so refreshing to see a community of believers attempting to live in the relationship between God and man and stop trying to make it more complicated and more rule driven. As I conversed with a group last week another pastor interrupted me and told me that I was too “focused on grace and not making people better”… really?

    We are having this discussion on my blog right now since that meeting lead me to do a great deal of thinking. How can we both try and keep the Law and live in Grace? I think some people skipped over the letter to Galatia…

  9. I agree that there are deeper waters of the gospel to be explored. But I think we often make the mistake of applying a purely scholastic paradigm to it — a progression in which one moves from basic information to more complex ideas and constructs, or in which one moves from obvious truths to the pursuit of secret or hidden knowledge. Maybe it’s more like the passage from the foyer to the throne room — a journey in which the closer one comes to the throne of His glory and grace, the closer to the floor one gets, until ultimately one is completely prostrated, surrendured, and dead to self.

  10. Best thing I’ve read in a long time. Thank you.
    There is no moving beyond the gospel.