Monday, November 1, 2010
Schizophrenic preaching; schizophrenic Christianity
We looked at the concept of the “gospel but” in a recent post... it goes like this... Jesus paid it all “but” you must do this. The “do this” varies from person to person but, essentially it is the same concept with the same disastrous results. The “but” is always a fleshly action that can be accomplished by the believer. The person who is presenting the Jesus paid it all “but” message always tells the people that it is because Jesus paid it all and did it all that we are enabled to do whatever the “but” is. What is never explained is how Jesus does it for us exactly or, what the result of his enabling will be. In other words, the catalyst for our enabling is never explained. The person hearing the message is always left with a question as to how this can be done. Unfortunately for most, when they are unable to perform whatever the “but” is they merely think that it is just them...wrong, let me let you in on a secret; the person giving the “gospel but” sermon doesn’t have a clue as to how Jesus will do it for him or her and they always feel inadequate also.... never satisfied.... never secure.... always presenting the gospel “but,”
There are over nineteen volumes of the Talmud containing thousands of pages of writings. This was written down to explain the operation of obeying the Law of Moses. It took thousands of pages and at the end of the day there is no one way of interpretation.... that’s right, the rabbis simply do not agree. This by the way is likely what Jesus referred to when he spoke to the Pharisees about their traditions and the traditions of the fathers. Jesus on the other hand was able to explain this in just a few words. He spoke those in Matthew 7:12 and Matthew 22:38-40.
So then, what is it that the gospel is supposed to produce in the saint? The answer is love (the fruit of the Spirit.) It is not the “gospel but” this or that. It is simply the gospel and love. Oddly, the “gospel but” preaching does the opposite of producing love. It produces anger, fear, anxiety, despondency and resentment. This is precisely why the people of God, the saints are so doggone mean. This is the source of their angry judgmental attitudes. This is the source of their fear of never being quite acceptable... always thinking.... God did all that for me, how can I commit myself to him? So sad.
This all stems from a constitutional, legal reading of the scripture. The constitutional reading is forced by seeing the bible as the word of God and not just the Holy Scriptures. This is precisely why Jesus and his followers redefined the phrase word of God to mean the gospel or Jesus,the living gospel. Yet the constructional reading reigns. This is unfortunate because we have established many times in this blog that Jesus taught a redemptive focus to the scripture. He taught that the scripture was a narrative of redemption and God’s grace. He taught that God was abba (papa).
The truth is that faith in the gospel alone... without the “buts” produces in us a love for God and what’s more, peace with God. This is so important. This is reconciliation. Being reconciled to God is realizing that he is not mad at us... not expecting anything from us and, only desiring that we love him with all our heart, mind and, strength. We can only do this from resting in the peace he has provided; a peace that passes all understanding. We will NEVER see the true transformation of this world until we totally embrace the gospel without the “buts.”
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