Thursday, August 7, 2014

Messed Up Gospel

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All throughout the history of the Christ Movement we've gotten off track in how we understand and teach the Great Announcement of the Gospel.  Part of the reason for this blog is provide a place where people interested in Christianity can get past all that and see what it was that Jesus started.

Here is a random sampling of 14 ways we mess up the Gospel and get off message. They from a blog post by Howard Snyder called 14 Favorite Ways to Twist the Gospel.  By all means  read the whole thing here. It's a good list!

#11. Substitute heaven for the kingdom of God.
In the Bible, the kingdom of God is as comprehensive as the reality, sovereignty, and love of God. No spirit/matter dualism. Most people in Jesus’ days understood this; they knew that “kingdom of heaven” in Matthew, for example, was just another way of saying “kingdom of God.”

In the Bible we see the kingdom of God as both now/future, heavenly/earthly, personal/social, sudden/gradual, inward/outward, in a mysterious dialectic with the church which itself is neither the kingdom of God nor divorceable from God’s kingdom.

#2. Focus solely on “personal salvation.”
The Bible does not teach “personal salvation” in the private, individualistic way that phrase has come to mean. Rather it teaches in multiple ways and through many metaphors the reconciliation of all things (e.g., Eph. 1, Col. 1)—though not without judgment.

#12. Faith just a part of life.
We compartmentalize. Our Christian walk gets reduced to just one part of our lives, and that one part is often reduced to simply what we believe.

But now abide faith, hope, and love—and the Bible makes clear which is the “greatest” and most comprehensive. According to the gospel, faith is not the ultimate reality; it is the means to the end of loving God and others and all God’s creation with our whole being. And that 24/7, as the saying goes.

The biblical picture is faith working by love; love enabled by faith and powered by hope—full confidence in God’s amazing full-salvation-for-all-creation promises.

#5. Thinking economics and politics are not directly gospel concerns.
Walling off economics and politics from the gospel, placing them outside our discipleship, is unbiblical dualism. The gospel is an economic and political reality, so by definition the church is both economic and political. But economics and politics are to be understood in light of the gospel, not the other way round. The kingdom of God is the comprehensive framework.

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