The simplicity of the Gospel

I’ve debated on how many different ways to present this. I’ve got friends, acquaintances, and peers on both sides of the current hot button debate going on regarding that pastor from the Midwest who wrote that book. I care for both, but I continue to see the shots volleyed back and forth.

I try to steer clear of the debate now. Most of the time I fail.

But it got me thinking about the things we do, say, write, and the things we believe about those who say they believe in Christ, some of which was prompted by a great blog bost from Matthew Turner regarding a Driscoll video from this weekend. So I’ll just pose it this way.

When, in the last 2000 years was saying,

“Do I believe in heaven? Yes.”
“Do I believe in hell? Yes.”
“Do I believe in heaven after death? Yes.”
“Do I believe in hell after death? Yes.”
“Do I believe in the Bible? Yes.”
“I believe Jesus is the Son of God.”
“I affirm the Trinity.”
“I believe Jesus died on a cross, and was resurrected 3 days later.”
“I believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

NOT enough proof that one is a follower of Christ??

Is it that he doesn’t exegesis deeply enough exactly what all that means, using multiple Scripture references, then cross-referencing the references with more references? Is it that he doesn’t say it exactly the way you, I, or countless theologians, scholars, pastors, and “church folk” over the decades and centuries have said it? Is it that he writes in a style

that is visibly
deliberate,

artistic,

and only
fills a page with

100 words?

Is it his delivery? His prose? The fact that he calls the Holy Spirit an “essence” and not the Holy Ghost?

Some people are pastors. That’s it. That’s what they do. They pastor. Rob Bell is a:

pastor
musician
poet
artist
and, yes, a performer.

Most can’t reconcile those things. So we’ve got questions being asked that people don’t want to confront. It rubs against their religious grain. Part of the bubble of Christendom that exists in 2011, though, is that if I don’t like you asking the questions you ask, I can claim you’re crazy, liberal, a universalist, or…..a heretic. Where does the bubble mentality come in? It comes in by acting like those questions DON’T need to be addressed, or feeling threatened because they are (or because of who’s doing the asking). Know this: the questions are being asked, by people inside and outside the Church, and they were being asked long before a pastor from Grand Rapids wrote a book about it.

At the core, though, is this truth, which I eluded to in my previous post; God’s sovereignty is no less God’s sovereignty because questions are asked, or because someone writes a book, does an interview on national TV, or goes out on a book tour. God is still God, and He knows what’s going on. Somewhere amongst the co-opting of verses about how we as Christians have a right to “call out false teaching”, and post “timely” sermons online addressing Heaven and Hell, I believe that God is still there, over all creation saying, “I got this.”

And I think the same thing will be true then, that was true a week and a half ago when I reviewed “Love Wins”. Anything that is false, that flies against God’s word and is contrary to His ways, will fall aside and wither away. In the meantime, fearing the dialogue is little more than a reactionary response to something you claim doesn’t have the feet to stand in the first place. And wouldn’t that time be better spent doing something more productive?

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Comments

  • Ronnie  On March 30, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    ” “Do I believe in heaven? Yes.”
    “Do I believe in hell? Yes.”
    “Do I believe in heaven after death? Yes.”
    “Do I believe in hell after death? Yes.”
    “Do I believe in the Bible? Yes.”
    “I believe Jesus is the Son of God.”
    “I affirm the Trinity.”
    “I believe Jesus died on a cross, and was resurrected 3 days later.”
    “I believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

    NOT enough proof that one is a follower of Christ?? ”

    A demon or even the devil himself would answer yes to all of those questions. Haha

    That has nothing to do with anything, just a side note.

    I think that all of this could be solved if we remember two things:
    1). We are NOT all God’s children.
    2). None of us deserve anything but Hell due to our rebellion/sin.

    This is what happens if we leave out part of the gospel: God would be evil for sending people to an eternal Hell.

    God. Sin. Christ. Response.
    Don’t leave out the sin part.

    • Jeffrey  On March 31, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Thank you Ronnie. You just proved my point.

      • Ronnie  On March 31, 2011 at 10:05 am

        What was your point?

      • Ronnie  On March 31, 2011 at 10:13 am

        I guess better question: what is your point that I proved?

  • Jeffrey  On March 31, 2011 at 11:47 am

    That one can state the essentials, and it still not be enough.

    • Ronnie  On March 31, 2011 at 11:57 am

      I was just saying that saying yes to those things does not mean that you are a Christian. Which is true. Just saying something does not make you a Christian. Do you not also believe that?

  • Jeffrey  On March 31, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I do, but I also believe you are overthinking it. Because to say,

    “I believe Jesus is the Son of God.”
    “I believe Jesus died on a cross, and was resurrected 3 days later.”
    “I believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

    IS to affirm the Gospel.

    So what further statement/edict/proof do you need? What more can be added to what I listed above (which apparently isn’t good enough) that would win you over and convince you that someone who said all those things really DID believe?

    • Ronnie  On March 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      I never said that someone who says yes to those things are not a Christian. I only said that there is a possibility that they are not. If someone answered all those questions with a yes I would say that they show the signs of being a Christian. But only God knows their heart.

      On a side note, I would add a question that acknowledges we are sinners and that apart from our faith in Christ we deserve judgment and condemnation.

  • Jeffrey  On March 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I guess I read something else when you implied that by saying “A demon or even the devil himself would answer yes to all of those questions”, and “This is what happens if we leave out part of the gospel: God would be evil for sending people to an eternal Hell”. Especially when I never even mentioned the latter in my post. So….

    • Ronnie  On March 31, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Alright. Just to clarify the first part where I said a demon or the devil would say yes to those was the only direct response to your post. I was not saying that anyone was a demon, devil, heretic, or whatever just pointing out a fact.

      The second part was just what I think the overall problem is with this whole Love Wins mess and was not a response to your post.

      Also on a side note from looking at that Matt Turner blog you posted, it is so funny to see how hypocritical some Bell fans are. They got so mad for people bringing down, criticizing, or making fun of Bell and then they turn around and do it in the comments of that blog post to Driscoll. Too funny! I have no problem with it, I just think that it is really funny.

  • Jeffrey  On March 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    -I know what you meant in what you were saying. It still didn’t apply to the context of my post.

    -This isn’t about “Love Wins”.

    -Matthew Turner gets a large number of readers who are unsaved, unchurched, and not part of the “family” conversation. Without doing a comment-by-comment assessment, I’d say it’s less hypocritical and more indicative of how the “outside world” views this silliness of the current raging debate inside Christianity.

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