Friday, September 09, 2005

5. The Gospel. I really don't like using this word. Number one, it sounds so churchy. Number two, it requires a translation when talking to people who are not in the "church circle." It has become one of those codified words that can even have a prejorative connotation to some people because of the way it has been abused or polluted. The Good News is what it is all about. The death of Christ for sins, his Burial, and his Resurrection. There is so much packed into the Christ Event that it is hard to imagine anyone truly comprehending all of the first level truths, much less the second level applicational truths.

I believe the Good News is enough. That is just bottom line with me. It is enough to bring us to God. It is enough to create in us a heart of worship. It is enough to nurture us spiritually into reflecting the image of God. It is enough to form a social ethic. It is enough to create community. It is enough to construct a world view. It is enough to convict us of our sin, yet draw us intimately into his presence. It is enough to heal our brokenness. Simply, it is enough.

I do not want to substitute a system, a curriculum, a set of rules, a trend or a name for it. It is the power, the wisdom and the weakness of God.

You know, something I never saw before until I read one of those books written by someone in the scholarly community, was the way Paul interacted with the Good News. I had one of those paradigm shifting moments. When Paul writes, he does not just give us a telegraph from God. It is not a fax from heaven as some would put it. He does not pull out a list of rules he wants us to follow. Like a skilled surgeon, he cuts into the Christ Event, and dissects it, and analyzes it from every angle. He basically unpacks the Good News, displays it for us in a clear way, and then turns around and says, "Since this is what Jesus did, we should live in this way." Sure, he goes on some tangents every now and then, he addresses some local issues in his letters. But to boil it all down, he looks at the Christ Event and uses it as a model and paradigm for faithfulness to God. And don't be fooled, the Good News it not just about salvation or discipleship. It not just a private matter. The Christ Event is cosmic. It deals with the Powers, the Law, Death, the Flesh, Sin, the Future, the Past, Community, New Creation. Wow, it is the total package. How could we neglect such a creative power? How could we switch the spotlight from the Good News on to our well manicured system of doctrines? How can we allow our own passion for glory and control eclipse the unfathomable act of God in Christ?

Could it be that our wisdom has crowded out the wisdom of God? Is it possible that we have allowed our affection for "fixing" people, numerical growth and "results" to blind us from the total package that is able to change both us and other people? We are not the first to stumble over the message, or to be turned off by such a "backwards" approach to God or people.

Wouldn't it be great to be a part of a movement that allowed the Good News to not only Shape it, but Fuel it as well? Can the Good News really do that? Just ask Paul.

The Good News is enough.

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