Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Flat Scripture

I overheard a couple of people talking theology and they were speaking about how Scripture should be read, understood, and exegeted. I don't really know what conclusions they ultimately made about how one should read God's Word, but one thing they kept repeating is that to believe that the Gospel is about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and that to go and proclaim this Good News to the world was a "flat" reading of scripture. That to do so was too individualistic and lifeless. It robs God the ability to work in and through a community of people for the Kingdom. And, it leaves out the poor and helpless.

I found that pretty offensive. I believe that God's Word is so dynamic and alive. That the words written for the people then and for us now are powerful. The thing is, words have meaning. If we go to God's Word and read it in context, we can determine what was being said and why it was being said. We can apply it in that fashion and use for us today. The Gospel of Jesus is such Good News because it is for EVERYONE.

To say that I can have eternal life through Jesus today because of his great sacrifice is not "flat". It's the truth. And for us to think we're better than The Writer of Scripture is heresy. It's not clever. It isn't encouraging. We aren't called to rethink Scripture in order to keep people coming. We're called to proclaim this Good News to everyone we meet.

The Gospel is for all people, not just poor and alienated people. The rich need to hear this message as much as the poor...because in reality, we are all poor. We are all alienated. We are all prisoners. We all have sinned and need Jesus.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." -- Matthew 5:3
We don't have to reinvent Scripture for it to be alive and amazing. It doesn't have to be a eureka moment every time someone preaches God's Word. We don't need for it to say something different every time out of fear of it being boring and repetitive and "flat". We know from His Word that the message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing.

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." -- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Paul called it from the beginning of the church. This has been happening for a long time. Trying to reinvent God's Word for today is not Good News. THAT robs God. THAT is what Jesus warned us about.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits." -- Matthew 7:15-20
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." -- Galatians 1:6-9
I can tell you that I don't live an "individualistic" Christianity. I am seeking to produce fruit out of the salvation I have received from this Gospel of Jesus. It is a faith full of joy, hope, love, evangelism, helping the helpless, and proclaiming Christ and Him crucified. And I am not alone. I know too many people doing the same thing. You cannot call THAT flat.

In my opinion, the new theologies (which are just recycled old heresies) are the ones that are flat. They are flat wrong. Those theologies truly rob us of the joy in Christ by alienating people from hope. The truth is we are all sinners and need Jesus to save us. What joy he brings when we finally find salvation!

Call me "flat", but I find the true Gospel much more appealing than recycled folly.