Friday, October 8, 2010

The Good News?

I was accused the other day of studying (the bible) too much. Yep, and the accusation didn’t come from a “non-believer”.

The comment came after a few discussions about salvation, the restoration of all things, love, grace,… well you get the point. A lot of stuff. After hearing me discuss God’s unconditional love for all people and restoration of all creation the person decided I had used the word “all” a few too many times.

He concluded the conversation with, “Listen, the ticket to heaven is belief in Jesus. Its that simple." There was also some mention of why you should believe just to be sure you don't go to hell. You know the "fire insurance" gospel… “Well if I am wrong then nothing happens but if you are wrong you will burn.” In other words believe in Jesus just in case there is a chance that you may burn in hell for eternity. Jesus becomes nothing more than a safety net.

And many of you may agree with him.

Several quick comments about that…

1. By belief in Jesus, most people actually mean the “right” belief in Jesus which just so happens to be what they believe.

2. Jesus didn’t seem all that interested in handing out “tickets” to heaven.

3. This makes grace conditional and dependant upon us.



Is this really the gospel (aka Good News)? Is this what Jesus was all about? Is this the best Jesus could do? Getting a select few individuals into heaven while the majority of people burn for eternity? All that talk about sacrificial love and selflessness when what he really meant was “here is how you don’t burn.”

Is this really the "good news" to the world that many people have given up their loves for?

I hope not!


Anonymous said...

OK, so you've made your point that this person's idea seems off-kilter... so what do you believe about Jesus? And about following Him? And the power to choose? Choose what? Who? And why?

Which parts do you believe, and how do you come to the conclusion that those are right, and which ones are not so? Just wondering.

paultilly said...

HA...You know what I think here buddy..I dont believe Jesus came as "Fire Insurance" either. I do believe He has an unconditional love for all. Just like the father did for the prodigal. Problem is the prodigal could not enjoy the fruits of his fathers kingdom from a rebellious distance. That is why he HAD to come (back)to his father for the benefits of the fathers love. The love was there. The benefits were not. Its a subtle difference...BUT...a big one.

As for restoring all things. When does this happen? Just because it is Gods desire to restore all things, does not mean it is happening does it? The environment is falling apart. Mankind is growing more selfish and humanistic. I believe that restoration comes by choice. The prodigal son chose to be restored. He could not be restored from a matter how much love the father had for him.

Another point that I know we agree on Jake, is how the other son in that story did not believe his brother deserved that love. How many "christians" today feel the same way? I'd say MANY. They do not think the homeless, poor, addicted, un-churched, GAY, democrat deserves Heaven as much as them, and they do not rejoice when those who are lost become found.

Jkub said...


A. The prodigal didnt repent and wasnt remorseful for what he had done... he was still greedy. Only reason he went home was because he ran out of money... the father however, didnt care. He fully restored him anyways.

B. We (as christains) should be taking part in the restoration of all things which was inaugurated by the resurrection of Jesus and will not be complete until the day he returns to establish his kingdom on earth. Yes the Kingdom of Evil is growing but I also think the Kingdom of God is growing as well (like a mustard seed that is)

C. Yes, in talkinbg about the "benefits" (dont know that thats the right word)of grace and forgiveness here on earth it does take faith to live inside of that forgiveness and grace. In other words, it takes faith to live as if I am forgiven, but faith is not requirement for that forgiveness.

paultilly said...

I am familiar with the new argument that the prodigal was unrepentant. I am confused as to where it comes from.

Certainly not Luke 15:

This was the thought process mentioned in the scriptures:
V.17'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.'"
V. 21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

He Turned away from his current lifestyle, and returned to the protrction of his father. Motive is not a requirement for repentance. Repentance can be brought about by many things. The fact is however. He DID repent (turn away).

Where does it tell us this was ungenuine? Where does it say there was no remorse? I just see it in the text.

He came humbly back to his father. He did not have the fathers blessing until he did that. He had his love, but not the "benefits" that come with that love.

As for faith being a requirement,...There are several scriptures that mention faith and belief as components to salvation.
Though I believe true "Christianity" is deeper than a simple belief. I do not truley understand the teaching that nothing is required to receive it. Christ, Paul, John etc...always seem to mention some sort of requirement. Maybe not the exaxt sequence of requirements that we have been taught in our sterile Church environments.(By the way the sinners prayer is never mentioned) I will be blogging on that heretical teaching soon (The blog is getting close I promise)
But I digress.

I'd like to hear more about the concept of the prodigal not being repentant. I have not found any of the arguments convincing to date.

See. I'm always in the middle.

Jkub said...

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’

This is his thought process. He is hungry so he thinks about what he will say to his father in order to become a servant. He had not changed (repent) he was just desperate.

Notice that when he gets to his father, actually his father gets to him, he doesn't even finish his prepared speech before the father interrupts him to complete restoration.

Jkub said...

Also, show me where the woman caught in adultery repented or the man in mark 2... He was forgiven based on the faith of his friends!??...

paultilly said...

Seems assumptive to say that he did not mean what he said. God uses a multitude of struggles to bring us to repentance. Does not mean the repentance is untrue. Many husbands have returned to their wives out of desperation. Many children have restored relationships with parents out of desperation. I think we are trying to read the mind of the son, when the text never implies that he was insincere. It can at best only be assumed.
The woman in adultery is an interesting dynamic. All of us who follow Christ have moments that we can point to where we truly experienced Him. I think it is equally possible that she experienced the love of Jesus, and at that moment believed he was God.
She experienced the piercing love of Jesus and BELIEVED. She saw the unconditional love. She saw that her sins were not unforgivable. She accepted the good news. The true good news that is free of legalism and laws and rituals. The true good news of unyielding forgiveness and love.

Jkub said...

Now speaking of assumptions, where did you get ANY of that from John 8?

paultilly said...

Seems less assumptive to assume she believed than to assume that she did not. (After such an amazing encounter.) Though it is possible.

But I agree the text is silent as to what happened to her going forward.

I assert however that no assumption needs to be made with the prodigal. The text tells us what he thought and attempted to say. Assuming he did not mean it is based on cynicism.

By the way. "Anonymous" needs to answer his/her own questions.

Jkub said...

Haha, yeh, I am not too big on responding to someone who doesnt want to be known... some people are just looking for some ammunition... i am not intersted in that but rather interested in starting/ furthering along a conversation...

I still disagree with the prodigal peart... I would say its a different interpretation but most would say that repentence measn to turn or change and I just dont see that with the son... again, i think it can be said that he is only going back to his father out of neccesity...and he is thinking through what he will tell his father because he thnks it will be needed for his father to allow him to work as a hired servant. It says he came to his senses which was the fact that he is starving when he could at least be living comfortable in the house.

My point is merely that he wasnt repentant... It does say that we love Him because he first loved us... we can not desire God if we havent already experienced him. Its not like a desre we have for a new iphone which is met when our desire is fulfilled but rather the opposite... Our desire for God grows the more we expreience Him and it can never be completely satified. Therefore, we do not repent or even see a need for repentance until we have experienced or realized the forgiveness and grace we have already been given.

Did that make any sense? haha

paultilly said...

It does make sense. Maybe its more semantics than anything...And like many things in the scriptures we can take a lot from both of our points of view. That's whats so cool about it. Either way a lesson can be learned. Either way the love was unconditional, but either way he had to DO something to receive the fathers "benefits".
No matter what brought him home... there was no fatted calf out there...No ring...Nothing but separation from the father. I don't know if it matters what brings us to Jesus...Many come out of skepticism, many come out of desperation..but at some point we have to come to Him.

Anonymous said...

No ammunition here, and I'm not sure what I said to make you think that. Sorry. And I'm not anonymous. I'm Janet, Alison's mom, but I didn't see another way to reply without a google account so it just came up that way. Didn't mean to hide, though last time I checked no replies showed up on my computer so I thought you didn't do that.

First visit here, followed from Melissa's FB page.

I'll take time later to answer my own questions, though I was wondering about the writer's. Ha... I'll have to reread the original post when I have time because now I don't even remember what you said that sparked my questions. Thanks for the replies, though.

Anonymous said...

Durn, I can't even figure out how to do this. Guess I'll have to find my google password. Otherwise is my name anonymous? :o) I'll sign them, "J"

melissa said...

janet you are so darn cute. i love that you read our stuff and have awesome questions in light of it all:)))

Anonymous said...

Oh no! I typed a very long answer yesterday and thought I posted it. It doesn't even show up! I guess it's lost in cyber-space. Let's see if this one posts. And I thought I was tech-savvy. haha


Jkub said...

Hello Janet,

sorry for the delay... and if i knew it was you i would have responded! I am glad you are reading and participating.

I will try and respond to your questions...

I believe jesus is the incarnation of the Word of God and that he came to give us life more abundantly and through his death and resurrection he inaugurate the coming of the Kingdom of God to earth. I desire to follow him simply because I believe it is the best possible way to live although i often fail. As far as choice goes... I am not so sure I know exactly what you are asking...
i believe I have been saved by grace and it is through faith that I believe this. It is through Faith that I can choose to live as if I have been forgiven and redeemed, and it is through faith that i can choose to show the same grace and love to others that I have been given.
As far as coming to a conclusion that I am right... well i dont... sometimes I wonder about everything and yet strive to be faithful. i think this is what faith is... choosing to be faithful in the midst of the doubts and questioning.
I dont know if this is what you were looking for but again i hope you keep rading and participate in the conversations! grace and peace