Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've recently been wrestling with the idea that maybe our view of the gospel is too small. In conjuction with that, I was convicted last week while reading from a new preaching textbook from a great preaching professor about my judgemental attituded. Though I have great respect for this man and loved the book, I jumped quickly to some unfair conclusions because he quoted many rather liberal preachers and theologians in his book. It occurred to me, that maybe, I'm so afraid of being a liberal that I may actually miss something good, maybe even something true.

I shared some of this with my favorite liberal preacher in the world (he is also a former roommate and is just as proud of being liberal as I am of being conservative). As we talked, I was shocked to hear that he has been wrestling with some of the same issues as me. He too questions if his view of the gospel is too small. As liberals, he admitted, "we sometimes lose focus of evangelism and the role of the individual in the Christian faith."

We as conservatives are definitely outdoing them in that area, but as conservatives, we have allowed our focus on individual conversions, evangelism, and heaven to eclipse our concern for the poor and oppressed, the alien, the fatherless, and the widow. Jesus came to bring glory to his father by paving the way for us all to inherit eternal life. But, along the way, he also brought healing, cared for the poor, and fed the hungry.

Our gospel is too small. We have become so comfortable being conservative or liberal that we sometimes seem to forget to be Christians. For fear of being liberal, many of us will not even encourage recycling (but, shouldn't we be good stewards of God's creation?). For fear of being labeled conservative or fundamentalist or evangelical, many liberals will not even share the gospel openly and call for response.

Somewhere along the way, our wars have blinded us to many of the basic truths of Christianity. The prophets of old cried for justice here on earth, and yet in the face of evangelism we often do not even speak out against sex-slavery around our world. I've had to repent to God for being so afraid of being liberal that I ignored many godly tasks.

The good news? It seems as though the Holy Spirit may very well be working across denominational bounds to bring glory to himself in a whole new way. This has happened before in events known historically as Great Awakenings. Would that God would pour out his Spirit in a fresh way on our world today. Maybe it will come as we look to God's word for direction before we look to our own conservative or liberal agenda. I wonder what would happen if we were committed to obeying the whole counsel of God before we obeyed the whole counsel of our peers?

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