Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Running From a Shameful Gospel: Part 2

In Part 1 I stated the what I understood the gospel to be as it sounds to one who doesn't already know what the Christian words are supposed to mean. It is hard words and I mean them as bad as they sound. If you have a problem with this please read this. I don't for a moment think that the fix, and I really believe that we need a fix, is to change the words so that they are nicer. I believe we need to look at the words and take them seriously and then look at the content that they communicate. I believe that the so-called gospel that they proclaim is not the gospel.

To quickly restate:

God is good
You are bad
God and bad can't relate
God sent Jesus to die
Jesus death took away your bad
If you believe this then you and God can relate

My first critique of this "gospel" is admittedly shallow. It deals with

Who cares?

If I don't already believe this why should I care? I have to already believe that there is a God to be able to believe that God is good. I have to already believe that I am bad to believe that my badness is a problem is a problem for my relationship with God. How does it even make any sense at all that God sending someone to be executed in a backwater of a Roman province 2000 years ago makes him able to hang out with us?

I happily grant that many people care. The popularity of The 4 Spiritual Laws tracts seems to indicate that there are quite a few people who care (now, at the risk of being horribly ungracious, I am honestly not sure whether the popularity of these tracts is because of their "effectiveness" or because they agree with the position of those who distribute them.) My critique here is in light of those who really don't care. Those who don't feel the need that this proposes the fulfillment of.

There are many Christians who decry the cultural trend toward postmodernism with its strong position of relativism. Part of this concern comes from the realization that that the "who cares?" critique comes out of it. Relativism is a reality in our world and is growing in strength. As a result the "who cares?" critique is becoming stronger as well. It has always been a strong critique among those who are quite pleased with their own worldview's dealing with it's own understanding of the issues. The response of this gospel is to simply say that they are wrong and because they are wrong they are going to hell and their simple response is "well I guess that is what you believe, who cares?"

Now, please don't get me wrong, believing this version of the gospel does not by any means exclude you. That is not what I am saying at all. God is way bigger than that. I am pointing out problems because there are problems. If this critique does not speak to you at all simply be aware that this is a critique that this gospel succumbs to and it is a critique that is growing in the culture.

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