Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm So Glad There Are People Way Smarter Than Me

I just read a great little post at Jesus Creed called 'The Three "J's" in the Gospel Debate.'  The post wrestles with three frameworks used to interpret the Gospels: justice, justification, and Jesus.  I won't outline the argument, but I will say it would be worth your time reading it.

I grew up in a very justification oriented denomination, but the farther I went into my education the more narrow and unfulfilling I found this framework.  Now, that isn't to say that I no longer believe in justification or that Jesus's death washes us of our sins.  I most certainly do, but as the years passed and I spent more and more time reading the Gospels and the writings of the Church, I found myself thinking, "What Jesus has done for us is so much more!"

I think that's what made the justice framework so appealing to me.  It had been sorely missing before.  However, as Scot McKnight pointed out in his post, justice may be the natural consequence of what Jesus has done, but it is not the root of what he has done.  I think this is what gets many of the more progressive American denominations in trouble.  Social justice is an evidence that God has accomplished what he set out to do, but it is not the core of what God has done.  To use the old medical analogy, it is a symptom, not the cause.

Which leaves us with Jesus.  I think McKnight is completely right in saying that Jesus is the only J that offers any true hope and power (although those are actually my words).  Jesus is the focus of the story in the Gospels, for Paul, and in Acts (his point).  If the Church is going to have a revival of any kind, or to put it another way, if God's people are going to rediscover their purpose and power, the focus must be put on the right J.  It's ironic how much harder that is to say than to do.

Anyhow, as the post title suggests, I'm very glad I can read people far more intelligent than myself and find language to express my thoughts.  Hop on over to Jesus Creed and read his post.  It will be well worth your time.

Stopping point: John 2

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