Well then, exactly WHO is the gospel meant for?

This post is an answer to someone on another blog who thinks that I am an intolerant, self-righteous, bigoted Christian with no love for my fellow man.

Because I say (the Bible really says) that Jesus Christ is God’s revealed Word of righteousness to a sinful, broken world.

There has been a lot of talk about Muslims here of late . Why pick on the Muslims? Maybe because they are blowing people up all the time. Maybe because 95% of the terrorism and carnage in the world are due to their warped vision of God, and that  they are the number one enemy of the cross on the face of this planet. And that people had better wake up and knock of this stupid idea of getting along with a religious system that does not want to get along. That’s why.

 

OK then. So if the gospel is not meant for Muslims then who is it meant for?

What!  I never said that.  One of the problems with many folks these days is that they do not know how to read. They do not know how to listen. They insert their own preconceived notions and bigotries into other people’s mouths.

The gospel (the forgiveness of our sins , the whole world’s sins, for Jesus sake) is meant for those who really hear it. It is meant for those whose skin color is white…black… red… yellow… or brown. It is meant for ‘left wingers’ and ‘right wingers’ and people who just couldn’t care less.  It is meant for anyone, whether they be Moslem, Jew, Gentile, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, who has ever hurt someone with something they’ve said. It is meant for anyone who has ever hurt someone with something they’ve done. It is meant for anyone who has ever been selfish and less caring for the poor and needy and homeless. It is meant for all those who have ever taken something that didn’t belong to them, even if it was a long time ago. It is meant for all those who are self-righteous and judgemental of others. It is meant for all those that do not honor their parents. It is meant for all those who are drunks, or drug addicts who hurt themselves and others with their uncontrolable addictions. It is meant for the good church going elder who follows the rules uncompromisingly so much so that there is not an ounce of grace or forgiveness in his heart for others. It is meant for the brokenhearted of this world. It is meant for the lonely. It is meant for those with sickness and disease.  It is meant for those who are penniless and destitute. It is meant for those with sexual perversions. It is meant for those with secret sexual desires. It is meant for adulterers.  It is meant for the mentally insane and criminally insane. It is meant for liars, thieves, murderers, and rapists.    In short, it is meant for you.   You fit in there, somewhere, I’m sure of it.   I fit in there in too many places. If you don’t fit in there anywhere, then don’t worry about it…you do not need the gospel.

Well, that was pretty bigoted of me, wouldn’t you say? I left out a lot of people there didn’t I? I tried to keep the club membership to just my select group, didn’t I?

 Why then, does it have to be Jesus only? Why can’t you say that God will save everybody, whether they believe in Jesus or Mohammed, Moses or Buddha?

The Bible does not say that ‘if you don’t believe in Jesus that you are going to hell’. If anyone can show me that exact line in scripture, I will eat my entire Bible, page by page.

What the Bible says, is that Jesus will be the One to decide who will go to the Father…or not. That’s all. He and He alone.  Not Buddha, not Mohammed, not Krishna, not Al Gore, George Bush, nor Barrack Obama.

If you believe that, then you are a Christian. If you don’t believe that, then you might be something else.

All that said, if you still believe that I am a  bigot who is trying to keep some people out of Heaven, then you are a bigger moron than I thought and incapable of understanding the writtten word.

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23 Responses

  1. “Truth is one, the sages speak of it by many names.”

  2. TitforTat,

    Here is a tat for your…well…you know what I mean…

    “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one gets to the Father but by me.” – Jesus

    “What is it to do the will of the Father?” ” Believe in the one whom He has sent.” – Jesus

    Oops…that was two tats…

  3. Hey, I would have preferred some Tit.

  4. Working on it.
    I’ll keep you abreast of the situation…

  5. John 3:16 is certainly the bench mark we have to start from with regards to who’s included with regards to God’s love, but there is a clear warning to attach with regards to our snubbing that love – if we have no trust in that love, we are condemned to the darkness of where that leaves us – outside of God’s love. Notice Jesus teaches us that it is because of something WE deem as paramount – our love of darkness – that we are inherently severed from God’s purpose for people ; to really know His creational and redemptive care in every fiber of us, body and soul. The tragedy of human religion is it merely sustains our darkness, embellishes the chains which Christ came to break eternally.

  6. “someone on another blog thinks that I am an intolerant, self-righteous, bigoted Christian with no love for my fellow man.”

    Well, you’d be in very good company then from what I observe on the intertubes!

  7. Love is not a feeling, Love is action.

  8. Steve,
    Part of me wants really does want to hold out hope for those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ. But the Bible offers no such assurance. Christ died for all, but without faith I can’t say that his death will do anything for them, but possibly condemn them all the more. MArk 16:16 comes to mind btw.
    You forgot though, the gospel is for all the muslims who die on the battlefield, and all the soldiers who do their job and shoot them dead. It isn’t the soldiers fault they haven’t heard it yet. He has a job. I say “kill em all and let God sort them out.”

  9. Titfor Tat,
    Love is action, I agree. Love speaks out against tyranny. Love defends the innocent. Love pulls a trigger, on the battlefield.
    Love condemns heresy, and proclaims the truth. Love shuts up the sages, so the voice of the shepherd can be heard, and faith produced. Love doesn’t look at a world going to hell and remain silent because one might not be loved if one speaks out. Love is selfless, and doesn’t need the love of the world like a selfish little brat, especially when it has the love of Christ.

  10. Torturing people without end, with no redemptive purpose in mind- out right cruelty without end, is the picture of God that Jesus painted? This is Abba Father? Explain it to me please. Justice you say? How is eternal, infinite hell a just recompense for finite temporal sins? Explain that too.
     Hans Kung (1928 – is a Catholic priest, an eminent Swiss theologian, and a prolific author and he remains a Catholic priest in good standing, though the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology) asked the question this way, “What would we think of a human being who satisfied his thirst for revenge, as the church depicts God does, with an eternal hell”?
    There’s simply no rational way to answer that!
    Explain to me how this shows the moral goodness of God. Sure we have free will, and who gave us that? And that which God gave us, He’s now going to nail us with an eternal hell, knowing full well, in advance (omniscience) what decisions we’d make? Is this in any way rational? God sees this as love? This is just? Is there any sanity at all to such a doctrine?
    God is love, and hell is the price for not knowing that? Me thinks literalists speak with forked-tongue!
    Thanks

  11. Titfor tat,
    like it or not it actually is the picture of God that Jesus paints. It is the picture the Bible paints. I don’t quite want to believe in Hell, but believing Jesus leaves me no choice. And it sort of does motivate me to tell others about Jesus.
    I don’t question God. You can if you like, I don’t. I won’t go down that road. Questioning God and second guessing him is what got us in this mess in the first place. Go ahead read Gen 3.

  12. The Bible speaks of Hell. Jesus speaks about the gospel being a sword that divides people. Sheep seperated from goats. The lost and the saved.

    If everyone will get into Heaven, then why send your only Son to the cross?

  13. “What would we think of a human being who satisfied his thirst for revenge, as the church depicts God does, with an eternal hell”?

    Is hell about vengeance?
    In the terms of what Jesus and Paul teaches, hell is inherently about God giving people over to their own rejection of Him and thereby inhabiting an existence which eternally revolves around the consequences of that rejection.
    Hell is, at least in measure, much more about the kind of ‘humanity’ unpacked in Satre’s play ‘No Exit’, where the real torment is an eternal cycle of people realizing what it truly means to be godless – the total alienation that is ours as a consequence of the fall.

    “And that which God gave us, He’s now going to nail us with an eternal hell, knowing full well, in advance (omniscience) what decisions we’d make? Is this in any way rational? God sees this as love? This is just?”

    You have, like so many of us do, God in the dock, and made Him guilty until proven innocent, but this is actually the language of a broken relationship – the kind of statements that can so commonly be heard when two persons who have cared for each other are severed by an incident that breaks the relationship –
    “How dare He – He’s done this, said that, knowing full well that I wouldn’t accept it. Who does He think I am? It’s not right, and He certainly doesn’t love me”.
    In human relations, that could well be the case (but just as common is two wrongs not making a right), but in the ultimate case, it’s us who have done all the breaking.

    Yes, God loves us – profoundly.
    Yes, He wants us to know that and to engage with that love,
    but no, He won’t prevent you from walking away.
    Just be aware that as with everything else we do, there are ramifications which are eternal.

    Do we really want to spend that age being less than human?
    Do we really want to be devoid of all inherent connection to creation, people, and ourselves?
    Do we really want to eternally sever our relations with the Lord and Father who made us?
    That is a very scary proposition!

  14. Howard

    You see, the thing is, I dont see a Creator in the way you do. So when you talk in these platitudes such as God loves me, I almost want to puke. Thats so human to describe it that way. Im pretty sure that has nothing to do with the actual energy that God is, but hey, whatever works for ya. If you want to see God as some Man with a greying beard be my guest. Its just a little too limiting for myself. The reason for my last posting was I was trying to maybe show you a slightly different way to look at it. But alas, it didnt. Dont worry about my soul though, Im pretty damn sure Im ok in the grand scheme of things.

  15. If you really think that my definition of a God of love equates to a ‘man’ with a gray beard then you have seriously missed it! On the other hand, if you are happy to equate ‘it’ to some great dualistic force, then in terms of what Jesus is speaking about, you’ve swallowed the lie.
    Your last posting wanted to speak of ‘god’ (your understanding of the Christian definition) as pretty much responsible for the mess we’re in. Well you can do that if you wish, but that’s just playing the same game as Adam and Eve after the fall – “it really wasn’t our fault”.
    Jesus tells us it cannot be that way forever – we have to face up to a greater reality – the ramifications of tangible, redemptive love, and those are a lot larger than viewing God as Santa Claus.
    At the end of the day, the argument, as I touched on in my first posting in this discussion, is with the one who said “He who does not believe is condemned’.

  16. Bring on the cuffs.

  17. by the way at least Santa is more humane than your view of God

  18. Tit for Tat,

    I agree wholeheartedly with Howard’s view.

    I think the starting point for anunderstanding like ours (other than it’s also that way in scripture) is to understand our natures. To realize that we are at heart, more concerned with ourselves than the neighbor. That we do not love God and keep His commandments. That we want to stay in our sins.

    But God is a loving God. I do believe He loves us even more than we love our children, because He is perfect and loves us in our rebellion.

    But God wants us to trust Him. to trust in His promises to forgive (from the cross and in our baptisms).

    But, some will just not trust Him. That’s a shame, but that’s the way it is. The whole universe doesn’t revolve around whether someone rejects God or not. Life and death go on.

    If you don’t believe it…no sweat…you don’t believe it. It’s not our job to shoehorn anybody in…we couldn’t if we wanted to. It is all up to God.

  19. “at least Santa is more humane than your view of God”

    Actually, I think the principal characteristics of this person were borrowed from a Christian – Nicklaus – who because of his faith aided the poor and those in need.

    It’s all a matter of where we look to seek genuine definition.
    Anyone who spends a few moments genuinely and honestly confronting the Jesus of the Gospels cannot simply walk away without being struck by the authority of this person. His life and work convey things concerning the character and purpose of God that are truly comprehensive in nature, and these include a defining of what we are meant to be – creatures profoundly motivated by the love and communion that derives from Father, Son and Spirit – within a world redeemed from decay.
    As Steve touches on, we’re far from that yet, thanks to our corruption, but we find ourselves given grace to trust in the promises and, hopefully, show something of this marvel in our lives.

    It really isn’t about ‘my’ view – I was raised agnostic, and spent time looking at other faiths before Christianity was in any way attractive. Church was something I had to ‘do’ at boarding school.
    It wasn’t church or religion which changed my understanding, it was coming face to face with the person of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
    We can talk past each other for a year and a day and still totally disagree. My only appeal, to any other soul who has questions, is honestly look at this man, and see what that tells us about God.

    Thanks for the correspondence – sorry if I come across at times as a little blunt, but that’s part of the package (truth) from what I understand.
    Hope we can exchange some more correspondence in future.

  20. Actually, I think the principal characteristics of this person were borrowed from a Christian – Nicklaus – who because of his faith aided the poor and those in need.
    Don’t forget that he is also remembered for packing a good punch. At the council of Nicea he struck Arius.

  21. Right on Steve!

    I like your focus.

  22. Jon,

    I think you and I are pretty much on the same page (by His grace).

    Thank you, sir!

    Merry Christmas to you!

    – Steve

  23. You said:

    This post is an answer to someone on another blog who thinks that I am an intolerant, self-righteous, bigoted Christian with no love for my fellow man.

    I have had the same effect on people Steve. Most of this is because I have a huge dislike of works based righteoussness thinking and most Christians who partake in this pharisee like thinking are blind to it.

    I believe the best we can do (after learning many hard lessons) is to invite them to the feast table like the Father did in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

    Just proclain our absoulte sinfullness (religious and irreligious) and His absolute grace.

    If you want to deconstruct defeater beliefs I think the best method may belong to Tim Keller since he contrasts the irreligious method and sin(man doing his own thing) and religious method sin (pharisee like thinking, works based righteossness, self righteousness) vs the Gospel approach (Gods method).

    Merry Christmas

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