Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The Gospel of Jesus
In McLaren & Campolo's book Adventures in Missing the Point Brian writes about the gospel message actually preached by Jesus (as opposed to the truncated evangelical version, i.e. believe that Jesus died for your sins so you'll go to heaven when you die). In it's historical, Jewish context Jesus' message goes like this:

"Salvation doesn't mean slitting Roman throats and getting power. Salvation means being liberated from the cycle of violence, liberated from the need to be in power. God wants to save you from your present life of hatred and fear, and instead reconnect you with God's original plan for the descendents of Abraham. Even as an oppressed people, you can be a blessing,. Instead of slitting a Roman soldier's throat, carry his pack for him. Instead of cursing him, pray for him. I am here to save you from the whole system of insult and revenge - not by giving you political victory (as you wish I would), and not by telling you to give up on this life and instead focus on salvation from Hell after this life (as some people are going to do in my name) - but by giving you permission to start your participation in God's mission right now, right where you are, even as oppressed people. The opportunity to start living in this new and better way is available to you right now: the kingdom of God is at hand!"

Brian goes on to say that this understanding of the gospel doesn't exclude the reality of life after death. It's just that this is an added bonus of Christ's gospel message, not its central point. The central point of salvation is that we are rescued from our fruitless ways of life here and now and called to share in God's saving love for all creation, in an adventure called the kingdom of God. Belief in heaven after we die is simply assurance that this adventure doesn't end with death, that it continues forever in the presence of Jesus.

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posted by Mike Clawson at 10:12 AM | Permalink |


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