Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Activist Gospel-A. Pitts

    This presentation begins with an account of the world as it was being ruled by the Roman Empire, comparing and contrasting the resurrection of Jesus Christ with the “resurrections” of other Roman gods, and also comparing and contrasting the rule of Christ with that of the Caesars. From this point, the presentation springboards into how Christ was unique and different from the other Roman gods and how His reign was far better than the reign of the Caesars. Specifically, the presentation begins to look at how the followers of Jesus carried out His reign in light of how the Caesars carried out their reign. Whereas the Caesars thought they were making the world a better place through military might and political coercion, those who followed Christ believed they were restoring the world through loving and serving others, not ruling over them with an iron fist. This naturally led others to question what was different about these people who, as a community, called themselves the Body of Christ. From here, the presentation closes in on the theme of the gospel as a way of life, as a community and a place where Jesus is held as Lord. According to this gospel presentation, the gospel is you; the good news is that we are the reflection of the resurrected Christ.

    This particular presentation falls into a sort of activist gospel trap; while it does properly acknowledge the sinfulness of man and the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and man’s need to accept Jesus, it puts far too much emphasis on the idea that the church community is the gospel – whereas instead the community should be presented as the effect of the gospel. Initially, this can appear to be nothing out of the ordinary, as it does seem to display the kind of power and love that can make a real, tangible difference in the physical world through service and taking up the cause of the oppressed. It also rightly brings to light the fact that those who follow Christ should be rising up and getting involved in such ways that we do serve others, and that we press on in doing good deeds. However, with this particular presentation, there is a misplaced belief that this work of the church and this work of believers is the gospel. In order to properly counter this belief, it is essential to see that the gospel is not our works or our love or our service to others; the gospel is what leads us to do all of these things, but these works are not themselves the gospel. It is of the highest importance to keep Jesus Christ at the center, and realize it is about what He has done, not what we have done.

No comments:

Post a Comment