Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Judgmentless & Activist Gospel-A. Visscher

     I watched a video called “Resurrection.” It was a short sermon on what Christ’s resurrection means for the world today. The pastor’s main point was that God hasn’t given up on the world but is rescuing it. The sermon states that God has called us to resurrection, not abandoned us. Redemption is God loving mankind so much that he doesn’t want people to stay the way they are. He meets them when they are low and when they accept him as Lord they become the vessels he uses to transform the world. Jesus’ crucifixion followed by his resurrection was an example of life overcoming death and victory continues today as God rids the world of evil to create life.
     “Resurrection” brings a powerful message of redemption, transformation, and a coming new earth while neglecting judgment. The sermon focuses so much on this life that it ignores the penalty of sin, Christ’s atonement on the cross, and the need to believe in Jesus as our Savior. Altogether, “Resurrection” is a counterfeit mixture of the judgmentless and activist gospels.
     The sermon appeals to believers and unbelievers by stating truths about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus often preached on the kingdom of heaven in both the present and future tense. On one hand, he brought the kingdom to earth when he was incarnated and on the other, he said that the kingdom would not be complete until he returned to reign. “Resurrection” touches on the present kingdom when it encourages listeners to begin God’s work of transformation. We can start a redemptive work now by following Christ and reaching out to the poor, broken hearted, and abused. We can be the hands and feet of the gospel by standing against the evils of this world. The pastor also mentioned the “life to come.” He was not referring to heaven but a renewed earth. This reference to the future kingdom of heaven is correct. Man was created to live in the world and the book of Revelation talks about God making a new earth where Christ will reign. The church acting in preparation for what is to come is a biblical concept that “Resurrection” captures perfectly, but on its own the message is incomplete.
     Adding facts to this counterfeit will address the falsehoods within it. The first truth to remember is that we need God because we are condemned by our sin. In the beginning, man’s relationship with God was severed because of sin. The result was death. In the same way Adam and Eve received justice, we will also be judged for our sins and they will bring eternal death. Therefore, we do not come to God simply because we’re feeling low but because we need him to restore our broken relationship and to grant us mercy from death. The second truth is that we need to live in preparation not only for redemption, but also for judgment. Since God will judge man at the end of time, man needs to be kept accountable and to maintain a relationship with God. We must go beyond recognizing a need for God’s mercy and doing good deeds to becoming spiritually prepared to face God as Judge. The final truth is that evil cannot be purged without justice. “Resurrection” calls for a transformation from evil to good. The only way for this to occur is through justice. Justice demands a penalty and with that, we return to the earlier mentioned concept of eternal death. Overall, the sermon captured the work of redemption but fell short by failing to it put it in context. It didn’t mention God’s relationship with man or judgment. Without judgment there is no reason to come to God or to expect evil to be erased.

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