Monday, April 16, 2012

Can this happen?

I am about halfway through Matt Chandler's book, The Explicit Gospel."

If you are not familiar with Matt, you should be. He is one of the preachers that I listen to that has challenged my thinking about what it means to be a Christian.

And it fact, he poses this question in his introduction: can you grow up going to church every week and not hear the gospel?” (Matt Chandler (2012-04-09). The Explicit Gospel (Kindle Locations 142-143). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

Is it possible that I have not really heard the gospel? On the surface, that is an easy question, how could I not have? Surely amidst the mirade of sermons I have heard, I have heard the gospel serveral times. Or have I?

Digging deeper, this is a crucial question for the Christian. One that will make some throw up their hands with their fingers in the shape of a cross as if warding of an evil vampire. "Stay away with your evil words!" But is that the attitude that Christ would have us to take? Or maybe more correctly, isn't that the attittude that Christ fought in the Pharisees and the teachers of the law? Ouch!

So I have to lay aside my pride and ask myself, "Have I heard the gospel?" "What does it mean to really follow Christ?" "Am I just fooling myself and in danger hell?"

Those are tough questions. Questions that when I began asking them, got me asked to leave my last church. But they are questions that I want to wrestle with.

Some conclusions that I have come to:
  • Yes, you can go to church and not hear the gospel. That could be your fault, the fault of the church for not preaching the whole gospel, or a combination of both.
  • Wrestling with God is not only a good thing, I believe it is a part of being saved. I cannot take another person's faith and make it my own. God gave me a mind and the ability to use it. He is not a small God, and is not afraid of my honest questions.
  • No one has it all down. No one. And I should probably stay away from anyone who says they do. But I should also probably stay away from anyone who cannot defend themselves, for their faith is probably not really their faith, but just something that has been handed down to them that they are detached from personally.
There are many different theological thoughts out there, and one can easily get lost in them. I don't think that is what God wants from us. But I also don't think He wants blind submission either. I think God loves our questions and struggles, and He desires that we can be honest with Him and others. I don't think God expects us to deny ourselves in that fashion. In fact, I think the denial He expects from us is only going to be found as we seek Him, as we ask, and as we knock.

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