Parsing the gospel

Does anyone else find it ironic that those evangelicals who tend to emphasize "heart" (to the exclusion of mind), and have an ambivalence for -- even antipathy toward -- higher learning and critical thought are so awfully obsessed with believing and articulating exactly the right (narrow) things about Jesus and the gospel? The proliferation of workshops and books on "GOSPEL!" and the importance (and achievability) of "understanding" it correctly makes me gag.

These same men (yes, I used that word on purpose) are the ones constantly chiding (or dismissing) those involved in social justice work for assuming (and perhaps at times neglecting) Jesus, yet they do so themselves in a terribly arrogant way when they implicitly suggest through their teaching emphases that conviction and conversion are up to us. If we don't have our gospel "right" and know how to articulate it properly, we will fail to make anyone a Christian!

Wait, I thought it was the Holy Spirit who did the convicting. I thought we were coworkers with Christ -- but not entrusted to do that alone or in our own power. I thought God through his mysterious wisdom draws people to himself. I thought the gospel was good news -- the wonderful, mind-blowing fact that Master of the Universe has through his own sacrifice defeated death and evil and is reconciling all the world to himself in myriad creative ways.

Understand the gospel? I hope not! If it's not entirely too far-reaching, all-encompassing, unexpected, challenging and inexpressibly beautiful for me to wrap my mind around, I'm not sure it's all that hopeful. 


kar0ling said…
FPU professor Michael Kunz expressed it well in a Direction Journal article (though he was addressing New Atheism, not Christians whose misplaced emphasis makes faith seem incantational): "When religious faith is understood as a set of beliefs about the existence of God, it can be corrupted to all the evil ends Dawkins describes. When religious faith is understood as an experience of the living God by following Jesus, its corruption is less likely."

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