20 June 2007

Because it's Wednesday

by Frank Turk

I don't remember how long ago it started -- you can search "" to find out. But I'm reading Pastor Kimball's new book, They Like Jesus But Not The Church, and, well, you know ...

But this week will not be a book review of Pastor Kimball's book. I'm sure Bob Hyatt will be surprised by that, but all things being equal I'm not finished with the book and there's no reason to review a book you haven't finished reading unless you're just itchin' for trouble.

What I want to do today is start a conversation. Nice, right? Because I have only about 20 minutes today to get something worth reading up on TeamPyro, I thought I'd put this up here and let the meta hash it out while I finish reading the book.

Here's the thing: on Page 96 of his book, Pastor Kimball starts a chapter on people hating the church because it's too judgmental. You know what: fair enough. Anyone on TeamPyro would get his nose out of joint over fundamentalist prudery or wearing a "God Hates Fags" t-shirt -- and if that's what he's talking about, amen, I guess. (Do they say "amen" during sermons in emerging churches?)

But there's this bit which I am having a little trouble getting past:
I was embarassed about giving my friend this particular bible because all of the negative commentary would distract him from reading about having a positive relationship with Jesus. I wanted his experience of reading the Bible for the first time to be about who Jesus is. I wanted it to be about inner heart issues rather than select outward actions. ... I am all for telling people about sin, but we should do it in the right way, and at the right time.
Without me editorializing, I have three questions:
  1. Who is Jesus -- that is, How does Jesus present Himself in Scripture?
  2. What is a man's relationship with Jesus -- that is, what about man or about Jesus makes that relationship either appropriate or necessary?
  3. When is the "right way" and the "right time" to tell a person about sin?
Listen: no raving. The EC guys want us to represent them in some way they can agree with, and here's a perfect opportunity. If you answer the questions but you take a poke at somebody, you're going to find me to be a harsh, um, editor.

This is about the Gospel and about the church. There is an application to fundies and to EC churches, but you can't go there until you get these three questions answered right.

Now go get it -- 3 questions. I'll be back later to clean up ...











91 comments:

WayneDawg said...

Very basic and short.....

1. Jesus is God.

2. Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

3. Use the Law to bring about the knowledge of sin whenever you witness or preach.

donsands said...

He's the Son of God, and Son of Man. He's compassionate to the humble, and rebukes the proud. He always speaks the truth. He tells Peter that he is blessed from the Father, and He tells the religious leaders their father is the devil.

Without Jesus there's no forgiveness for sin. And there's no right standing before a holy God.

The right way is to always remember, "But for the grace of God, there go I", and then you can speak the truth in love. Get the splinter out, but first take your log out, but we do need to take the splinter out, and that can be painful.The right time, kind of depends.

jsb said...

#1 - Jesus can be sliced up, depending on what part you emphasize (e.g., "The Politics of Jesus" etc.), and only a full orbed, Genesis-Revelation view is adequate. Many people "like" the Jesus they fashion for themselves, but usually he's much "too small."

#2 - One cannot answer this WITHOUT a discussion of sin, which gives guidance on #3, which seems to be:

#3 - as early as POSSIBLE. Jesus seemed to ravish people with the Kingdom of God, in parables, and with love, via his actions. Discussion of sin followed, but did follow in short order. Of course, he was among a people who KNEW what sin was, and believed there was such a thing! We have a lot of groundwork to lay these days.

Great discussion points. Thanks starting the conversation.

Martin Downes said...

Frank any chance of some more context from the quote? The bit about "I was embarassed about giving my friend this particular bible because all of the negative commentary would distract him from reading about having a positive relationship with Jesus."

Which (study?) Bible are we talking about?

Daryl said...

1. Jesus is the only Son of God. He presents himself as the forgiver of sin, the rescuer of the lost. The Saviour of the Redeemed.

2. Our relationship with Him is entirely predicated on His forgiving our sins and taking our place. That is, it is completely on His terms, we have no say in the matter.

3. Given that Jesus came to "save his people from their sins" and given that outside of our sins being comepletely removed, there is not possibility of relationship, I'd say that sin is the start point, either because the lost one is making it the issue (as in, "I'm so messed up, what can I do?") or by a believer making it the issue ("as in, you're lost and condemned without Jesus.")

Hence the need to preach the whole gospel. What was the kindest thing Jesus ever did? "Son, your sins are forgiven you." What is the most pointed thing he said (I think) "Go and sin no more."

If we make sin a non-issue, well then, what's the point of the gospel at all?

Benjamin Nitu said...

@1. A pastor used to say that the less non-Christians know about Jesus, the more they love him, and the more they know about him, the more they hate him. That's one of the reason why "They like Jesus but not the church."
Jesus will never be your "cool dude", your motivational speaker, another good teacher among many. The more you know about Jesus, the more you realize that He wants it all: he wants not only your heart ,but also your mind and body.
A Jesus that ignores sin is not the Jesus of the Bible.

@2. It is meaningless to tell people that Jesus saves without telling them from what. In the same way, it is meaningless to talk about a relationship with Jesus if sin is not relevant.

@3. Because sin is such an important issue, it should be dealt with as soon as possible. There is no "right time". As for the "right way": the Gospel will always be great news for some and horrible news for others.
Christ's claims are exclusive. His gospel is exclusive. He is The Way, not one of them.

MJTilley said...

In Matthew 16:16, Peter says to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Suggesting both that Jesus Christ is Deity and that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah, promised to from Genesis 3:15 on. Jesus Christ's response in the next verse is to say "Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." That response not only suggests that this is Divine Truth from the Almighty God Himself, it also directly indicates that Jesus Christ agreed with the statement and considered (and therefore presented) Himself as such. To say otherwise is to undermind Jesus Christ's entire earthy ministry for He would be nothing more than a common liar (Heaven Forbid!).

In Luke 19:10, Jesus Christ indicates that His purpose for coming to the earth is to "seek and to save that which was lost." Apparently He came to make something right that had otherwise been wrong. Elsewhere in Scripture (Romans 3:23, specifically) we find out that this wrong is sin, "falling short of the glory of God." Therefore, we needed someone to be a propitation (Romans 3:25), to take the punishment due our to us because of our sin. Jesus Christ was that propitiation.

As for the right time and way to introduce sin, one must follow Christ's example. In Matthew, the fifth statement made my Jesus in the book is "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In Mark, it's the first statment (Mark 1:15) "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the Gospel." In Luke, it's the first recorded public teaching of Jesus (5th statement if you're counting) in Luke 4:18 where he says that He has been anointed "to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recoving the sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised," It takes a little longer in John (12th statement, 2:16) where our Lord says "Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise." It seems, by the Savior's own example, sin must be addressed early and often. For as Paul wrote in Romans 5:20: "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."

mt
http://mjtilley.wordpress.com

Daryl said...

Seems to me that we project our own feelings onto Jesus. That is, we want to be liked, he must too.

Trouble is, he doesn't want to be liked, he wants to be glorified. To that end, what does the Bible indicated glorifies him most? I would suggest that in Revelation his is most glorified for saving for himself a people, out of every tribe, tongue and nation. It is his dealing with our sin that accomplished that.

On another angle, Paul points out in Romans 9 that by hardening Pharaoh's heart, God glorified himself. So essentially, God ensured that someone would hate in order that He be glorified. Why do we think we need to make people like God? Can He not reserve for himelf a people on His own terms?

DJP said...

Martin Downes' question, Which (study?) Bible are we talking about?, is mine as well.

Benjamin Nitu's answer is pretty wonderful.

donsands said...

"Because sin is such an important issue, it should be dealt with as soon as possible. There is no "right time"."

There's a difference between dealing with sin within the Body of Christ, and dealing with the sin of those who are not in the Body of Christ, don't you think?

Do you have any thoughts here?

David said...

Question One - Who is Jesus -- that is, How does Jesus present Himself in Scripture?

Well, technically Jesus never tells us who he is - We have the apostles telling whomever they were writing to who Jesus is. And they tailored their letters to thier audience. They emphasized certain aspects.

Yes they were inspired. Yes, the Bible is the Word of God. But each letter was written to specific people, for a specific purpose. And the authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, made decisions on what to include, what to emphasize, and what not to include. John says:

21:24 This is the disciple who testifies about these things and has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. 21:25 There are many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (NET Bible) (isnt that a great way to end a letter - don't you want to right back and ask - demand - more?)


Which leads to Question three:When is the "right way" and the "right time" to tell a person about sin?

While we should never add or delete scripture, I think it is perfectly reasonable to share different parts of the bible, at different times, to different people, as we are led by the Holy Spirit. As such, there is no "right way" or "right time" - so long as we tell them about sin, so long as we are not ashamed of any of the Bible, and so that we boldly proclaim the gospel. If you never discuss sin or present the Gospel, you are not lead by the Holy Spirit.

And I would not leave our "actions" out of that witness either. People should see us as Christians because of what we do, not just what we say.

fool4jesus said...

Donsands - I believe so. I believe that it's similar to the difference between how Paul dealt with the Gentiles' sins vs. that of the Jews. With the Jews he started right in on the Scripture. With the Gentiles he started in with the sin they know they have, because God has hidden it in their hearts; then moved them to the Scriptures.

I have the same feeling about believers vs. non-believers. With believers I think it's right to start with the Bible. With non-believers it seems to me better (though I'd be willing to have my mind changed) to start with their own internal guilt and then move them to what the Bible says. They will then see, ok that Bible they've always rejected is really saying largely the same thing their conscience is already saying.

Daryl said...

That's a good question Don.

It seems to me that sin is always the number one problem and should be dealt with as such.

In either case, while sin is a huge problem, do we deal with other people's sin all the time, in all cases? I don't think so.

Perhaps,"SIN" as an entity (as in "slave to sin")is more the issue in an unbeliever's life while sins (individually) are more the issue in a believer's life.

It sure gets dicey when we're talking about sin in someone else doesn't it? Perhaps if we dealt more seriously with our own sin we would be in a better place to help others deal with theirs.

The tendency, I think, is to think that those nasty pagans need to get right with God but we're forgiven so we're OK, all the while forgetting that they are in the dark (and so can't see) while we are in the light and so have even less excuse.

(Can you tell I'm thinking out loud here...)

I wonder Don, if the answer is related to the statement "Judgement begins in the house of God."

Funny, the more I write here, the more I can't avoid the fact that whenever we downplay sin (in the unbeliever and believer alike) we get into trouble.

I'll shut up now...

Everyday Mommy said...

Okay, I'll take a stab at it. Be kind y'all.

Who is Jesus -- that is, How does Jesus present Himself in Scripture?

He repeatedly identifies Himself as, "Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood..." Rev. 1:5, "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2

What is a man's relationship with Jesus -- that is, what about man or about Jesus makes that relationship either appropriate or necessary?

To borrow a political phrase from the nineties, "It's the sin, stupid." Oops! That might get me edited.

When is the "right way" and the "right time" to tell a person about sin?

"...preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2

KM said...

1. Who is Jesus -- that is, How does Jesus present Himself in Scripture?

Jesus was God manifest in physical human form. As far as how he presented himself, Jesus was flawless. He provided the world with a perfect human example of how we should live, think, make decisions, see the world, etc.

2. What is a man's relationship with Jesus -- that is, what about man or about Jesus makes that relationship either appropriate or necessary?

The only way for us to know God is through Jesus. We have fallen so far from God’s ways that without Jesus’ example and teaching we would not be able to even envision the right way to live. But, more than this we need a relationship with Jesus because even though his example and teachings provide us with the knowledge of how to live, it is through his own life experience - that of living a perfect life, being crucified and resurrected - that we even have the ability to understand what his life was for. The teachings and testimonies within the New Testament are tools for us to understand what it looks like to walk the walk of a child of God. But, without the Holy Spirit, which would not have come to us without the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, these testimonies would be nothing more than fables in our minds. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives these words a life we can feel in our own spirits as we study the Word. And, it is Jesus’ example and teachings which are perfect enough, being justified by his own resurrection, to be trustworthy in a world where there are so many other questionable teachings available.

3. When is the "right way" and the "right time" to tell a person about sin?

Sin should be talked about as soon as a door is opened to do so. But, what I mean by “door” is not a time when one sees “sin” in someone else’s life and feels the need to confront this sin with the Word. This is that whole splinter/log issue and most Christians, in my experience, are far too blind with their own issues to be confronting others. (I will say that those with the most success in confronting me about sin in my own life have lived lives I respect. So, if you’re one of these exceptional people I’m not speaking of you). However, it’s important for a person to understand why one should not sin, and this is why it should be brought up as soon as possible.
I think that people pretty much think of the Bible as a set of rights and wrongs and that’s it. But, the reality is that there’s a reason Jesus said we should love God above all else. That reason is because there is only life with God. Everything else one puts one’s energy into is a farce. It’s just an illusion of something living or good or whatever. Only God is life. And, there’s also a reason Jesus said we should love others above ourselves. It’s not because it’s nice or good or whatever. It’s because we can’t function as human beings if we’re thinking all about ourselves. In giving us these two commandments Jesus told us where to focus our energy so as to be useful.
So, when I say that we should bring up the issue of sin as soon as possible, I say this not so much in the hope of producing conviction in another person per se. I think it’s important for a person to stop sinning, but this is part of a process that God ultimately works out in a person. It needs to be brought up soon so that one can see the contrast between existing and truly living. Until one grasps what sin is and why one should stay away from it one can’t really identify life.

Daryl said...

KM, you said "He provided the world with a perfect human example of how we should live, think, make decisions, see the world, etc. "

I'm wondering if that really is it. If Jesus came as an example, why did he need to die in our place? If we could emulate his example, do we really need his imputed righteousness?

Also, what if the "door" never opens. Are we not, as in Ezekiel's watchman on the wall, charged with announcing the coming judgement, open door or not?

I guess my question boils down to, did Jesus come to teach bad people how to live right wo we could enjoy fellowship with Him, or to make dead people alive so we could enjoy fellowship with him?

centuri0n said...

Martin --

He doesn't say. The study note he was embarassed by was a note which said plainly that someone who follows Jesus Christ will not commit sexual sins -- the person he was going to give the Bible to was living with his girlfriend.

Daryl said...

Cent,

I'd be a bit leary of a note like that too. Sounds like the issue there isn't so much sin, as a misrepresentation of the Christian life, don't you think?

There would be a world of difference between saying "won't" and saying "must stop" or even "needs to struggle against".

centuri0n said...

Y'know -- I thought this should go without saying, but after reading the early applicants to the 3 questions, let me say it clearly: somebody who considers himself (or herself) "emerging" or "emergent" shpould give us an answer or 3. It's not a conversation if only one side is talking.

donsands said...

" ..difference between how Paul dealt with the Gentiles' sins vs. that of the Jews."

" is related to the statement "Judgement begins in the house of God." "


That's what I was thinking.

I'm thinking Dan Kimball is thinking how does the Church speak about sin to unbelievers. Those who don't see Christ as the Way.
And that's a good portion of the generation that comes behind mine. I was born in 1953.

There's a lot here to ponder. Thanks for the responses.

centuri0n said...

David:

Your answer is interesting in that it seems to imply that the Apostles made up stuff about Jesus. For example, what does John say that Jesus said in John 14-15? Can we say that Jesus is saying this, or do we have to say that John said Jesus said?

Let me put that another way: if I'm reading Hamlet, and I come across this passage --

[QUOTE]
Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

[/QUOTE]

What are we to say? Should we say, "Shakespeare said that Hamlet said ..." or should we say, "Hamlet says ..." and "Hamlets says to us"?

As to the "as we do not just as we say", amen. But how did we know what to do? Who are we following? How do we follow that one?

To say that Jesus doesn't speak -- or doesn't speak to us -- simply guts the semi-orthodox jargon that we have to "say and do" the Gospel.

What Gospel? Who said?

Daryl said...

Cent,

Could be wrong (duh) but doesn't KM sound a bit EC? Doesn't Emergent portray Jesus as more of an example than anything?

Just wondering.

centuri0n said...

f4j:

What is the "gentile" (I like that way of saying it, btw) doesn't have any feelings of guilt? For example, what if they think they are basically a good person who makes mistakes, but who doesn't make mistakes? And what if they count as mistakes things which were painful but necessary and they count as "goodness" things which are sins (for example, someone who thinks it was a mistake to admit that they were sleeping with some other person because it lead to the loss of a friendship, but then thinks that the freedom of that relationship should be maintained and they never marry that first person but move on and have a series of open-ended, marginally-committed relationships)?

I ask because this is the world we live in, and this is the world Dan Kimball is talking about. Props to Pastor Dan: he plainly identifies who the people who hhate the church but (in his words) love Jesus are. He fills in all the blanks and makes a portrait of who they are which I think is credible and clearly based on knowing people like this.

I'll not say more about that until I'm done with the book and can write a proper review.

centuri0n said...

Daryl:

Could be either way. What he says is fine for any vanilla evangelical. Any SBC pastor could have said what KM said here.

Pastor Mike said...

cent,
Nobody wants to be told that they are wrong. That is of course the problem with political correctness. Nobody's wrong, everyone's okay. Which is NOT the point of Scripture -- in fact it is polar opposite.

However, don't we have to begin with a discussion of sin before we can get to the satisfaction of that penalty -- Jesus Christ, the SOn of God, deity in flesh dwelling among us and exegeting the Father for us? The gospel does not need me to add to its offense. I can present the gospel as a "fundy boy baptist" without smashing people over the head with it. But if I never say, "you know that way seems pretty natural to me and I've been there, but something that happened in my life has changed the way that I think about _________ (insert topic -- eg. living together before marriage)."

I wonder about the discussion of the study notes. We have become so focused on our study helps and commentaries (all of which are non-inspired, all of which I still keep on my shelf and refer to) that we have missed the role of the Holy Spirit. The study note seems to be drawing applications rather than helping to study. I would be careful about giving a Bible like that to a seeker/new believer without some training wheels.

BTW- waynedawg did have a nice basic, brief start.

Mike

Phil Johnson said...

Cent: "The study note he was embarassed by was a note which said plainly that someone who follows Jesus Christ will not commit sexual sins -- the person he was going to give the Bible to was living with his girlfriend."

Even a noteless Bible would still include 1 Thessalonians 4:2-3; 1 Peter 4:1-5; Hebrews 12:16-17; Colossians 3:5-6; and a load of similar texts. Was Kimball planning to tear those pages out of the Bible before giving it to the cohabitating couple?

Pastor Mike said...

Jesus will never be your "cool dude", your motivational speaker, another good teacher among many.

don't you think that Jesus would be on the "must hear" lists for most emergents? i think the drawing of crowds (5k+) was something.

too bad he didn't have a podcast! :) (tongue firmly in my cheek)

Mike

Al said...

I will join the chorus of non-emergent types, though I do read Andrew Sandlin on occasion.

1. Jesus presents Himself as a friend to those who follow Him. He is a forgiving yet demanding Lord to an adulterous woman. He is the host of a party where some poorly dressed men are thrown out into darkness. He is the one who confronts even his closest friends when they sin, referring to them as Satan if necessary. He is also the one who lovingly restores them to fellowship when they repent.

2. Our relationship is one of the following: We are either his friend (we follow Him) or we are pressing our noses against the window of everything that is good, hoping for a scrap from the table He set in Creation.

3. When? There is a time for everything under Heaven. Wisdom applies. How? Jesus used a falling tower, a human sacrificing Roman prelate among other teaching tools. He also healed the blind and the lame, showing them off to the soul crippled, sightless leaders of the people. There are more gentle ways: emulating the still small voice of the Holy Spirit will be more effectual than holding up a sign at a dead soldiers funeral, if the Spirit of God attends your witness.

al sends

David said...

"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." (John 5:39-40 NASB)

You cannot separate the Scriptures from Jesus, nor Jesus from the Scriptures. The Law and the prophets testify about Jesus. They are integral to any meaningful presentation of Christ.

Daryl said...

Pastor Mike,

I don't know, didn't the crowds follow Jesus for the free lunch and miracle show? Wasn't that Jesus charge against them?
Seems to me that anyone who followed him for the sake of his teaching was either trying to trip him up or genuinely following.

Given the apparent willingness of the EC to come up with "The Secret Message of Jesus" and stuff like that, which all relate to what Jesus did (other than dying of course) and not the hard stuff he said it seems to me that if the EC didn't get bread, they wouldn't follow either.
Come to think of it. Would any of us follow Him if we weren't drawn first?

Would the EC say "where would we go? You have the words of life" ?
I'm not so sure.

brentjthomas said...

Who is Jesus? Thomas said it well, after seeing Jesus' scars: "Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).
Our relationship to Jesus, in Jesus' words: "I am the Vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me." (John 15:5)
Peter in Acts 2 thought that the right time to discuss sin was in the immediate present: "Turn away from your sins, each one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit. For God's promise was made to you and to your children, and to all who are far away - all whom the Lord our God calls to Himself."

KM said...

Daryl,

- KM, you said "He provided the world with a perfect human example of how we should live, think, make decisions, see the world, etc. "

I'm wondering if that really is it. If Jesus came as an example, why did he need to die in our place? If we could emulate his example, do we really need his imputed righteousness? - 

I’m not trying to imply that he was just an example. His life was necessary in order for us to be reconnected with God. So it wasn’t just something we could emulate but, instead, a bridge. We can not do what he did, and that’s why he had to do it. As far as him coming as an example, however, I do think that was a big chunk of the reason he came. But, I think it should be made clear that it wasn’t so we could emulate his behavior. It was so that we could actually see that his life could be lived. After all, who would know that one could really be resurrected unless one actually lived a life of obedience, death and resurrection so that other people could witness it? Or who could teach disciples how to pray for others, heal people, etc., without them first seeing that it could be done? Yes, he did come as an example. But, he wasn’t just an example.

- Also, what if the "door" never opens. Are we not, as in Ezekiel's watchman on the wall, charged with announcing the coming judgement, open door or not? - 

I don’t know about all that. In my experience there hasn’t been a time when the door didn’t open. But, my viewpoint on this subject is that if there is no opportunity to bring up the subject - whatever subject that is - then perhaps it isn’t that person’s time to hear about it. As far as Ezekiel’s watchmen, was every Israelite a watchman? Each person is responsible for what he or she is called to do, whether that be as a “watchman” or cook or a farmer or a preacher or whatever.

 - I guess my question boils down to, did Jesus come to teach bad people how to live right so we could enjoy fellowship with Him, or to make dead people alive so we could enjoy fellowship with him? -

I’m thinking that he came to make dead people alive again, yes, to enjoy fellowship with him, but also to live.

Also, Centuri0n,

Apparently I am a member of an EC church (I say apparently because I wasn’t aware of such a label until I read about it over and over and over and over again on this blog) so that’s my perspective. But, I would like to state for the record that my viewpoints are not necessarily my church’s. As has been made painstakingly clear, EC churches don’t really have absolutes on what’s right or wrong as far as interpretation of scripture. But, one thing they do have is the freedom to read the Bible and search out the answers to questions you have for yourself. No one’s trying to cram some explanation down my throat only to shun me when I don’t immediately accept their answer. I like that. My pastor’s teachings are all sound, and Biblically based, so I also like that. The only thing about my church that I would change is the fact that they don’t have any official elders or deacons or anything like that. They have “prayer ministers” which would be fine except for the fact that literally anyone can qualify to be a prayer minister and I like the people I go to for spiritual guidance to have some credentials.

donsands said...

"The only thing about my church that I would change is the fact that they don’t have any official elders or deacons or anything like that."

That's a scary church to be in.

KM said...

not as scary as the churches I was members of before, and they did have deacons and elders. The people who fill these positions play a greater role in people's lives than they might be aware. There are people within my church whom I respect and they fill my needs in this area, but they aren't official elders since our church doesn't do that.

centuri0n said...

km:

That's the thing about EC -- everyone seems to belong to one (or wants to), but nobody can speak for their church or their "emergence". Everyone only speaks for "himself".

That said, let's go back to Jesus rather than the EC you attend or the EC in general. How does Jesus matter to any person apart from their state in sin? You might blurt out here, "DUDE! HE'S GOD!!", but I'd be careful which arguments you choose.

centuri0n said...

Pretty David:

So how did a worship pastor get to be so smart? You guys are usually the softies ...

Hayden said...

Km,

This is not a comment to pile on what you said but I am currently studying Mark 4:1-20 to preach this weekend and had a question with your comment

"Each person is responsible for what he or she is called to do, whether that be as a “watchman” or cook or a farmer or a preacher or whatever."

Ask yourself,in light of you comment above, who is the sower in the MArk 4:1-20 passage?

No matter what our "professional calling" might be we all have the same calling. We are all called to sow the Word, which is what Jesus is telling the apostles. We are all called to give the Gospel honestly and openly to all we meet. (I don't think you would disagree with that asessment)We are to do this in love, but also do this earnestly.

Daryl said...

KM,

You said "It was so that we could actually see that his life could be lived. After all, who would know that one could really be resurrected unless one actually lived a life of obedience, death and resurrection so that other people could witness it? Or who could teach disciples how to pray for others, heal people, etc., without them first seeing that it could be done?"

I think that paragraph sums up the problem pretty well. Did Jesus come to live a perfect life to show us (even in part) that it could be done? I don't think so. I think he did it precisely because it needed to be done but couldn't be.

Look at the Sermon on the Mount. Was that to give us a rule for living or to demonstrate that no one could keep the one they already had, that is, to show that thwe standard was so much higher that is was completely out of reach. To demonstrate how sinful we are.

Did he want to show us that we could be resurrected if only we could live a perfect life? Then why does Paul say in Galatians that by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified?

I think that the example idea needs to be ditched entirely if only because it detracts so much from what he came to DO.
Seems to me that in the admonition to "Imitate me as I imitate Christ", Paul was really saying, "If you're not sure what the law requires, let me show you." We can imitate Christ if we take all Scripture under advisement but if we use Christ as an example we quickly lose sight of his real mission. To die.

Again, I'm not saying he was in no way an example, just that, we people too often want to be told what to do (as if we could do it) rather than being told what was done on our behalf.

Dan said...

Hello --- Dan Kimball here.

Frank - it is an honor you would choose to read "They Like Jesus, but not the Church" and I hope it will be encouraging and insightful to you about the mission of Jesus we are on in a post-Christian culture.

I have a couple of responses and give some input, as last time I was a focus on one of your postings, it got so out of hand in terms of assumptions being made. So to make sure that those reading and contributing to this, will not make assumptions as quickly I will post some responses straight from myself.

Sorry this is long, but I am passionate about being clear so there are no assumptions made from those who aren't reading the book.


1) Phil- in your you "cent" you wrote: "Even a noteless Bible would still include 1 Thessalonians 4:2-3; 1 Peter 4:1-5; Hebrews 12:16-17; Colossians 3:5-6; and a load of similar texts. Was Kimball planning to tear those pages out of the Bible before giving it to the cohabitating couple?"

If you read the rest of the story in the book, you would read that I went back to the church office and got him a normal Bible that did not have the highlighted and added boxes with notes. As I wrote in the book, I was not embarassed of the Scriptures, I was embarassed that this publisher chose to first focus and highlight so much on pointing out all the "don't do this" things, rather than focus on Jesus and who He is and about salavation etc. This was a unbeliever who I was giving his first Bible to, and I wanted the Scriptures themselves to be what he read, not have him see all the added boxes of human words pointing out the "don't do this" things. It was not the time to do that, I was simply giving him his first Bible. So in answer to your "cent", I ran back to the church and gave him a full Bible, all pages included, but not this one.


2) In the book I wrote who I think Jesus is on pages 56-57. I would tell someone who Jesus is (I am quoting what I wrote in the book) as:

"When I think of Jesus, I think of the triune God, who eternally exists in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coeternal in power and glory (Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14)...the one concieived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-31), a teacher who astonished people with his insight and authoritative teaching (Matt.7:28-29), how he wept for people, even though who rejected him (Luke 19:41, his heart was filled with compassion for people (Matt 9:36). I think of how he stood strong against the religious legalism of his day (Luke 20:19-20). I think of the one who not only drank wine, but provided it (John 2:1-11). I think of the one who didn't just sit in a holy huddle or point out thr wrongs of culture but hung out with sinners and ate with them (Matt 9:10). I think of the Jesus who was tempted and understood temptation yet was sinless (Heb 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). I think of the Jesus who was sent by God because of His great love for humanity to take on our sin (John 1:1-2,14,29; 3:16-21). I think of the Jesus who accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross as a substitionary sacrifice and then was bodily resurrected from the dead (Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24). I think of the Jesus who appeared to his disciples and said they have a mission not to create an inward focused community and to complain about the world, but rather to go out and with the power of the Spirit live missional lives, bringing the light of Jesus to others (Acts 1:8). I think of the Jesus who sees the church as his bride (Rev 21:2,9) and loves the church even when we disappoint him.

I think of the Jesus who is ascended into heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, he intercedes for us and serves as our advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Heb 7:25; 9:24). I also think, soberly, of the Jesus who will one day come again and judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5; Rom 14:9; 2 Tim 4:1). Jesus is our friend and friend of sinners, but he also is a righteous judge who will hold us accountable one day for how we lived our lives."

3) In regards to talking about "sin" with people, I have found that in the context of relationships people have no problem talking about sin. In our church, we talk about sin and repentance all the time. I wrote on page 256:

"If we water down our beliefs and hide who Jesus really is, we would be conforming to the world. Ironically, I have found that people who like Jesus but not the church want noting more than to talk about who Jesus really is and are willing to open the Bible and look at passages that address their questions. I have found that we can openly talk about our beliefs in sin, hell, human sexuality, holiness, repentance, and all the things we would feel difficult to talk about with people outside the church. But the key is how we do it. If we just start spouting our viewpoints or Bible verses without their asking for them or before they have come to trust us, they most likely will shut us out. But if people sense we care about them and can have honest discussion and dialogue with them, we cant alk about absolutely anything.

I recognize it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to repentance and their understanding of their need for a Savior. But we need to do our part."


I hope this helps those understand more about where I am personally coming from and beliefs I hold to which Frank is referring to.

Thank you! and sorry for the long post, but I am finding it better to be as clear as possible so people don't jump to conclusions. And even short (or long) blog comments, it is still hard to communicate the fullness of one's beliefs about something. But I hope this gives some more insight.

Peace in Jesus,

Dan

bassicallymike said...

Cent;When is the "right way" and the "right time" to tell a person about sin?

If I recieved anything from the "Parable Of The Sower", it was scatter the seed everywhere and at anytime. If we get hung up on right time, place, method, etc. we are doing too much thinking and not enough scattering. Besides http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Isaiah+55%3A11

bassicallymike said...

Opps Sorry about that!

Isaiah 55:11
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ESV

Took two to post my first.

Daryl said...

"I have found that people who like Jesus but not the church want noting more than to talk about who Jesus really is and are willing to open the Bible and look at passages that address their questions. I have found that we can openly talk about our beliefs in sin, hell, human sexuality, holiness, repentance, and all the things we would feel difficult to talk about with people outside the church."

Quick comment on Dan's post. I thought it was quite good.

I would however, want to point out, that, at least in my experience, that as soon as we start talking about what Jesus REALLY said, particularly about Him being God, and sin being bad, the interest is gone, the "well if it works for you" (or worse)comments come out.
Not only that, but it seems to me that saying that people dislike church and like Jesus belies Jesus words, "If they hate me, they will hate you" (my paraphrase).
While realizing that we can muck things up pretty well, we should also note that when Jesus drew a crowd, they wanted food, not truth. When he gave them the truth, they left. I would suggest that the same is true today. Crowds are not always bad, but the certainly can't be used to demonstrate the validity of a ministry. Nor can the lack of crowds indicate the faithlessness of a ministry.

fool4jesus said...

Cent:

"For example, what if they think they are basically a good person who makes mistakes, but who doesn't make mistakes?"

It seems to me that you need to find a common ground there. I like C. S. Lewis's comment that oftentimes talking about the sin that had been your own biggest problem in the recent weeks hits home. You're right in that people call good evil and evil good; but they surely have some sense of doing things wrong, even if they don't call it "sin."

For example, I was witnessing to an agnostic a few years ago where I admitted that I hadn't been quite straight on a business expense, but that I wanted to make restitution. I am sure he did the same; but I thought that made more of an impression on him than anything else I said to him.

Sewing said...

I just want to throw something in. For most of my life, I was a skeptical non-believer. But for much of the past two decades, I did read the Bible on and off, sometimes pray, and the like. I had a conception of God the Father, but idea that Jesus was the Son of God escaped me.

In the summer of '93, I went through a particularly intense religious (though unsaved) period, going to a liberal church, praying, and reading through all four gospels.

Let me tell you, it is easy for a non-believer to simply skip—not skip, but be unfazed by—the hard stuff that Jesus preaches, or his many apocalyptic pronouncements, or his preaching on or alluding to his own divinity. I read all the way through all four gospels, and yet all I saw was an enlightened man, a teacher of love. I just filtered out all the stuff that would actually challenge my worldview. It helped that I thought of Scripture as being merely a human artifact, not the inspired Holy Writ.

Of course, the Holy Spirit has since convicted me of the wrongness of my approach, but I thought I'd just throw that in.

Dan said...

Hi Daryl,

your comment about:

".. as soon as we start talking about what Jesus REALLY said, particularly about Him being God, and sin being bad, the interest is gone, the "well if it works for you" (or worse)comments come out.
Not only that, but it seems to me that saying that people dislike church and like Jesus belies Jesus words, "If they hate me, they will hate you" (my paraphrase."


I have found in my experience, that when trust is built, there is openness to discussion about why we believe Jesus is deity etc. Or why we believe Jesus is the only way or that all roads don't lead to God. That is why I feel we need have an increased attention to apologetics and well as be prepared with well thought through and prayed through ways of explaining what and why we believe what we do.

I have had many conversations with unbelievers, whom I have built relationships with and therefore have a voice with them about why and what I believe. I have discovered that most have only heard from Christians that "Jesus is the only way, all roads don't leave to God. Take it or leave it!" and that is it. Well, that is true about Jesus, but I can attest that over and over again I have found out that most have not had someone lovingly and prayerfully and logically walk through why we believe that. That is what brings me hope, is that when we have back and forth discussion, we are praying, we listen to the other person to hear why they believe what they do etc. I have seen people who have come to salvation in putting faith in Jesus.


I think that we can jump to "well, Jesus said they would hate us, so that is why they do" and then leave them or not spend time with them. What I have found by asking people, is that it usually isn't about hating the gospel. It is about hating the personalities and attitudes of the messengers (us) and the way we present things. There is a big, big, big difference between the two.

This is why I have so much optimism if we only would be involved in the lives of those outside the church, to show we really care and through time they will the trust us and we listen to them and why they believe what they do. Christians like telling other people what we believe, but don't like to listen to why others believe what they believe. But understanding another persons beliefs is critical to then understand how best to communicate with the person.

By truly caring and listening, we then we gain a voice with them.

But it seems most Christians don't earn the voice, and then just jump to the bottom line rather then listen first to understand how best to explain why we believe Jesus is the only way etc. or the gospel to the person, and then we aren't "hated" at all. They may not agree or believe, but we aren't "hated" as they trust us and see we aren't arrogant jerks. The gospel is a stumbling block and they may not believe, but i think to say there should be an expectation that "they will hate us" is missing the hope and also an easy way out to not build relationships to then be heard. I think we sometimes can use those words of Jesus about people "hating us" in a way that Jesus wasn't meaning it to be. I think we can use the line of "they will hate us" unintentionally as a subtle cop-out as to explain why we don't see results in our personal evangelism. Mostly, iy is because we don't make effort and take the time to build relationships with unbelievers and listen to what they believe, so they trust us and then actually will listen to us.

Listening is important, as we then can communicate in a way that makes sense to where they are coming from as we communicate Scriptural truth and the gospel. It really is nothing more than a missionary in another culture would be doing, but we need to recognize we today need to think and commnicate as though we were a missionary in a different culture.

Those are some more thoughts....


Dan

Hayden said...

Dan,

I understand where you are coming from in the sense of not wanting to become the offense but letting the Gospel become the offense. That is true. We always should present the truth in love.

Back to the young man that you gave the Bible to who was living with his girlfriend. Would you address the sinfulness of the situation that this young man is in? How and when? Would you take him to the passages that Phil stated and explain them? What do you think about the evangelism of guys like Way of the Master?

See, what I am confused about is that many of the young people I talk to, granted I am not in California but in the Midwest, know that living with a girlfriend is sinful. I would think that would be a great place to start with the "high cost" of following Christ. Confrontation does not have to be mean spirited. (For example John 4 and the woman at the well was very loving but also confrontational)

I get what you are saying about interacting with those who do not believe in Christ, I for many years was in that boat, but in our postmodern world people are starving for absolute authoritative truth. We must listen without giving equal weight to opinion as we do teh Word of God. (I am not accusing you of doing this)

Have a great day Dan.

David said...

Beautiful cent,

I'm pretty much a simpleton. I figure if we're going to worship, we ought to know who we're worshiping. So I just read the Bible to find out who that is. John 5:39-40 pretty much decides for us how we are to interpret the Bible.

Everything else just sorta flows. Organically speaking, of course.

centuri0n said...

Pastor Dan:

Your gracious tone is always a lesson to me, so thanks for posting here.

If it wasn't clear, I'll make it clear here that I haven't finished reaing your book and therefore whether you answered these questions later wasn't really my point. It's utterly unfair to judge a book by the first 113 pages when there's still 119 to go.

That said, since you stopped by, you can imagine that I really love detailed affirmations of who Jesus is. I -love- them. For me, it's like when someone asks me why I have a great marriage and I get to tell them about what a great wife I have. So I pronounce a formal TeamPyro "good on ya" for having such a detailed and useful affirmation of who Jesus is. Eventually I may ask you about the stuff you left out, but for now I'm silling to stipulate that it is at least as good as one any average SBC pastor might make.

Here's my question for you, based on that statement: is that the Jesus people say they like when they say they don't like the church? For example, is "the Jesus who will one day come again and judge the living and the dead" or "a righteous judge who will hold us accountable one day for how we lived our lives" or "who eternally exists in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coeternal in power and glory" the Jesus they love?

I'm interested.

centuri0n said...

Pretty David:

Is that organic like a fractal or organic like mold? Or is it both?

David said...

Organic like a Hammond.

Tartanarmy said...

I will have a go at this, and try not to edit my conscience!

1. Who is Jesus -- that is, How does Jesus present Himself in Scripture?

He is the Saviour. He is the great “I am”. The eternal God and the second Adam.
He is to be approached on His terms, not ours. He commands repentance from all men everywhere, and is merciful, longsuffering and presents Himself as man’s greatest need in this life and the next life.

He has emerged, and we who know Him, must proclaim Him to all men without distinction.
It goes without saying that He is relevant to all people everywhere, regardless of anyone’s disposition about Him.

2. What is a man's relationship with Jesus -- that is, what about man or about Jesus makes that relationship either appropriate or necessary?

Following on from the first premise, Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He is the way to God, the truth about God, and the very life of God. If we are to know our Creator, we are to know Him.
If a person wants to fully live, then a person must have life from Him.

3. When is the "right way" and the "right time" to tell a person about sin?

We have patterns in scripture to follow, but anytime is basically a good time. We need not shy away from confronting people about sin, both universally and personally before a Holy God.

I think basic anthropology from a biblical perspective needs the immediate attention of the Church Universal.

We need to proclaim once again, the inherent nature of sinners, confronting them with the Law both from a negative and positive aspect, maybe even spending more time these self seeking and time constrained days upon “the” sins of omission.

Since we are in this so called “emergent” culture, I would suggest that post-modern man is perhaps the most selfish and emotive group in the entire history of man AD.

Stay faithful to scripture not fearing the hostility, complacency, post modernity or apathy of man.

Mark.

Jay said...

Dan

That was a great comment and it made me decide to check out your book.

Also, I think Vintage Faith is one of my all-time favorite church names.

Jay

Dan said...

for Frank and Hayden:

Hi Hayden!

You wrote:

"what I am confused about is that many of the young people I talk to, granted I am not in California but in the Midwest, know that living with a girlfriend is sinful. I would think that would be a great place to start with the "high cost" of following Christ. Confrontation does not have to be mean spirited. (For example John 4 and the woman at the well was very loving but also confrontational)."


If this was a Christian, my conversation would be different. This was a non-Christian who had never read a Bible before and the context leading up to where I asked him if he would be interested in reading a Bible if I got him one was not about him living with his girlfriend. It was about the person of Jesus. So I don't think it would be appropriate to come back to him and in our initial talks about Jesus jump into that he is living with his girlfriend. Instead I wanted him to read about Jesus and his teaching and about salvation and grace. Again, if he was a Christian, that would have been an entirely different situation. I have lived in New Jersey, Colorado and California and I don't find that most young people outside the church believe living with their girlfriend or boyfriend is "sinful", as that is the cultural and accepted norm for today. So maybe where you are from they do think that, or those who grew up in a christian home understand that. But in my experience living together isn't seen at all as sinful anymore. At our church we teach that sex outside of the covenant of marriage would be sin. So it is very clear what we teach in our church, which against the cultural norm. But in this case with the fellow at the coffeehouse, that wasn't the issue of discussion. The issue was "would you like to read a Bible?".



Frank -

Your question was:

"is that the Jesus people say they like when they say they don't like the church? For example, is "the Jesus who will one day come again and judge the living and the dead" or "a righteous judge who will hold us accountable one day for how we lived our lives" or "who eternally exists in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - coeternal in being, coeternal in nature, coeternal in power and glory" the Jesus they love?"


No, not at all. The Jesus that people outside the church "like" is one more of a Gandhi-like person, who taught about love etc. So it isn't the biblical Jesus, but only what they have a very minimal understanding of. But the exciting part, is that because they respect what they know of him, it then opens the discussion about what the Bible does say about him.

And of course there is plenty about Jesus left out in that statement, but it wasn't an exhaustive list, but did hopefully describe some key things the Bible says about Him.

Thank you for asking!

Dan

KM said...

Daryl,

"Did Jesus come to live a perfect life to show us (even in part) that it could be done?"

I think we're having a communication issue here. I'm not saying, nor have I tried to imply, that we can "do" it as if more practice will make us better until we finally get it right. I'm not talking about something that I can accomplish. I'm not talking about imitating anyone. I'm saying that he came as an example to show that it could be done so that people would have proof that God saw them and He would remember.

Cent,

"How does Jesus matter to any person apart from their state in sin?"

He is the gate by which we are able to know the Father. It is through him we receive the Holy Spirit, which is imperative to our being able to do anything useful as the church.

I guess I don't fully understand the question. He is God and really. for me, it is all about the sin he's saved me from. I don't know how to consider how he "matters" to me apart from my state in sin. I just know that without him I'd be useless or more likely dead.

centuri0n said...

Pastor Dan:

I like your answer, because it is exactly right.

Is that the Jesus people say they like when they say they don't like the church? No, not at all.

With that place of agreement, I am going to ask you to please be patient until I have finished off your book. I have other questions, and I am going to wait until I have the whole rest of the book under my belt before I ask them.

However, I am going to have a related post tomorrow here at TeamPyro about a different particular example on which I would love get your feedback.

Stay Tuned.

centuri0n said...

km:

If you affirm that Jesus is God and somehow miss that this quality requires us to see our relationship in the non-negotiable context of sin before God, you really do not understand what the Bible says.

Jesus didn't come to be everybody's lovie friend: Jesus came to die a bloody death because He is Christ and we are sinners, and then to raise from the dead because He is Lord.

That is what Jesus' love means -- not some chummy buddy movie plot where Jesus just comforts us with platitudes; not some Thomas Kinkade painting where Jesus is sort of meekly inviting us in; not some 21st century 3.75-minute video where Jesus is a scruffy-yet-buff kid and we are his cheap girlfriend whom he impresses with his new attitude.

Jesus' love is a lot bigger than an experience of acceptance or a moment of comfort because we think he's someplace near by -- but not so close as to be leading the Second Coming. Jesus' love is about costly redemption and our response is not merely emulation but gratitude. We do because it has been done for us not because we are now smarter but because we are now no longer under God's wrath.

I know: that's a scary Jesus. He's not like Gandhi. He's more like the marines we sent to Iraq -- but saying that will cause a whole other layer of conflict here.

Hayden said...

Dan,

I too have lived all over the US,( I am a former US Navy corpsman and son of a salesman)and though many young people, which I am considered by some to be, would say that living with a girlfriend is not sinful, they often act differently by not telling parents, employers etc. We all know sin in our hearts. (Romans 2)

My point in bringing up the young man was that in you giving him a Bible that made that clear in the study notes might have helped him to understand the passages that speak of his particular sin. Rather than being "embarassed of the publisher" highlighting this truth, maybe you should have given it to him in hopes of further dialog. Was what the publisher saying "unbiblical", "overcritical"or "unloving"?

My point is that this young man might have benefitted from the help of the notes in the Bible you chose not to give him. You wanted him to focus on the Jesus of salvation and salvation involves repentance, doesn't it? You have said that many respect Jesus as a Ghandi type person but that is not the Jesus of the Bible.

I hope that you will have further opportunity to speak with this young man. I know you care for him and his soul, and I would in no way advocate that he must "clean up his life" before he comes to Jesus.

Thanks for the gracious conversation, Dan.

David said...

Ugly David Here

Frank, I believe this was addressed to me

"Your answer is interesting in that it seems to imply that the Apostles made up stuff about Jesus."

Well, if you think I implied that I was either completely unclear or you hopelessly misread me.

To be perfectly clear, I believe the apostles wrote down the true teachings (and happenings) of Jesus.

They did not however, write all of the teachings or happenings of Jesus. They included in thier letters what made sense for them to include to those they were writing to. Thats why for example, the gospels have about 60% basically identical material, and varying amounts of other things (or unique material). They were not making things up - they were simply telling others what the authors (under the guidence of the Holy Spirit) believed needed to be said to the recipients of the letter.

What they did do, basically, was to pick and choose either memories of thier own, or what they had been told by others, and then communicated that information. (and just to clear up any other nagging suspissions, all that is the bible - no other gospels or texts outside of it are needed (although I do like the Didache)

Well, it seems to me the same process should apply when we talk with others about Jesus. We should share from Bible that which we think is appropriate for that person, at that time, praying for guidence from the Holy Spirit.

I suppose the other option is to just stick to the Chick Tracts.


My point was not to gut the historic understanding of the Gospel, it was to point out the similarity between what the apostles did in selecting the teachings and actions of Jesus when choosing which ones to communicate, to our choosing which ones to communicate at a given time to a given person.

We know Jesus because through the teachings of the apostles in the Bible and the testomony of believers in our lives. I am really just trying to be precise in how we come to know who he is.

It is the Gospel of Jesus. As recorded by the disciples and given to us in the Bible, as as testified to us by other believers. And the exact portion of that message taught at any one time is tailored to the audience.

I am either too nuanced, or to pendantic. Perhaps both.

KM said...

Cent,

"...see our relationship in the non-negotiable context of sin before God..."

I'm not sure what you mean by this statement.

My view of Jesus is not that of the cool buddie who just wants to hang out. But, I do believe he views me in much the same way he viewed the Israelites when he said that he only wanted to take them under his wing as a hen does her chicks. He hates my sin the same way I hate when my son dissobeys me; not the way I hate when my neighbor plays his music too loud at night. When my son dissobeys me it is for his benifit that I discipline him; dealing with my neighbor benifits me.

I'm not sure if this had made my viewpoint clearer or not. But, I've never compared Jesus with Gandi, even in my head.

centuri0n said...

What you are doing, david, is trying to decide on whether what Scripture says and the way it says it is sufficient for use to use as a guide.

For example, I think Francis Chan recently made the point in a sermon that this crazy Jesus, when people started turning out in droves to see Him, made it harder to understand Him and harder to treat Him like a pop star. That is a picture of Jesus people don't even consider -- especially the people who supposedly like Jesus but hate the church.

The picture that the 4 Gospels paint of Jesus is hard to receive -- and not one of the Gospels was written to make it easier to believe in Jesus. To see the Gospels that way is to simply gloss over the volumes of hard, accusatory, weighty, challenging things Jesus says and does.

Please: reconsider your view of this. Whether you think I'm proposing a Jack Chick view of scripture or not is irrelevant to me. What I'm saying is that your view takes these Scriptures and makes them into a puzzle book out of which we can make anything we want. There is no way that's the intention of the human writers, and there's no way that's God's intention for this writing.

centuri0n said...

km:

[sigh]

Keep reading this blog, km.

KM said...

Cent,

I will keep reading this blog because I really enjoy the discussion. However, I'm not confused about something I read in the Bible. I'm confused about the statement I questioned you about. I would appreciate it if you would either reward it or explain what exactly you mean. The [sigh] did not clear things up for me. Thanks.

Sewing said...

Praise & worship David wrote:

"Organic like a Hammond"

Best. Comeback. Ever!

jsb said...

Something Dan K. wrote:

"I have had many conversations with unbelievers, whom I have built relationships with and therefore have a voice with them about why and what I believe. I have discovered that most have only heard from Christians that "Jesus is the only way, all roads don't leave to God. Take it or leave it!" and that is it. Well, that is true about Jesus, but I can attest that over and over again I have found out that most have not had someone lovingly and prayerfully and logically walk through why we believe that."

In my experience, the "take it or leave it" approach is rare. We all come from differing backgrounds and demographics, and that no doubt colors judgments on this. The truth, I suspect, is much more polychromatic than either/or.

In my church experience, I have not met many "take it or leave it" types. You find them on TV sometimes, of course!

But when the gospel is presented without apology and without rancor, that's when I've seen some power manifested. Even when the subject is sin.

Phil Johnson said...

Arrrggh! Workmen shut off the electricity in my neighborhood today, so I've missed the whole conversation.

Dan:

Thanks for your answer. Like you I am "passionate about being clear"--but I'm not sure we share a common opinion about how best to achieve clarity--or what truths it's most important to be clear about.

In any case, I too would usually prefer to give an unannotated Bible rather than a study Bible to an unbeliever who has never read the Bible before, so we agree on that basic aspect of your strategy. But I'd also want to take the opportunity if possible to highlight certain truths germane to the gospel, including the fact of sin (which, is, after all, where Paul generally started, too).

I certainly wouldn't be squeamish about whether the Bible's condemnation of this or that particular sin might make someone "like" me less. I don't think angst about whether someone "likes" me (or the church in general) is a particularly healthy preoccupation--especially when the person's dislike is tied to some biblical truth we believe and proclaim. It's that aspect of your book's title (and your worldview) that makes me nervous.

Frank and Dan:

I dunno whether anyone noticed, but the hit counter recently went over a million.

DJP said...

...the hit counter recently went over a million.

Cool!

{ pssst, Frank — we can quit hitting F5! }

Jeff Wright said...

Dang, another swing and a miss on Kimball. I love you guys but from where I sit its now Dan 2 - Pyros 0. Everytime he comes on here and interacts with a post about him, he makes himself and his position look better. I wonder how many fans he's gained through these posts that he otherwise wouldn't have had. Good for him. I still have you guys as my homepage so its all good.

Congrats on the 1mil mark, btw.

Daryl said...

KM,

You said "I'm saying that he came as an example to show that it could be done so that people would have proof that God saw them and He would remember."

So...because Jesus lived a perfect life, now people can say "God saw me"?? Is that what you are saying?
And what will "He remember"? I don't follow you. Maybe you could explain that sentence.

Jesus hinself said, "Even if someone were raised from the dead, still they will not believe." Jesus wasn't putting himself on display, he was taking care of business... at the cross. It won't help me to know that God remembers, unless he came to die in my place. Otherwise it's just bad bad news.

Jay said...

Where was the swing and where was the miss?

Daryl said...

About the book title...now that Dan has said that people like Jesus because they think he's like Gandhi...shouldn't the title be "They think they like Jesus, but then again they've never met him" or "They like Gandhi, they just call him Jesus."

I'm not sure how that is a good thing. How would you recognize me if you thought I looked like...say...the Centuri0n. You wouldn't. Unless someone explained that I'm nowhere near as nice as Cent and looked far worse...but that might offend them.

Sewing said...

The millionnennium has come!

Congratulations, guys.

Sewing said...

...Soli Deo Gloria...

David said...

Frank -
We are talking, but obviously not communicating.

"...and not one of the Gospels was written to make it easier to believe in Jesus."

I am not sure what there is to reconsider Frank, considering I did not say that.

I also did not say we can make scripture say anything we want.

I also did not say we should avoid the hard things of scripture.

Rather than repeat myself for a third time (that would be pendantic) I will just leave it.

Dan said...

Daryl -

I hope we don't get too picky about book titles..... The title of the book is a generalized statement of the fact that an increasing amount of people are interested in what they know of Jesus (as I shared earlier, it is primarily not the biblical Jesus but a pop-culture of Jesus). But the point is that through conversations and if you were to read the book, you would see that they are open to learning about the biblical Jesus. The exciting part is the intitial interest and respect of what they think of Jesus opens up the discussion to the biblical Jesus as well as opens up the conversation (and I mean a conversation and listening to their beliefs and talking back and forth) about all types of the stereotypes they have about Christians and the church in general. It is a very, very, very good thing actually, because of all the ways we then can talk about the biblical Jesus since they are interested in the pop-culture version of Jesus and then learn who Jesus is in the Bible and not just the pop version of Him.

Phil, I agree with you about not hiding sin, and in any relationship I have had in the discussions with those outside the church, we definetly talk about sin according to the Bible. There is no hiding anything. But how we talk about it, and developing trust from them makes the difference in them taking seriously what the Bible says. That is why I have hope and see the Spirit working in people's lives.

Dan

Brad Leber said...

I’m always late on these things because of my work schedule but here goes…

1) Jesus is God incarnate. He is the perfect Son of God. Perfect as in WITHOUT SIN.

2) My relationship to Jesus is based on my need for a savior from sin. My need for a substitute who can take my place in standing before a Holy God. This is the basis for the entire premise of the Law and the sacrificial system as illustrated in the OT.

3) The reason I cannot enter God’s Kingdom is my sin.

The answer is Jesus.

No one is going to seek a savior from sin unless they realize that they are sinful.

Sin is the main thing I need to understand about myself if I am going to fall on my face and declare, “be merciful to me a sinner”.

This is not popular, nor will it be received well when presented.

One of the main arguments against believers and the Church is that we are trying to be better than anyone else, "Holier then thou" if you will. And that we are judgmental. This is why Jesus said “if the world hates you know that it has hated me before it hated you”

I do not see how one can present the gospel of hope without building upon a premise of one’s sin separating one from God, and Jesus being the propitiation which prevents God’s wrath from being levied for that offence.

I cannot convince anyone of the need for following Christ without informing them of their hopeless standing before a Holy God, and sin is the MAIN issue.

centuri0n said...

Jeff Wright:

The post today -- the $20 post -- is a "swing at Kimball", if those are the words you want to choose.

The post about this one paragraph was not a swing at Pastor Dan. What I find amazing is that Psator Kimball and I -agreed- on almost everything he said here and someone is willing to take that as an argument.

This wasn't the argument: it seems clear to me that Dan Kimball would agree with me that the people he interviewed for his book really didn't know anything about Jesus or the church.

The question is: what does one do with that information?

And that's where we part company.

When we get to the place that an open discussion (begun with threats of literary violence against those who would turn it into a bash session) can be called a "swing" at someone, I think maybe there's a self-esteem problem someplace.

You wanna "win one"? Go to my post today and "win one" there. The foundation for that issue is here in the meta -- and unless someone wants to unpost what is posted here already, the $20 post is the official first salvo from me on the premise and conclusions of Pastor Kimball's book and theology.

centuri0n said...

One million hits? That's pretty good if you ask me. Think of how many we'd get if Officer Pecadillo ever posted here.

Daryl said...

Dan K,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I can't really write an answer now, just to say that it just seemed like an odd title. Hardly a legitimate complaint on my part to be sure. Just an observation.

Anyways, thanks again for your time. I always enjoy reading your replies.

donsands said...

"I think we sometimes can use those words of Jesus about people "hating us" in a way that Jesus wasn't meaning it to be." -Dan

That's for sure.

But there is a way to not be hated, because we don't preach the Gospel in it's puest sense as well. We share everything in the Holy Scripture's that won't offend people, and things that they may not mind, love, forgiveness, peace, joy, unity, kindness, heaven, etc, and so they think we are religious, and they have no problem with that.

Is this the way to speak the truth in love?

I think your way, Dan, is dangerous in that it can convert someone to become a good person, someone who turns over a new leaf on life.

The Gospel is the power unto salvation, and to the Jews, or religious minded people, it's an offense, and they hate it. And to the pagans is simply stupid, and foolish.
But ot us who are being saved, it's something we would die for.

I appreciate all you have said here, and though we disagree, you have challenged me to share the truth more with others, because when I do, people do hate me, and hate being hated, but I must do it any way.
So thanks for the challenge.
Blessing to you and your family.

Dan said...

Hi Don and Brad!

Don said:

"Is this the way to speak the truth in love?

I think your way, Dan, is dangerous in that it can convert someone to become a good person, someone who turns over a new leaf on life."

my response is that I absolutely talk about sin and repentance. i am not sure why you don't think I do - however, that is not what I start conversations and with each individual it changes on when the message of repentance end sin comes up. But is not dangerous at all, as no one has put faith in Jesus (to my knowledge) that has not understood why we need a "Savior" and what sin is. There is no coming to faith without that being explained. Remember too, these are in the context of relationships with those who don't go to church. In our church worship gatherings, we constantly talk about the cross, sin, repentance, salvation.

I think this also is responding to what Brad raised.

I would be curious to hear the stories of what you do, and what has been the fruit of your sharing?


Thank you!

Dan


P.S. by the way, these correspondences this time have been so much better than last time on this blog! thank you for how you are writing and the tone etc.

jsb said...

Dan K, it seems to me from your posts here that what you posit as an approach has really been practiced in evangelicalism for a long time. It's the sort of thing Rebecca Pippert wrote about 25, 30 years ago, and others. IOW, to get a "conversation going," we don't jump to "take it or leave it." That's the way I've been doing it, and my church as well, for that long.

As I said before, I don't find much of the "take it or leave" approach anymore. I think that may be a bit of a caricature if applied to the church at large.

It's the content of the message after that which is the crucial matter. I'm very heartened to hear that you do cover what seem to be the fundamentals of the faith. It would be interesting to explore how you coordinate those within your personal church life. Do you cover that in your book?

Dan said...

Hi jsb!

you are exactly right with the Rebecca Pippert comments. i am not proposing anything "new", I am proposing that Christians get back in the world and get in relationships with people to build trust, and then be able to share about beliefs in Jesus in a way that people outside the church will then listen, because they trust and know us. Nothing very new about that. But as I probe and ask most christians, their primary (if not only) social structure is hanging out with all Christians in all of their social environments, thus losing the opportunity to build trust and get in conversations about the gospel.


but i will say that, although most of us don't use the "take it or leave it" approach - as I interviewed many people, they have had agressive evangelists who did use that approach. The types who still go on the street and hold up signs about hell, or the ones who walk up to you and try to witness to you with no relationship.

Because so many of us are in what I call the "Christian bubble", there are the agressive types of evangelists whom people encounter which do still exist and therefore paint a stereotype of all Christians as they are the only ones most people outside the church meet.

So unfortunately it isn't too much of a caricature. Again, you aren't like that, but those who are most like that are the ones people end up encountering.

As for your question:

"It would be interesting to explore how you coordinate those within your personal church life. Do you cover that in your book?"

can you explain that more, I don't know what you mean there.

thank you!

Dan

Jeff Wright said...

Man, I had to wait til the next day for the expected humorless, overboard, defensive response.

The post about this one paragraph was not a swing at Pastor Dan. What I find amazing is that Psator Kimball and I -agreed- on almost everything he said here and someone is willing to take that as an argument.

"Swing and a miss." Its a commonly used expression. Parse it if you wish. No one said anything about an argument. On the other hand, we'd have to be blind to not see this post as a set up for something like the $20 post. So maybe I jumped the gun a little bit on what was obviously coming next. (No, I don't have a gun. "Jumping the gun" is also just an expression).

When we get to the place that an open discussion... can be called a "swing" at someone, I think maybe there's a self-esteem problem someplace.

Its funny you bring up self-esteem problems. Does that have anything to do with your issues with Kimball?

"You wanna "win one"? Go to my post today and "win one" there."

Holy cow, project much? I think you're the only one trying to win anything here.

jsb said...

Thanks for the response, Dan K. I think we agree on the approach aspect. The church question was about the assimilation aspect (I'm assuming here you'll agree the church is at least partly about assimilation, the lost becoming part of Christ's body, learning to die to self, etc). Do you go into that in your book? Maybe I should just buy a copy, huh?

Phil Johnson said...

Rodeo clowns.

Pheh.

donsands said...

"no one has put faith in Jesus (to my knowledge) that has not understood why we need a "Savior" and what sin is."

To have this knowledge doesn't mean one is converted.
I know Mormons who understand this.

Paul said, there will be those who believe in VAIN.
Jesus said, amny will come on that Day, and say, "Lord Lord".

Dan, I truly believe you are a fine man, who loves the Word and the Lord. I believe that you are more people-centered than God-centered. More concerned about peopl, (which is a good thing), than you are about God's glory.
I may be wrong, but it seems like this to me. My last pastor was wired this way, and he's an incredible man of God, but he needs to become more Christ-focused, and less man-focused. There's a fine spirtual line here.

I have shared the good news, to Catholics, who go to church, and believe they are Christians, who become very angry when I share my love for Christ, and how He died for all our sins, and came out of the tomb on the third day.
They acknowlede the death and resurrection, and yet they don't want to hear the Gospel of grace.
They have their own gospel of works and religion. Live a decent life, and God will be forgiving.
They have no idea what the Gospel of grace is.
And they get very POed sometimes, and I have gain some friendships as well.

It's a mixture for me. I'm hated, and I'm liked.
I haven't seen one conversion, except for my wife and daughter, and hopefully my three grandsons.

But that's God's business to do the saving. I'm to speak the truth in love, and live a life os denying myself, and of gratitude.

God bless.

Jeff Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob hyatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Wright said...

"Rodeo clowns.

Pheh."


Since I've had a comment censored here for using the word "crap" before, I would think that you wouldn't find it acceptable to degrade someone by calling them a rodeo clown. But I can see how saying poop, hiney, or crap is much worse than calling someone a name. I hope Swindoll never posts here. He might even mention the length of his doctor's finger or something even more profane.

I'm sure you guys think you're fighting the good fight when you try to challenge Kimball. But, like I said before, each time he comes on here and makes your ham-fisted bluster toward him look silly, he is persuading more and more people to come over to his point of view. He is at least establishing himself as someone who is very credible. I know at least one person who has been turned on to Kimball's site because of what he's read here. And its not just that he makes himself look good but you guys, particularly Cernturi0n, make yourselves look bad. But, as you've said, who cares if people don't like what you have to say or don't like you because of what you say, right? You're on the side of the Lord and Jesus said people will hate you because of Him so I guess you have a blank check to say what you want however you want as long as its under the guise of standing for the truth. As long as its not "profane," of course.

Tim Brown said...

Dan:

A simple question. Let's suppose I'm a non-believer. You know I'm living with my girlfriend. And although you don't know me very well, you also somehow are aware that I'm going to die tomorrow.

When will you tell me about repentance and faith?

Awww, shucks. I can't resist. Here's the corellary question:

Since you can't know that *anyone* you meet will be alive tomorrow, how can you be casual about a discussion of sin and repentance?

Firemen don't take alot of time to buid relationships before attempting a rescue. Or do they?

Tim

Tim Brown said...

Donands:

You said "It's a mixture for me. I'm hated, and I'm liked.
I haven't seen one conversion, except for my wife and daughter, and hopefully my three grandsons."

Thank you for saying this. So often I've fallen into the "results" trap. Yet we are primarily seed-sowers, not engineers. We don't assembly-line the "results", we merely share the gospel.

I've done this so many times, and I don't remember seeing one person converted. But that is in the Lord's time, not mine. And when it happens, the person will be a genuine convert, not someone who "prays a prayer" to get me off his back.