IT’S ABOUT THE CROSS, STUPID!

gettingreadyforthecross2 posts for the price of one today – and both with the same tagline.

 

REGARDING THE INTERNET MONK

 

I very much enjoy reading the blog of Michael Spencer, aka The Internet Monk. He is often a reminder that I have a long way to go in terms of both wisdom and blogging expertise (compare for example his reasoned and practical response on abortion compared to mine!). However, I should technically be affronted by his standpoint. He is, after all, ‘blogging from the post-evangelical wilderness’ and has left ‘our’ branch of the church.

 

But is that really the case? Let us see what he really opposes. It is certainly not the cross of Christ! By way of quick summary, I would say his evangelical baiting (generally framed within an American context) is aimed at the likes of; the health/wealth ministry, an obsession with prophetically-enlightened end-days theology, rigid Old Testament literalism (eg 7-day creation), a ministry of hate and rage towards the lost (particularly regarding abortion), the aggressive corporate approach of ‘mega-churches’, the hypocrisy of some Christians’ conduct and, to round off, their generally anti-intellectual/academic approach. Looking back over this list, would we really disagree with him??

 

It is important, therefore, to remember that, particularly in the global forum of the internet, if we venture apologetics under the label of ‘evangelicals’, it is often the politically loud American brand of that movement with which we will be assumed associated (I’m British, in case anyone wondered!). The result will be that the battle will be pitched along the lines covered above, at least if we allow others to set the agenda. Some of these issues are very significant, yes, and our voices should be heard when appropriate. However, none of them should represent our primary focus. Because, after all, no-one will ultimately be saved by guessing right when it comes to the Rapture; no-one will be saved by putting their faith in a young Earth; no-one will be saved by opposing abortion.

 

It is the cross that saves. The gospel is Christ crucified; God incarnate, a perfect man dying in our place so we are spared the wrath of judgement. This is most important, and this is what we should be known for as Bible-believing Christians. Our message, along with our righteous conduct as we deliver it, will make us a true light to the world. At the end of the day… It’s about the Cross, stupid!

 

GOD OR JESUS?

 

A quicker one now. Looking back over my recent apologetics efforts, I have realised the problem with engaging the Dawkins crowd. The issue is always, in their eyes, ‘Atheism vs Theism’. It’s all very well, but it means we’re forever arguing whether or not there is a God – issues of morality, creation, order, uniqueness of humanity etc. This is the current water-cooler debate, particularly as the ‘atheist buses’ roll around our streets. There’s a problem here, however. Even if we win this battle, for the same reasons listed in the paragraphs below, we have still fallen short of giving the gospel. It is a long old route to get from proof of God to His purposes, His coming in human form, and His sacrifice on the Cross. Most of the time, we’ll never make it there. If we argue exclusively to prove God’s existence it’s a pyrrhic victory we seek as ‘even the demons believe – and tremble’ (James 2:19). Eventually we have to challenge them towards faith in Christ.

 

I’m wondering therefore… the common wisdom is that, without a foundational belief in a creator God, getting them to believe in Jesus as His son is hopeless. But perhaps there is another way? Perhaps a conviction of Jesus’ role in history, his affect on humanity, the worth of his teaching, the authenticity of the gospels and the wonder of his works really can lead others to new belief in the God revealed in Christ? At least with this approach we will have shared the gospel. It’s also worth remembering that, whatever way we go, nothing’s going to happen without the Spirit’s help. However, lest we ever get too caught up in endlessly discussing the Big Bang, it’s worth remembering… It’s about the Cross, stupid!

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3 comments so far

  1. Phil C on

    Good post. I agree about the internet monk. And the cross!

    As for the Dawkins/”new atheist” crowd, totally with you as well…the line goes “prove God, then we can get to whether Jesus could be God”. But a more fruitful model is “look at Jesus…can he be anyone but God?”. And if so, you’ve answered the existence of God question by default. It works for a lot of complicated issues…”Good question. But look at Jesus and decide about him first…if it’s a no to him, then what he says about your question doesn’t matter any more.”

  2. Philippa on

    Hi Andy,

    Personally I find it pointless to discuss stuff with an atheist. When I have done so, I’m the one who had to prove there’s a God, not them having to prove there isn’t one. Atheists tend to dismiss any evidence, “clues”, or experiences as unscientific. And since I can’t empirically prove there is a God according to scientific principles (observable, testable, repeatable) they dismiss the strong evidence.

    Plus, no Christian I know, and only two I’ve read about (C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel) have been logicked into God. Everyone else I know either felt a longing for “something”, a conviction of sin, or whatever. Having been stung by sometimes abusive and personal comments, I think we’re better off avoiding such debates. We are told in 2 Timothy 2:14 to avoid quarreling with words, as it is of no value and only ruins those who listen.

    Besides, as you say, it’s about the cross (not sure about the stupid part :-)). By living and showing love, hopefully people will ask “what’s different about you?” or “why do you have hope during this difficult time?”. But until we got a lot more Jesus into us, sometimes I think Christians can be their own worst enemy.

  3. Colin Hall on

    “no-one comes to the Father except through me” – Jesus.


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