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Rethinking the good news

What happens when the results become the actual message?

Rev. Fr. Dustin M. Lyon

Source: Rediscovering Christianity

December 6, 2016

The implications of the good news being much more than what happens to you after death is profound. It is, after all, a message about God becoming king, renewing the world, and taking control of creation and he does this through a crucified Messiah. Yes, personal salvation is a part of it, but only a part.

As we preach this fuller picture, it seems we have to be careful not to boil it down to a moral message, which is what often gets preached.

If the good news is a moral contract, then Jesus becomes Santa Claus (happy St. Nick day, by the way). Be good and you’ll get to go to heavenbut if you’re not, don’t worry, Jesus will wipe away our sins.

But what’s the role of the church in this?

Last Friday, a pastor friend of mine shared with me a quote from a theologian named James Cone. In this quote, he basically said that the purpose of the church was to look after the oppressed in society.

Biblically speaking, this is looking after the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger, etc.

But if that’s the role of the church, why do we need Christ? After all, doing good and looking after the oppressed can be boiled down to a life philosophy: do good. And a life philosophy doesn’t need a Messiah.

Unfortunately, this has even affected theology. Freeing the oppressed becomes feminist theology, black theology, liberation theology, and other sorts of contextual theologies. The gospel is no longer the good news of God becoming King. Instead, the results have become the message itself: a philosophy of helping those in need.

So how do we rethink all this in light of the actual good news?

Perhaps, instead of confronting authority with a message of equality for all, it’s a confrontation that God is King and we now have a new way of doing things (the implication being that God looks after those in need).

For the gospel to still be the good news of what God has done through his Messiah, then challenging worldly power with power from on high has to remain central. God’s in control and any power we have is only an illusion and only temporary.

The good news has to remain the message of a crucified Messiah. If the implications become the good news, then it’s a distorted “good news.”

Thoughts?

Rev. Fr. Dustin M. Lyon

Rediscovering Christianity

07 / 12 / 2016

See also:
2016-12-10
15:50
Isidora:
Articles like this show me why it is so important to study the Fathers of our Church and the lives of the saints. Fr Dustin (why not a saint's name?) minimalises the importance and difficulty of our personal salvation. I'm glad this man is not my priest, I wouldn't care how far I had to drive to go somewhere Orthodox.
2016-12-09
10:44
Jesse:
He's saying the Church should not be reduced to a social service ministry. Is that objectionable?
2016-12-07
21:46
Anthony:
Komrades! What on earth is this Konvertsie on or on about? Should you really be sowing such nonsense into the minds your readers.
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