Jesus Wants to Save Christians

“Jesus wants to save us from making the good news about another world and not this one.

Jesus wants to save us from preaching a gospel that is only about individuals and not about the systems that enslave them.

Jesus wants to save us from shrinking the gospel down to a transaction about the removal of sin and not about every single particle of creation being reconciled to its maker.

Jesus wants to save us from religiously sanctioned despair, the kind that doesn’t believe the world can be made better, the kind that either blatantly or subtly teaches people to just be quiet and behave and wait for something big to happen ‘someday’.”

– Rob Bell, “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”

5 thoughts on “Jesus Wants to Save Christians

  1. Hmmm. I would say that while the Gospel should and does guide our actions in this world, ultimately it is about another. Scripture makes it pretty clear that this world is not our home. We can do our best to make it better for those in need, but our ultimate goal is paradise after this world is destroyed.

  2. I think often we forget that the Bible doesn’t end with us leaving this earth and going somewhere else. The Bible ends with this earth of ours being made new. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:1-2). Let us also not forget that in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, he called them “good.” I think the whole story of Scripture paints a picture of God restoring and reconciling all of humankind and all of creation to each other and God. Revelation isn’t a story of escape, it is a story or utter redemption made new through Christ. I think that too often the church interprets Scripture from a Platonic philosophical worldview, and this makes sense considering one of our famous church fathers (Augustine who supported a platonic worldview(it also makes sense that Augustine would read with this lens considering his sex addiction and his struggle with the flesh. But I think his acting on those desires, directly related to his perverse and broken soul)) had a strong theological influence on centuries of interpretation. But I think it is a mistake to say the physical/material world is evil and only the spiritual world is pure. I don’t think God would have created a physical world if we were only supposed to escape it. Yes, the physical world has been tainted by evil, but so has our souls. I think God is working to redeem and reconcile both. In fact He did, in the God Man Jesus Christ. God created a world where the spiritual and physical are intimately related. As humans we aren’t part spirit and part physical because that is a gnostic understanding of reality. Rather we are both and; each is distinct but interdependent.Yes, I agree that our goal is paradise (relationship with God), and yes I think this world that has been twisted by evil will be destroyed, but I understand it as the destruction of evil, the untwisting of the perversion evil has brought on earth; His love, and His sacrifice powerfully “make all things new.”

  3. One more thought… why the incarnation, if only for an escape from the fallen world? Why such a physical death, why such a blood-covered act? The way of Christ is the way of the cross, crucifying not just our fleshly desires, but also crucifying the souls within in us that lead us to be so self-centered, for the sake of holistic soul and body redemption.

  4. No, I completely agree with you. However, the danger about statements like the one to which I objected is that, without the qualifications you just offered, they can turn into a “de-spiritualizing spiritualization” in which the goal becomes solely improving the present world and not hoping for the future–one which, ultimately, we have no part in creating, since, as Catherine of Sienna put it, “If God is then we are not.”Creation is obviously quite good–that is, in fact, one of the primary reasons we believe in the mircale of the Eucharist. Catholicism is (Western) Christianity at its most tactile and sensory–incense, chant, the Body and Blood of Christ offered each day as both the sacrifice and the salvation of our souls. Christ fed the people and turned water into wine, but He also promised a dwelling in His Father’s house.We can and should work to better this world, and to be a light to those in darkness, but in the end, the new heavens and the new earth are just that–new. Another.

  5. Richard, I like your comment, it helps me better understand your original objection. Thanks! I can see how the quote that I posted from Rob Bell’s book when taken out of its context can lead to the objections you made. Bell does a really good job of tying it together in his book with a balanced and compelling perspective. Thanks for reading my blog! It is my way of trying to start conversation with people willing to listen. I’ve attempted to do this kind of thing with facebook, but I felt that it ended up creating division with our more fundamentalist brothers and sisters, and my desire is not to shock or create divide (even though there will be disagreements), but to dialogue for the purpose of missional unity.

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