WHEW!!! It’s been over a month and a half since I posted the previous Fight Club installment. Hard to believe, isn’t it? But now that school is winding down until the fall semester starts in a couple of weeks, it looks like I will finally have some time to finish this up and get it out there for you. Still, I don’t see many of you clamoring to take a stab at what the missing element from the gospel presentation in the previous Fight Club installment was. So I’m going to tell you.
The missing element was Jesus.
That’s right. The missing element was Jesus.
Think about that, folks. An entire Gospel presentation, and not one mention of Jesus (except for maybe a couple of brief mentions in passing).
I am a very strong believer in giving credit where credit is due. So let me mention that the previous post’s Gospel presentation was inspired by Donald Miller’s Searching for God Knows What. In the chapter on “The Gospel of Jesus”, he talks about how he once gave a full-length Gospel presentation with no mention of Jesus to a seminary class that he taught, to see if they would catch it. He gives the general gist of this presentation; mine is a fleshing-out of those general points.
It is very interesting to note that when Donald Miller gave the Gospel presentation with no mention of Jesus in his class, none of the students picked up on it. I think this is an unfortunate commentary on the view of Jesus which is prevalent in present day evangelical Protestant-dom.
Who needs Jesus when the Gospel is nothing more than a means by which we improve ourselves morally? Who needs Jesus when the Gospel is nothing more than a program by which we change our society into one which is based on biblical principles? Who needs Jesus when He is nothing more to us than a life improvement guru? Who needs Jesus when He is nothing more than the one who underwrites our wild and crazy Holy Ghost crunkfest? Who needs Jesus when the Gospel is nothing more than a formula of faith by which we release the power of God into our lives to make us happy, healthy, and wealthy? Who needs Jesus when the Gospel is nothing more than a set of principles to order our lives by so that we will make better choices, our time will be better spent, our finances and relationships will be in better shape, etc? Who needs Jesus when the sole extent of our dreams and ambitions for our lives is that we will live a comfortable suburban middle-class life with a slight spiritual emphasis?
The Gospel is all about rescue. A God who is completely and totally other than us, with whom we could have no connection whatsoever unless He chose to initiate it, stepped into our world and made a way where we could be rescued and connected with Him.
But what is it that we need to be rescued from? Do we need to be rescued from our inability to manage time well? Our inability to manage relationships well? Our inability to make good moral choices? Our inability to think positively about ourselves and the circumstances of our lives? A lack of information about the things of God? A lack of faith by which to release the blessing and power of God into our lives? The cultural and social agenda of the radical left? The American dream that just doesn’t seem to be working out for us?
No, people. What we need to be rescued from is something far more profound and far more urgent than we ever suspected. What we need to be rescued from is a state of spiritual death that has come upon us because of our disconnection from God, a state of spiritual death that we are all too willing participants in, a state of spiritual death whose end result is eventual physical death followed by an eternity of separation from God and whatever misery is inherent in that.
We did not deserve this. We are all too willing participants in the state of spiritual death that we are bound up in. In other words, we brought it on ourselves and we deserve exactly what we are getting. There is no way that our connection with God might be restored, or that the state of spiritual death which has resulted from the severance of our connection with God could be reversed, unless God Himself were to intervene in our world and make a way whereby we might be reconnected with Him. And that is exactly what He did.
And why would God go to such extraordinary lengths to rescue us from sin and spiritual death and bring us into relationship with Him? So that we can live out the American dream while having a slight spiritual emphasis in our lives? So that we can in His name overthrow the forces of godless liberalism which are threatening to tear our country apart and remake our society in a Biblically-based image? So that we can build ginormous churches and ginormous spiritual movements which generate the appearance of unstoppable spiritual momentum?
No, people. What God is doing in the world today has nothing to do with the American dream, nothing to do with making us healthy and prosperous as we claim our blessings by faith, nothing to do with overthrowing the forces of godless secularism. We don’t need God for any of those things. We don’t need to be rescued from sin and spiritual death for any of those things.
What God is doing, is creating a people of His own from all the nations of the world. This requires an army of people who are willing to serve Him by going anywhere in the world, at any time, at any cost, for the sake of His name and for the love of His people. It requires all the power of God to be able to live out such a calling.
Folks, do you really want to go through life believing that God saved you from sin, from the spiritual death that you were all-too-willing participants in and that you fully deserved, just so that you could go on living out the American dream?