Friday, May 13, 2005

Just for info: I got an article published at Allelon. It’s an old blogpost from here, but it’s kind of cool to be published on the same site as Brian McLaren, Dallas Willard, and Adam Ellis. Well, maybe not that last guy.


About two weeks ago, I finished reading Brian McLaren’s conclusion to the New Kind of Christian trilogy, The Last Word and the Word After That (I’d post links, but you can get them from the post previous to this one). It is a book that deconstructs the idea of Heaven and Hell in ways that I’m not entirely comfortable with, yet, and really causes me to question some of the basic fundamentals of the way I approach faith. For instance, if Christianity is NOT all about getting to Heaven at the end of life (whatever Heaven means), but it’s about recruiting participants in the Kingdom of God, have we gone about the whole evangelism thing wrong?

Also, have we made a mistake in overfocusing on Hell? In other words, if we focus on Hell, we’re going to scare people away from it, for certain, but in my experience, people are only going to adhere to Christianity as long as there is a fear of Hell. Once that fear is gone, so is the reason to stick with Christianity.

And what about salvation? Have I misdefined that? And what does Judgement mean? One idea I ran across in the book is that we are saved by grace through faith, but we’ll still be judged by what we do. Honestly, this was a spiritual earthquake to me. My whole adult spiritual life has been struggling against the idea of a works-based theology, but you know, as I read the Gospels, Jesus talks a heck of a lot more about what we do than what we believe. I know I’m saved by the grace of God, but that grace calls me to do something. If I don’t, do I really have faith?

I don’t know quite yet what all of this means theologically. I really don’t, but I do know what it is. I know it’s a call to action. It’s a call to get out of my comfort zone and share the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Without that, I’m a white-washed tomb. Without taking action, what’s the point of having a belief?


judy thomas said...

Congratulations, Phil--I hope a lot of people read your article. Miss Judy

Fajita said...


Tony Arnold said...

Way to go on the publication. I read the article and enjoyed it Phil.

Getting to fellowship with you as well as read you, I truly enjoy your personal and spiritual candor. Very refeshing.


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