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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Truth of Being an Agent of Reconciliation

I must start this post with an admission of guilt. I have been kicking myself in the face all day (figuratively of course, I am far too portly to literally kick myself in the face) because as I have dealt with this idea of the “Gospel of Reconciliation” I have consistently argued against it using my knowledge of Scripture and reason which was easy enough to do, any fifth grader who had read the Bible could have done it, but never once did I actually go to the Bible to read what is actually says about reconciliation! And that is shameful! How can I accuse others of not reading the passages about it when I haven’t done it either?  But now that I have taken the plank out of my own eye and have committed myself to not inserting it again, I can write this post about the truth of what the Bible really says about reconciliation.  So here we go.
I just finished listening to a recent chapel service from the MidAmerica Nazarene University, the college I attended, as well as my wife, my brother, my wife’s sister, and now my son and other’s from my church and district.  They had guests speaking about being “missional” and that all of us are called to be “agents of reconciliation”. Now, one point that was made was that as Christians we can no longer sit back and expect the missionaries to be the one’s taking part in God’s mission in the world while we remain cozy in our world of tasteless salt and dim light.  (my words not his)  And in this I am in full agreement with him. However, it seemed as though no one on that stage had even the slightest clue what God’s mission actually is and what being an “agent of reconciliation” means.  How 7 or 8 Christians could sit on a stage for over a half an hour and talk about how they are doing God’s mission and living out being His agents of reconciliation without once mentioning the Gospel amazes me. So the following is a look at the primary passages where this concept of reconciliation is revealed in Scripture.

Romans 5:1-11

1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God's glory. 3Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance, character, and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7(For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) 8But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God's wrath. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 11Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.

   “This entire passage is about the Hope that we have in Christ and that is our inclusion in God’s glory at our resurrection. The point of the cross is laid out clearly. That is to be made righteous and to be spared His wrath. The words “reconciled” and “reconciliation” here refer to our Salvation from His wrath and the forgiveness of our sins.  Notice that it is only AFTER our reconciliation that we are “saved by His life”.  This phrase means that our hope of the resurrection and God’s glory are secured by the reality of Jesus’ life after His resurrection.  This is a great promise for us.  In this passage, reconciliation is synonymous with salvation.”

Romans 11:11-15:
11I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they? Absolutely not! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous. 12Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full restoration bring?
13Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Seeing that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14if somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

   “Here again we see that the word “reconciliation” is synonymous with the word “salvation”. Additionally, the word “world” is referring to the people called the Gentiles, or all peoples who are not Jewish.  So Paul’s point is that by the Jews rejecting Christ as Messiah, the opportunity for salvation was afforded to the rest of the people of the world. And salvation can safely be defined by Paul’s earlier definition in Romans 5 as being saved from God’s wrath, having sins forgiven and having a hope for a resurrection into God’s glory.”

II Corinthians 5:1-21:
1For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, is dismantled, we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. 2For in this earthly house we groan, because we desire to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3if indeed, after we have put on our heavenly house, we will not be found naked. 4For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are weighed down, because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 6Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord - 7for we live by faith, not by sight. 8Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So then whether we are alive or away, we make it our ambition to please him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil.
11Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people, but we are well known to God, and I hope we are well known to your consciences too. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who take pride in outward appearance and not in what is in the heart. 13For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. 15And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. 16So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. 17So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away - look, what is new has come! 18And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people's trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ's behalf, "Be reconciled to God!" 21God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

   “Here we have an entire chapter highlighting the very points made in Romans 5 and 11 but this time written to the Corinthians.  The first part of the chapter is stating the fact that we do not belong here on this earth and that all of our longing should be for Heaven. But we are able to have courage in this life and can be content in this life while God’s will is for us to remain here because God has given us the Holy Spirit as a promise that one day we will be with Him in Heaven.  Paul then proceeds to reiterate again what it means to be saved and that it is not just something offered a select few but it is offered to every person in the world.   
   One thing to point put is that Paul is clear that the reconciliation proceeds from God NOT from us.  Reconciliation is not something we do, ever.  It is something God does.  Paul also defines reconciliation again for us with very clear and precise language.  Here he defines it as “not counting people’s trespasses against them”.  To restate that in more modern language, that is the forgiveness of sins. Immediately following that definition, Paul then says that God has given them that very message, the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation.   
   Finally, to make sure his point is well taken, Paul again defines what he means and likewise what Christ means, by reconciliation when he says, “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” This entire chapter is about the forgiveness of sins in order that people can someday be with God in Heaven!  And THAT is the message of reconciliation that we are to take to the people of the world

Ephesians 2
1And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you formerly lived according to this world's present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, 3among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest...
4But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you are saved! - 6and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.
11Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh - who are called "uncircumcision" by the so-called "circumcision" that is performed on the body by human hands - 12that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, 15when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, 16and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. 17And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, 18so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's household, 20because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

   "Once again, just as in Romans 11, Paul makes the point that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles and that through the cross, both are equally reconciled to God, so much so that they are to become one body and that the Church. The point is clear; the cross of Christ reconciles us to God."

Colossians 1:9-23
9For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects - bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints' inheritance in the light. 13He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,
 16for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him - all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers - all things were created through him and for him.
 17He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.
 18He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.
 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son

 20and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross - through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
21And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, 22but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him - 23if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant.

   “And again, we have Paul writing the same points to the Colossians that he had written to the Ephesians and Romans before.  We should not expect that this rendition would be any different than his previous two writings nor that the definitions of the words used would be different.  In this part of the letter Paul does specify that they should bear fruit in good deeds but that in order to please Him, saying nothing about those fruits attributing to their redemption which he clearly states in verse 14 is “the forgiveness of sins.”   
   Further on Paul describes Jesus Christ in great detail culminating in His purpose which is reconciling “all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross - through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”  The language here is slightly different than what is used in the other letter’s but the idea being expressed is identical; we are reconciled to Christ by His death on the cross.    
   If there is any question, Paul continues by stating the fact that they are reconciled by Jesus’ physical death so that they might be presented “holy, without blemish, and blameless…”.  Paul leaves no question as to what he means when he uses the words “reconcile” or “reconciliation”. He is the only one to use these words in the New Testament and he clearly defines them each time they are used as the forgiveness of sins.
   Its amazing how deceived Christians have become. The “Gospel of Reconciliation” that is being preached from our pulpits and taught on our universities is directly from the mind of Satan and it is time to cut away the sheep skin from the wolves who have invaded our churches and school.”

Romans 8:18-23

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

   “Finally, I must include this passage from Romans because it is used in combination with the verses about reconciliation to create this impression that Scripture teaches that we, as agents of reconciliation, are to bring about this redemption of creation. I have already explained fully the passages regarding true reconciliation so it seems this passage should be moot but let’s look at it anyway.   
   This passage first begins with stating that the things we go through, the suffering, ‘are not worth comparing with the glory’ to be revealed.  And what is the ‘glory’?  It is our entrance to Heaven.  Paul further describes this glory as the ‘revealing of the sons of God’, ‘adoption as sons’, ‘the redemption of our bodies’.  Additional clues that Paul is strictly talking about Heaven comes when he refers to this glory as ‘this hope’.  And not simply “this hope” but that in this hope we were saved.  This language matches the other passages exactly.  Paul is consistent in his presentation of the Gospel as being the forgiveness of sins which saves us from God’s wrath and gives us the hope of Heaven. He says the same thing here in regards to those who are to be adopted as sons.  Then he makes a connection that we see nowhere else in Scripture.  He tells us that all of creation longs for the day of our final redemption so that it too may be set free from its bondage to decay wrought on it by Adam’s sin.  Yet it is clear that creation’s hope does not lie in us but in our redemption by God.   
   He also makes clear that this will take place at the redemption of our bodies which will take place upon Christ’s return. So in the end anything we do to attempt to redeem or reconcile creation to God is an effort in futility.  It isn’t pure vanity since we are called to be stewards of what God has given us and made us rulers over but if we expect our work for the planet or even for our fellow man to somehow be a part of their redemption, we are being duped.”

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CG said...

You know I love you and respect you.
But, especially as a Nazarene, I find it hard to believe you dont believe that redemption begins now. If we can be baptized by the Spirit certainly we can begin to do the work of the Spirit. John 14 Jesus says, "the Father does his work (redemption? transformation? reconciliation? or just physical healing?) through me" and then "If you believe in me you will do greater works than this."
Jesus brought restoration and hope and healing everywhere he went, not just forgiveness.
And if our only hope is forgiveness of sins, why do we preach holiness? Why do we call people to holiness if in the end we have no hope but death in Christ? Redemption starts now.

Nicholas said...

Pastor Chris! Thanks for your comment...and you know I love you and respect you greatly as well.
There seems to be a bit of confusion of terms in your comment. I only spoke of redemption briefly and in two different ways.
In the first, redemption is defined by Paul by the very next words in the verse. The words are "the forgiveness of sins". Not my words but Paul's.
In the second instance I am referring to an entirely different redemption that could also be defined as our glorification. That would be the moment in time when we are reunited with our glorified physical bodies. And in context of the verse where Paul mentions this, that is when the reconciliation of creation happens.
This brings me to a side note where I needed to be more clear about the definitions for the words reconciled and reconciliation. When I stated that they always meant the forgiveness of sins, I was referring to when they were used in relation to human beings. In the verses about creation (which would include the animal kingdom and the earth, moon and stars, etc.) being reconciled is the moment when they are made new and that is tied directly to the moment when our bodies are glorified. I thought that would be self explanatory since only humans sin and therefore only humans have the need for forgiveness from sin.
Anyway, getting back to redemption, there is no where that I say that redemption doesn't start now. For each person that is a Christian, redemption has already happened. I think hte confusion is that some seem to speak about redemption and reconciliation as if they are a process. In every passage that I quoted above, redemption and reconciliation whether of humans or of creation are plainly presented as an event not a process. It has either happened or it hasn't. It really doesn't have a beginning as if it has an end or a completion. In terms of the forgiveness of my sins, I am not going to be any more redeemed or reconciled as I am right now. There will be a time when sin is completely defeated in my heart and my body but that doesn't make me less reconciled to God right now.
Now its a great question as to what Jesus meant when he used the word "work" in John 14. He can't mean actual reconciliation because only He can do that. We can be messengers of reconciliation, meaning people who tell others of the fact that because pf what Jesus did on the Cross they can now be reconciled to God through the forgiveness of sins. But most of the commentaries I have read on this passage think that He meant specifically the miracles He performed. While a few think that it refers to how many more people will be saved and how many more places will the Gospel be preached compared to Christ's ministry on Earth which only encompassed one country and maybe 600 people saved. Over 3,000 were saved on the day of Pentecost alone and many greater miracles were performed by the Apostles than by Christ Himself so I think both of those ideas are valid.

Nicholas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicholas said...

(This is pt. 2 of the previous comment. I messed that one up and had to delete it.)

You say that "Jesus brought restoration...not just forgiveness" I couldn't find anywhere that said Jesus brought restoration. The only uses of that word I could find was Paul telling some in the Corinthian church who had been living in sin that they needed to be restored or else he was not going to "spare" them.
Additionally, our hope is not forgiveness of sins. Every Christian already has that. Our hope is Heaven.
I feel as though the greatest evil that this liberal/emergent movement has wrought within Christianity is the dilution of the definitions of words we all used to know. Even I fell into this error in my thoughts about reconciliation. We can't just use any word we want in any context. We must use them in accordance with their intended meaning.
You asked "...why do we preach holiness? Why do we call people to holiness if in the end we have no hope but death in Christ?"
In one of the passages quoted above, Paul makes the argument that the hope of Heaven is so great that all other things in this life are not even comparable. That's Paul, not me. You make it out to be the most minimal hope we could have, almost a negative if that is our only hope. Paul says it is the greatest hope we have! But even as great as that hope is, Jesus still blesses us with the possibility of life abundant and full. And THAT is what the call to Holiness is partially about. Why do we call people to Holiness? First, we only call Christians to Holiness because only Christians can be live holy lives and that only through the power of the Spirit. So without redemption and reconciliation, there can be no holiness in a person's life. That should make the forgiveness of sins paramount to all that we do. Until the person being ministered to has the forgiveness of sins, holiness cannot happen in his/her life.
So we call Christians to Holiness because that is how we grow in our relationship with God, it is how we give evidence to others that God is real and that He loves them and it is how His Kingdom exists on this Earth. THAT is an entire other Blog Post, right there.
So to get back to your initial question, saying that redemption begins now is a confusion of terms. Redemption happens. And it happens when I confess my sins to God. After that I am called inexorably to Holiness which involves my mind and my heart as well as my actions towards others. And the rest of my life here on earth needs to be submerged entirely in the execution of that Holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit. And then, everything I do and everything I say will be a part of me being an agent of reconciliation. That is sharing the amazingly good news that sins can be forgiven because of Christ's death on the Cross.

Greg said...

Good stuff Nyk. And Chris, I agree with you that justification and sanctification happen now - however, if Christ's work were complete in us then why do we still experience death in our bodies? Why hasn't every knee bowed and every tongue confess that he is Lord? Why are there still powers and principalities that have not yielded to His reign? Because, as Nazarenes, we believe that while the kingdom is present, it is also not yet in its entirety. Jesus ushered in the power of the kingdom, which is why we have power over sin through redemption and sanctification. However, until the kingdom comes in its totality all of creation (including our bodies) wait for that day. Why would we still "hope" (Paul's words) if it were already complete?

CG said...

oh man. I wrote a huge long response and I got an error message.
be back later to try again.

CG said...

Try #2:
There may not be a written verse that says Jesus brought restoration, but any look at his ministry shows that his impact was more than physical healing or forgiveness. He touched lepers, spoke with prostitutes, hung with tax collectors, and even Samaritans. He offered value and love and relationship. He crossed social boundaries, discarded religious obligations, and decent standards to reach these people. He restored their standing and worth.
As the body of Christ I feel we are called to do the same thing. We may not be able to reconcile them to God, but we can bring restoration to their lives. We can reconcile our issues and our relationships. We can stand alongside them, showing them the Way, teaching them Truth.
That is what I hear when I hear this topic being discussed or preached. We are joining in the Kingdom work by crossing cultural divides, dismantling evil systems, feeding hungry, touching the untouchable, teaching about forgiveness, and offering the hope of Christ. That is as much being a Christlike disciple as is studying scripture or overcoming personal strongholds.
I think this is the opposite of a minimal view of the Gospel or Heaven. It is a grand view. Yes, the great and glorious is yet to come, but Jesus announced the Kingdom is here now. We can catch glimpses of it.
If Thanksgiving is the greatest meal, should we not eat any meals between now and then, or should we try and make fantastic meals and still be blown away when Thanksgiving fully arrives.
We can have tastes of the coming Kingdom now. That is what we are striving for as "agents of reconciliation."
We may not be the ones who ultimately can bring about (insert theological word here) but we do play a part. It may not be fully realized until Christ returns, but if it will matter to him then, it should matter to us now.

Nicholas said...


All of that sounds really nice and good. It really does. But almost none of it is Biblical. Now if you want to completely disregard Scripture and write your own story of who Jesus was, what He did and why He did it then I suppose you can. Rob Bell and Tony Jones and others have been very successful doing that. But if you have any belief that the Bible is the Word of God then these ideas must match to what Scripture really says.
Why did Jesus do the things He did? You must answer that question before we can accurately be like Him. Why did He touch lepers? Why did He speak with prostitutes? Why did He hang with Tax Collectors or Samaritans? Why did He cross the social boundaries? I would argue that He never was indecent nor did He discard religious obligations, He actually increased them to a level completely unattainable. He did nothing to restore their standing and worth. Was the Synagogue any different the day He died? Was the Roman Empire any different the day He died? Were the Lepers invited back into the city? Did the Roman Empire begin taxing fairly? Were the widows and orphans and crippled well taken care of after He died? Can you find a single instance recorded in Scripture where Jesus personally feeds the poor? Did He turn water into wine so the party attendees could get drunk? Did He eat with the tax collector so he wouldn't be lonely? Did He touch the leper to show that it was safe to do? Did He hang out with the Samaritan woman so she would feel accepted? And again, you cannot simply co-op a word and say that is what God wants us to do. He never called us to restore non-Christians lives. He never called us to reconcile our issues or relationships with non-Christians. He never called us to stand alongside non-Christians. What is the Way or the Truth in your estimation?
I don't think you are picking up what they are laying down when they preach and write books about this subject. They are slowly but assuredly replacing the the forgiveness of sins with an attitude of supposed love.
Yes, Christ crossed cultural divides in order to bring them into the Jewish family through His death on the Cross and the forgiveness of sins. If we are not preaching the forgiveness of sins, crossing cultural divides accomplishes nothing. Jesus never dismantled any evil system that I know of. In fact, the most evil system at that time was the Roman Empire which the people thought He was there to dismantle yet He told them to submit to the Empire. Not what they wanted to hear.

Nicholas said...

Look, the message of the Kingdom is anchored deeply in Scripture and overcoming personal strongholds. When Jesus came to announce the Kingdom He said it was at hand. Later the Kingdom is said to not be a thing that can be seen but that it resides within the hearts of true believers. How does the Kingdom move from being at hand to being within us? Jesus makes it clear that the Kingdom arrives after His crucifixion. Why might that be? Because in order for the Kingdom to arrive here and now, the person it is to be found in must be reconciled to God by the forgiveness of his/her sins. Therefore living as a subject of the Kingdom, including living a life of Agape love and sharing the Good News of the forgiveness of sins, cannot happen until the Kingdom is alive within that person. So preaching forgiveness of sins and the overcoming of personal strongholds are vital to anything else that person does that can be said to be a representation of the Kingdom. It MUST be elevated to being more important because people who are not saved, like Gandhi for example, can do just as much or more of this social justice sort of thing than any Christian could do. So what's the difference? What's the point of bothering with Christianity if Social Justice is more important than the forgiveness of sins?
Yet all of this is missing the entire point of this post. I made no determination or comment about the validity of doing good works except the comment about the futility of trying to reconcile nature or animals to God. The entire point is that when Jesus, through Paul, called us to be agents of reconciliation, He was calling us to preach the forgiveness of sins. And anyone who claims something different is lying or tragically mislead. What I am looking for from you Chris (and I am really sorry this is sounding so harsh) is that you would not simply reply with "There may not be a written verse that says Jesus brought restoration..." but that you will dive into the Bible and find what it says for yourself, not what the latest social justice book says it says. Not even what I say it says. Because within even the writing of this post I found some of the things that I thought the Bible said, it didn't say at all. My hope is that you will take the time to really study this. Find everywhere the Bible talks about reconciliation, and restoration and the Kingdom and read them and study them and compare them with each other and read some commentaries on them and come to a conclusion, then return and respond with Scripturally supported argument not simple niceties. This will take time. Days if not weeks. But I will wait. Love you Chris!!

CG said...

I had a big long post with references and whatnot in response to you, but I dont think I'll post it. We aren't going to see eye to eye. I disagreed with just about everything you said in your last post. I've read countless scriptures, its just not worth debating on here.
I agree that we need to preach forgiveness and repentance to everyone. But I think the best way to do that is to work towards "fixing" the problems that surround people. You may see this as a waste because things will only be "fixed" when Christ returns, but I see this as a chance to demonstrate Christian love.
You may see is as a waste because the only thing that really needs "fixed" is the person, but I see it as an opportunity.
I guess I'll put it this way, I see what I've been talking about as a method of evangelism as opposed to end in and of itself.
I am sure there are some that think just alleviating pain/poverty/hate is enough to do, but the vast majority of Christians working towards "fixing" the things around people would say you need to teach Christ as Lord along with alleviating pain/poverty/hate.

Its when you say that Reconciliation preaching is from the "mind of Satan" that caused me to even post. I dont know what good comes out of that. You dont know these people and you dont know their heart. That, to me, is tragic.

Nicholas said...

Chris, first, I wish you would send me that big long post, even if its just through email. That's exactly what I am looking for.
But it is clear to me that we are talking apples and oranges. We are not talking about the same thing at all. What you just described is what the entire Nazarene Denomination is founded on. And that is not at all what I was writing about. When I said that the Gospel of Reconciliation is from the mind of Satan I was not talking about serving people as a "method of evangelism". That is clearly how we are SUPPOSED to do it. What I was talking about was those who use serving people AS evangelism. And they use the term Reconciliation and make it mean everything but what Scripture defines it as.
That is not you. It never has been you, nor do I think it ever will be you. But it is being promoted at MNU and at our Seminary and preached in many of our churches around the country. And it is beginning to threaten our Denomination.
So I am sorry for the misunderstanding and I really would love to read that big long post.


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