Friday, September 26, 2014

Why did Jesus do stuff?

What is traditionally presented as the "gospel" creates a few problems for me.  I'd be grateful if any readers that particularly feel as though they have insight could share in the comments below.  And should you think I'm bereft of any thoughts whatsoever on the following puzzles, please don't be.  I have many ideas.  Some are coherent, others perhaps less so, and I'm sure that over the course of the next few posts I'll be sharing some of those thoughts little by little.

But, if I am to understand the main message of Christianity as being simplified to say:
1. God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life, but
2. We are sinful and separated from God, thus we cannot experience his love and plan.
3. Jesus is God's only plan for our salvation, through Him alone we experience God's love and plan, and
4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ, by faith.

Then I am confused about the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
A. Why are they written the way they are?  Why not just say Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, and then risen?  Why all the stuff in between?

B. And why was Jesus so cryptic about so many of these things?  Why not just come out and say it?

C. And what do I do with the Old Testament, then?  It seems vacant from my basic understanding of what Christianity is all about.

D. Also, if this is my framework, then was Jesus a Christian?

E. And if the gospel is mainly a way to have a personal relationship with God, then why did Jesus talk so much about "kingdom"?  Is "kingdom" just another way of saying people with a relationship with God?

F. I also have experiential questions about this "wonderful plan" for my life.  So, after entering into a relationship with God, am I right to assume I should expect "wonderful"-ness?

And the list goes on and for for me, I'm afraid.  I'd love to hear some of your thoughts, and I'd like to share some of mine in the coming posts, as well.  Stay tuned.


Karl said...

Great thoughts here Bart. I think we have assumptions about what a "wonderful plan for your life" means. And usually these assumptions would mean that the plans for people like Jim Elliot and Joni Earickson Tada were less than wonderful.

I also think that our culture (and especially the culture that the Four Spiritual Laws came out of) approached Scripture and religion through a propositional lens, but the gospels especially were written through a narrative lens that shows us what Immanuel looks like. In other words, to recapture the meaning of much of Scripture, we need to recapture the ability to see truth as a story, and not simply as facts.

Bart and Melissa Shadle said...

Yes, Karl! I'm in full agreement for sure. In fact, it's in reading the stories of Joni and Elizabeth Elliot that has perhaps cemented some of these questions in my heart.

How do you think we could go about recapturing the ability to see truth as a story, and not simply facts? Have any ideas? Besides re-learning how we all seem to have been trained in how to read the Bible?