Monday, March 17, 2008

Religion and the Gospel

Another great chapter in Tim Keller's "...Belief in an Age of Skepticism"! I have decided to start stressing the subtitle when discussing the book because it more appropriately conveys the contents of the book (as opposed to The Reason for God).

This chapter reminds me of one of my favorite Mark Driscoll sermons; “Examining Two Enemies of the Gospel” (May 30th 2007):

The first enemy is idolatry...“The second enemy of the Gospel is religion, and religion doesn't understand the Gospel."

"Religion says 'if you obey God will love you'. The Gospel says 'because God loves you you can now obey'."

"Religion says that the world is about good people and bad people...and of course we are good, and they are bad, whoever “they” are: 'Mac/PC', 'Ford/Chevy', 'Democrat/Republican', 'left-handed/right-handed', 'smart/short-bus'. The Gospel does not see people in terms of good and bad. We are all bad. If the world was an old western everyone in the world would wear black hats, only Jesus would get a white hat. The Gospel says repentant bad people, and unrepentant bad people... "

"Religion is about using God to receive an idol. The Gospel is about receiving God as the gift.”

Keller tackles this profound difference between "religion" and the "Gospel" with more breadth, a little less shouting, and with more elegance/less brashness.

"His grace both humbles me more deeply than religion can (since I am too flawed to ever save myself through my own effort), yet also affirms me more powerfully than religion can (since I can be absolutely certain of God's unconditional acceptance).

That means that I cannot despise those who do not believe as I do. Since I am not saved by my correct doctrine or practice, then this person before me, even with his or her wrong beliefs, might be morally superior to me in many ways. It also means I do not have to be intimidated by anyone. I am not so insecure that I fear the power or success or talent of people who are different from me. The gospel makes it possible for a person to escape oversensitivity, defensiveness, and the need to criticize others. The Christian's identity is not based on the need to be perceived as a good person, but on God's valuing of you in Christ."

1 comment:

kristin said...

so loved what you had to say here, dk, that i just copied and pasted it onto my facebook page (giving you credit, of course). since i'm not a blogger, i figured facebook would have to do ...