The “Gospel” of Embracing Grace

Scot McKnight’s second session, or the fouth session for the day if you include all the sessions, sort of spring- boarded off his first session.  Scot outlined the entire plan of redemption highlighting this "communal" theme that seems to be left out many times as we preach the gospel hoping to win people to Christ.
 
Scot criticized the modern worship service which focuses mainly on a sermon with its "one person going through one text" style.  "Sit there and take it" is what we tell them.  It has turned church into a spectator sport coupled with mass consumerism (we come to get something).  The Sunday morning sermon takes up the focus, whereas the focus should be on fellowship and interaction between believers.  Small groups are actually deconstructing the Sunday morning service/sermon and this might be a good thing.
 
I appreciated Scot’s disclaimer that some of what he had to say might be good, some might be bad; we would have to know the difference.  I’ll highlight the good stuff in this post.
 
Some of the main points:
 
#1-  God as Trinity.  With God’s interrelational characteristics in His very being, we must accept this as a core reality.
 
#2-  Humans were created to be "Eikons" (icons) in the image of Christ.  In our fall, we were cracked.  Along with our fall, God gave a promise, or a covenant.  Created, cracked, covenanted, to be Christ-like in a church of restored icons.
 
#3-  Sin is hyper-relational.  When humans became cracked icons through mistrusting God and rebelling against Him, it affected our relationships to God, self, others, and the world.  Hence the restoration of humans as icons would restore the relationships between, not just God, but with ourselves, others, and the world.
 
The gospel is the work of God to restore the cracked icons to fellowship with God and each other.  This happens through the life, death, and resurrection Christ.  Scot defined atonement as including these three things:  Jesus died with us, instead of us, and for us.  Scot’s points revealing what Pentecost resulted in were (what I consider) the heart of his session.
 
#1-  Pentecost resulted in A New Covenant:  Jeremiah 31:31-33, Pentecost believers knew they were a part of the New Covenant and restored people of God.  This covenant would be permanent, unbreakable, internal, and democratic.
 
#2-  Pentecost resulted in Ecclesial Formation:  The Holy Spirit was poured out in order to create a universal community of faith where God’s will would be done manifesting itself in worship, fellowship, instruction, and the great commission.
 
#3-  Pentecost resulted in Power to Transcend:  Boundaries were broken down, the people of God were expanded.  Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles were all included within the New Covenant.
 
#4-  Pentecost resulted in A Fellowshipping Body:  The Spirit that empowers the saints is the Spirit that makes them a fellowshipping body, I Corinthians 12-14. 
 
Scot’s challenge at the end of his session left us with the theology in our hands, but encouraging us to develop our own philosophies.  These truths that Scot proclaimed ARE a part of the gospel.  How can we leave out the communal aspect of the gospel in light of the entire plan of redemption?  God intended from the beginning to redeem a people for Himself out of the bondage of sin, in order that they might exist together as one family, as one body, as one community, as one society.  What is the gospel?  This theme for the talking points session now has me asking myself, "What is the church?", and based on that, what in the world am I supposed to be doing at my church.
 
You can listen to these four sessions here.  If you are interested in this theme, Scot’s first presentation is a must.
 
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
 
-The Orange Mailman
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