Gospel Links for Gospel Culture (5/03)
One of the ways error can creep into the church is when people attempt to simplify the Christian faith by picking up one truth—a real truth that makes up part of the Christian faith—and then holding tightly to it while letting go of other important truths. Over time, that one truth, separated now from the rest of orthodoxy, gets called into action and becomes a weapon against Christianity’s other truths.
One truth, divorced from all the others, becomes the unassailable foundation for a new creed, and then a new religion gets constructed upon it.
Here’s Christ’s kingdom offer: all our striving and trying for all his finished and accomplished. That’s not for the “good” people over there somewhere, because they don’t exist. It’s not for the people who achieve some great state of perfect obedience, because they don’t exist either. It’s for people like you and me: sinners in need of a savior. To our weary, worn out, self-justified-out hearts, Jesus Christ’s call is simple: “Come to me, and I will give you rest.”
The “allegorical” readings of the Patristic Fathers, the Catholic flavor of the first thousand or so years of church history, etc. are not reasons to abandon pre-Reformation theology. And yet, so many evangelicals immediately bristle at this notion on the principle that we should care more about the five solae of the Reformation. These five truths recovered the gospel in many minds. I recently wrote a study on the five solae, so I understand this sentiment and greatly appreciate the correctives that came with it. The Reformation was an act of God—I truly believe that—but we should consider two things.
Is it tough to imagine that people with abundance struggle with contentment? Shouldn’t the wealthy and most successful people be the happiest? The opposite seems true as Americans are becoming less happy rather than more. If you’re reading this blog post, you may even be one of them. I’m one of them. The shock value really set in when you consider that, according to Global Rich List, a net income of $2,700 per month places you among the top 1% of the richest people in the world.
Why does it still feel like we don’t have enough? Why is it that prosperity doesn’t automatically equal contentment? Why doesn’t success render us the most joyful people in the world?