The ordinary radical

In the current tension between “radical” (via David Platt, Francis Chan, et al) and the case for the “ordinary” (latest from Michael Horton), there is some sort of balance to strike.

We don’t want complacency in our lives, but we should learn something of the term Paul calls¬†content.¬†

We don’t want our lives so set on edge we burn the spiritual and mental gears out before we’re 30, but we need to hear the urgency of a world still needing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I think in living ordinary lives, walking intentionally with Jesus, we find extraordinary opportunities. They are not necessarily everyday, but they are wonderful. It was in a very “ordinary” service over 2 years ago the Lord first spoke to me about planting churches and then, a month later, “owning” a country. It was the ordinary daily routine a year ago the Spirit spoke and said, “You’ll be in Africa next year.”

And, in an extraordinary way, it happened.

It’s a both/and world, folks. Not either/or.

Is Jesus THE Way?

A recent post over at ScriptureZealot stirred my thinking. Some of the more incendiary comments have since been edited out, but it stirs me nonetheless.

It raised the specter of hard-line Calvinism simply saying, “If you don’t believe in TULIP (and some very specific tenets of Calvinism) then you are preaching another gospel.” That’s the subtle undertone of the piece by Horton. I do not accuse Jeff on his blog of raising such a division!

But when I read of our postmodern “emergent” (or whatever they’re calling it these days) struggles with the uniqueness of Christ, I think, “Why do we have to split hairs between Calvinism and Arminianism? We have bigger problems!”

A recent posting on Christianity Today demonstrates this issue. This new working out of theology and evangelism is scary. When the author of the article tried to bring the leaders of the seminar to a point of demonstrating the uniqueness of Christ and the proposition of Christ, they just wouldn’t declare what Jesus himself declared: He IS the way, the truth and the life!

Consider this disturbing passage:

On the last day, the discussion focused on Christian engagement with other religions. I resonated with much of what was said: the need for respectful dialogue, the willingness to listen and learn, and the intent to promote peace and understanding. But I also experienced a growing sense of unease. As my concern crystallized, I asked our distinguished guests: As those who self-identified with the Christian tradition, how did they understand the uniqueness of Jesus Christ?

Their response was that of course Jesus is unique. But, they continued, so are the leaders of the other world religions. While it was certainly true that Jesus is unique and different from other religious leaders, they said, it is also true that they are unique in relation to him. The uniqueness of Jesus was no different from that of any other important religious figure. Only in this way, they suggested, is equality among religions established as a basis for interreligious dialogue.

Those last two sentences should raise flags, set off alarms, and cause us to fall to our knees in repentance. To me, this isn’t laid at the feet of Calvin or Arminius. And it’s far beyond the problem of holding to some TULIP formula.

We have problems, friends. And it goes FAR beyond some debate between J.I. Packer and N.T. Wright. Neither of those men is preaching another gospel. (Horton, it seems, or maybe Packer, or both, seem to think Wright is proclaiming another gospel.) My contention is Wright is down-right ORTHODOX compared to the horrible theology presented in the last two lines of the quoted passage above.

Jesus is the Savior. Not just MY Savior. He is THE Savior. THE way. THE truth. THE life. No one… NO ONE… comes to the Father except by him.