Monday, October 09, 2006

Darrell Bock and the gospel

Darrell Bock comments on sin and hell and ends up highlighting a real important distinction in how the gospel is presented today. I think what he touches upon here is one of the reasons we have so many "Christians" that never experience the abundant life ... they are just trying to avoid hell.

"The point is how often do we present that gospel as if the goal is to avoid something rather than to enter into something God desires for us. (I am speaking of emphasis here) When we ask, "if you died today would you know for sure you will be in heaven," it sounds like the core of the gospel is avoiding hell. But to me the key to the gospel is God moving to fix a broken relationship and giving his son to bring us to himself, something that starts before we die and lasts forever. Yes, we do avoid hell, but far more important is the restoration and reconciliation that is the gospel. It is not what we avoid that is key, but what we enter into and get to participate in that is central. Now that is really good news. He rescues us from sin but does not leave us there. So the bottom line is not avoiding a fate, but entering into a new state of unbroken relationship with God. This aspect of the gospel message often needs more highlighting or can get obscured if avoiding a fate is emphasized."

Marvelous! Bock nails this important issue; the gospel really is good news, not just the avoidance of bad news!

4 comments:

Matt Lytle said...

Hey Dave,

I think this is a good point, but we should be careful not to go too far with this. Bock is correct, but at the same time, hell is a deterrent. Otherwise, why mention it at all (I guess it could also serve as a call to missions and evangelism). It would be really easy to swing the pendulum too far on this and to totally deny the deterrent nature of the knowledge of hell (I know I don't want to go there). What do you think?

Matt Lytle said...

Hey Dave,

As I read over my comment, I don't think I made clear my purpose for writing it in the first place. I guess I wanted to warn against reacting wholesale against any time we hear someone use hell as a deterrent in a sermon or even in an evangelistic presentation (now if that's the only content to the presentation, then that is a problem). Do you see what I mean? Thanks.

dacroteau said...

I understand. I don't think that is what Bock is saying, but I think that's what a lot of preachers are doing ... ignoring hell altogether. It's similar to the money issue: in the 80s people concluded that the church was only after people's money; pastors have reacted and many don't touch the subject, in spite of the fact that Jesus talked about it quite often.

We don't want to make that mistake with hell, but yet we don't want to over-emphasize its place as a deterrent. Balance is key.

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