More Scattered Thoughts Spurred On By Rob Bell’s New Book

Twice last week, I posted selections from Rob Bell’s new book. The gist of it is that the American church has some negatives associated with it…

…and the authors decided to point us in the right direction and encourage us to come up with solutions. It’s a more provocative read than anything else. In a good way.

So, I’ve been doing some thinking on the questions I posited earlier: The idea of “engagement.” In other words, how does the Church, and the individuals who comprise it, become more effective in our culture? Here are some more thoughts, continued from yesterday:

Spiritual transformation, which ties in the idea that we avoid conformity to the world system, comes via “renewing the mind.” In other words, we should change the way we think. We’re supposed to think like God thinks. One sure-fire way we can “know” what God “thinks” is by reading His Word. Part of our role as pastors is to help people on their journey of spiritual transformation by renewing their minds. Hence, we should focus a great deal of time & effort on being an accurate handler of the Word. Francis Schaeffer once said something along the lines of “speaking boldly and with authority to those areas where the Bible speaks boldy and with authority” and “remaining silent” on those issues where it remained silent. I think more preaching and teaching should do that.

And, theology matters, man. If someone is teaching, their interpretations have a basis in their theological perspective. In other words, if you’re listening to someone who is teaching from a “charismatic” position, you’ll interpret some verses differently than someone from a non-charismatic position. And people are coming from all over the map: Calvinists, Reformed, Charismatic, Dispensationalists…oh, my, how that list could continue. My point is that consistency in interpretation will involve someone’s theological perspective. There’s no way around that. And, don’t even get me started on all the sub-groups within all the things that would involve coming from all over the map. You can’t gloss over these.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if theology matters, and our goal is transformation, then motivation for living the Christian life matters. Titus 2 helps us: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. So communicate these things with the sort of exhortation or rebuke that carries full authority.” If grace appeared, bringing salvation, and it trains us…then we’d best be about teaching it, eh?

Those very verses are the reason I can’t understand why folks say that grace leads to spiritual slacking. If it’s taught correctly, it doesn’t.

Well, I don’t have a lot of time for much more than this today…maybe tomorrow…