Sunday, April 22, 2007

The only Christian (s)he knows is a jerk!

Even among evangelical circles there is a belief that those who never heard the name Jesus can still receive salvation based on the light that they have been given. Billy Graham, Robert Kennedy, and C.S. Lewis all believed this (or hinted at it) to name a few. Paul seems to support this idea in Romans 1 and 2, "They are without excuse." Meaning that those who respond to what they have been given by God can still enter the Kingdom of God, even without ever hearing the name to which salvation comes.

Personally, what I do know is that God is love, he is fair, and he is just. So let's subscribe to this idea for a moment: A tribesman living in the bush and has never heard of Jesus, can still find God through the light given to him; mostly by creation revealing her creator.

So by taking the long way around I finally get to my point.

Let's say this tribesman hears the name of Jesus through a Christian jerk. I don't feel like I need to elaborate, since we all can name one or two. This tribesman then rejects the Gospel because he rejects the messenger.

By doing this, has he rejected the 'greater light' which was given? Or is he still under the Romans 1 and 2 whereas creation is his evidence of God Almighty?

Some would argue that the message is stronger than the messenger, thereby, this tribesman now must accept Jesus to follow the way into the Kingdom and eternal life. Others argue that simply proclaiming scripture is enough and the blood is off of their hands if the hearers reject the message.

I would argue that God left us, his Body, to be the messengers, and as a result we are the hands, heart, feet, mind, tongue, and pancreas of Jesus so the message is in fact the messenger, or at the very least, completely entwined and cannot be separated. Therefore if an evangelist doesn't live as Jesus loved, then the message is not complete and no new light has been given to the hearer.

What say you?


Dan Morehead said...

One can understand Jesus to be the universal criterion of judgment or salvation, but not the indispensable historical means of salvation.

John Lynch said...

Good question, brother.

I think of John's words, "They who have the Son have life (1 John 5:12) and Paul's desperate exhortation to Christfollowers in Romans 10:14, "How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?"

Then I think of believers before Jesus came to earth who's sin was "passed over" (Romans 3:25) because of their desire to love and follow God as revealed to them at that point.

Finally, I think of Abraham, Melchizedek, and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 to whom God miraculously sent Philip to preach the gospel.

Does the history tells us that God reveals Himself to those who seek Him (Acts 17:27)... be they in the bush or the businessplace?

John Lynch said...

... Also, what's the prophetic passage that tells the prophet if they do not speak truth to those in sin then the blood of their brother/sister is on their hands?

Michael said...

Well this has blown my mind. The only thing I can say is this; If we are the message of Jesus and we are supposed to show this message to others by just living, I think it's quite possible that their are good intentioned false "prophets". I know in the bible it talks about being aware of such people. I'm not exactly sure however the direct translation of prophet in the biblical text, but i believe that we as the body of Christ are supposed to live and Love the way Christ did. If we aren't doing just that then I have no reserve in saying that we ARE the false prophets. All that to say, the gift of salvation has to come from the son by the Father. I'm no theologian but I believe that there's not one way to receive salvation. I think the Tribesman could find salvation in the bush just the same as a man in A 3 piece suit that goes to some mega church. God and the gifts he has given are more evident in nature than in a building anyway. I think this goes back to placing god and the gifts that he gives us in a box. God isn't a robot. He doesn't do things the same way every time for every person. So I believe that if the messenger isn't living like Christ and doesn't represent the awesome character of Jesus, the person that is being "witnessed" to isn't vetoing God and or salvation. I believe that person is vetoing a false prophet.