What are evangelicals aiming for? 2 – Dave Fitch
Here’s the second of two suggestions Dave Fitch makes regarding how evangelicals need to shift their gospel thinking, for themselves first and then also those they evangelize. The post then gives several concrete ways of doing what he suggests. It’s an excellent post by a guy much more astute than myself, and Dave gives better words to the concerns I mentioned in my last post. Here’s a snippet (but read the whole thing):
“Preamble Two: In our thinking, let’s move from justification before God ‘by Christ’ to living life ‘in Christ.’ A second conclusion for me in all of this is that we must understand that the fundamental issue in salvation is not our forensic guilt before God based in an oversimplified post-Reformational forensic substitutionary atonement. Instead, let’s move towards the salvation that God is doing in the world to ‘set the world right’ (as J D Dunn and N T Wright say it). OF COURSE PART OF THIS IS (an inseparable part of all this!!) the justification, yes the forensic pardon we receive in Christ via His sacrificial death on the cross as a fulfillment of the covenantal promises given by God to His chosen people Israel (of which we have become part). We need to make this shift however from seeing justification as the primary issue in salvation, to seeing it as part of God’s overall covenantal plan with a people to make the world right.
This move gives us the necessary perspective to proclaim the fullness of the gospel for the world without diminishing the grace, forgiveness and new life we as individuals have in Christ through participating in the entire salvation God is doing in the world. It changes salvation from ‘you receive this and this’ by faith in Christ alone – to ‘put your entire life under Christ’ and live under His Lordship over the world. IN THIS WAY, no new Christian can miss that ‘in Christ’ we are going from living for your -self, out of your self, in your self – and all the things that you have become entangled in the process – to living ‘in Christ’ – where every thing, every area of our lives is surrendered to be lived out of one’s relationship ‘in Christ’.”
We’ve got to start thinking of Christianity more as a new Way to live now, in union and daily cooperation with Christ and his active government (a way of life that never ends), rather than a ticket to the afterlife which may or may not necessarily (re)shape one’s life here and now. Jesus not only makes the new life possible, but he reveals its character, its rhythms, its relations and its destiny, and asks us give up our old lives for his new life.