HEAVEN ISN’T ENOUGH
(By Gregory Crofford. Excerpted and condensed.)
Why did Jesus die on the cross? The tendency has been to say that it was so we could go to heaven. However, that has always seemed incomplete to those coming from a Wesleyan-Holiness perspective. In the “Great Commission,” Jesus outlined our mission as a call for people to follow Jesus in the here-and-now: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NRSV).
Common Evangelical parlance says that we must “get saved,” with little mention of following Jesus. A “sinner’s prayer” becomes the be-all and end-all. To this, Gregory Boyd responds: “To place faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, therefore, is inseparable from the pledge to live faithfully as a disciple of Christ.” Disciples are to be baptized, a sign of our abandonment of evil ways and our initiation into the church. An ember separated from the fire soon grows cold, but when left piled up with other embers keeps glowing and producing warmth. It is together that we can learn to obey all that Christ commanded, in love holding each other accountable.
These days some want to rewrite Matthew 1:21 to say that Jesus will save his people not from their sins but in their sins. Yet the writer to the Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus died in order for us to live transformed lives: “Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood” (Hebrews 13:12, NRSV). Nina Gunter insists: “Grace does not leave us where it found us.” This is exactly the opposite of the slogans we hear, such as “I’m only human” or “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” You may have been a sinner, but that was then, this is now (1 Corinthians 6:11). Now, we are followers of Jesus Christ, reconciled to God, adopted into God’s family! Jesus can change us; he can save us from our sin, or he is no Savior at all.
Church leaders are wringing their hands, wondering what they can do to make the church grow again. May I suggest sinning Christianity is the problem? Until we get to the place where we are sick of our sin and desperate for God’s holy love to fill us, we will have nothing of value to offer. How can we offer deliverance if we ourselves are still enchained? Jesus died so that as his true followers we can live new lives, transformed lives, lives characterized by the power of the Holy Spirit, spilling over with God’s holy love right here on earth. May the Lord renew His church both individually and corporately!
Dr. Greg Crofford is a gracEmail subscriber and a missionary, educator, and administrator in the Church of the Nazarene. Read his entire article at: gregorycrofford.com
ROOTS OF EVANGELICALISM
Did you ever wonder about the origin of the label “evangelical?” Is it different from “fundamentalist” and if so, how? Twenty-four years ago, two of evangelicalism’s pioneer statesmen, Dr. Carl F. H. Henry (1913-2003) and Dr. Kenneth Kantzer (1917-2002) were featured speakers at a two-day conference on the theme Know Your Roots: Evangelicalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow held at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) near Chicago and co-sponsored by TEDS and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The heart of the program takes about two hours and is available for viewing online in four parts.
In Lecture 1, Kantzer defines evangelicalism as practically synonymous with Protestant orthodoxy because of its foundation principles of reliance on the person and work of Christ and of Scripture as the final authority. He also explains the effects of the fundamentalist retreat from social involvement. In Lecture 2, Henry explains the origins of neo-evangelicalism against the backdrop of Modernism. When Liberalism and Neo-orthodoxy could neither provide a credible Christian alternative to Modernism, nor maintain their historic Christian bearings, evangelicalism arose seeking to accomplish both goals.
Videos 3 and 4 contain a conversation with Kantzer and Henry that includes topics such as the role of parachurch organizations, the significance of the founding of the National Association of Evangelicals, the place of evangelicalism within the global church movement, the influence of Pentecostalism on evangelicalism, the role of Christian education, and the danger of evangelical accommodation. To watch lectures or conversation, go to:
part 1 — henrycenter.tiu.edu/resource/know-your-roots-part-1/
part 2 — henrycenter.tiu.edu/resource/know-your-roots-part-2/
part 3 — henrycenter.tiu.edu/resource/know-your-roots-part-3/
part 4 — henrycenter.tiu.edu/resource/know-your-roots-part-4/
NEW LECTURE STATS
A new report from Mike McHenry ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), who handles all our online video via YouTube, etc., tells us that YouTube has now introduced a stat that they call “watch time” to help people such as Mike measure and evaluate videos. A different tool already tells how many times a video has been viewed. In addition, “watch time” now also tells how people engage with the content. Typically, YouTube channels like Mike’s, which show very long videos, get far less views than other channels do which show very short videos. Given those facts, watch time is a more accurate test of engagement.
Mike says the video of our lecture titled “The Fire That Consumes,” delivered in September 2011 in the Lanier Theological Library Lecture Series, has had 37,585 views, and over a half-million (513,616) watch hours. We again thank Mark Lanier for including this lecture in his distinguished series, and we thank God who seems to be using it to great advantage year after year.