more about this sight

"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.

 

The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.


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« what is metanarrative? | Main | 'a new perspective on Paul' changes our understanding of 'the gospel' and 'the law' »
Friday
Apr172009

another view of 'gospel'

What is the gospel? When Paul spoke of 'the gospel' what was he thinking about? When he writes in his letter to the people in the province of Galatia that there is one gospel and any other gospel is 'no gospel' at all what are we to hear?

Gospel, of course, is 'good news'. 'Good news' to whom? To all. All flesh. All people. All of creation. Now...why was that so utterly outrageous in that time? Why was this 'gospel' this 'good news' so hard to swallow or accept?

The reason is clearly a predominant theme in the letters of Paul and the teachings of Jesus. The One God of the Jews was now inviting into the inner circle those who had been outside of the covenant of God. What once was the conquering metanarrative of the Jewish people was being cracked wide open. The mystery, or surprise, of the unveiled gospel was that the One God could now be anyone's God. And everyone's God.

When Paul embraced this reality it altered his worldview altogether. It shook everything he once believed. It was the gospel he preached, the gospel that other Jews (Judaizers et all) denounced him for.

And this is what 'they' (almost always the nation of Israel in the New Testament) rejected. This was what the elder son could not embrace; For their entire history this God had been their God and their God alone. This God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This God was to conquer the world--not embrace it.

The gospel that Paul declared, most pointedly in his letter to Galatia, was that the Gentiles (those outside of the story and covenant of Israel) were now being grafted in. His gospel was not about 'Jesus dying on the cross for our sins' as much as the proclamation that God had announced that He alone is the God of this world...for the sake of the world. The 'good news' is the proclamation that God has broken down the walls, opened the doors, sprung the flood-gates.

This was the good news. This is the unveiled gospel.

Luke 2:8--And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Good news (gospel) that will be for all the people. Let that sink in.

“Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean...

Peter rise, kill, eat, for that which was once unclean God has made clean. That which was once part of being clean before God (these separatistic ceremonies of Jewish culture) has now been removed, overcome, changed. Judaism has passed on, the covenant has been completed, a new day has dawned.

This is the 'gospel', this is the 'good news'. Inwardly we, like Peter, might be perplexed by an alteration to our convictions as to what is 'right'. Maybe it will take some time. God had to speak to Peter in this vision three times before he could begin to change his perceptions of the truth. The shift was anything but easy. To embrace the idea that 'there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus' was anything but easy. To embrace the idea that we may have imported foreign meanings onto the word gospel in our time will be anything but easy.

But it had to be embraced by Peter. And it has to be embraced by us. Any other gospel is 'no gospel at all'. When we see this word through a different lens than the one we have been looking through, Christianity and its imperatives shift. Our values change and our priorities and practices are reconsidered. The message is no longer 'Jesus is your personal savior' but rather 'the concept of God being owned by one people has been reconsidered, resended, and He is come to announce He is King of the world...come to Him'. Can you imagine how this seemingly slight change can affect our understanding of, for example, how to speak of the Old Testament? When it becomes a story that reaches a climax and then...'all things become new' we can shed some of the shackles that hang on the ancient metanarrative that so easily trip others up. Couple this with a centered Christianity and we can move 'in Christ' without being dogmatic. And perhaps, that is precisely 'what God is doing' in these times. Perhaps we have made stumbling blocks unnecessarily.

This is no small matter.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.--Galatians 1.

Whatever we might have done to reimagine the word gospel ought to be reconsidered. The Biblical gospel is the one we must proclaim.

We may have to sacrifice some sacred cows. We might need to kill, eat, and destroy some old ways.

 

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