The egregious misinterpretations of scripture and the assumptions spawned from such interpretations by much of mainstream Christianity has not only perpetuated a false perception of The Creator’s character but has fueled twisted motivations for sharing the gospel, which depending on what subculture of Christianity you come from could have various implications in how you interact with those around you as well as how you interact personally with The Creator.
Christ’s message and purpose has been reduced to a process of avoiding eternal torment and torture (a pagan-fueled myth) or a way to avoid being “left behind” in the rapture (an invention propagated in the 1800’s.) This sad regression has lead to generations of christians questioning even the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice if these two doctrines were removed from the picture. Hence our interaction with Creator becomes transactional (appeasing a god to avoid punishment). And our interaction with the world becomes tribal (They are out. We are in. They will burn unless we convince them by any means possible). God is portrayed as a contradictory entity that is both supposedly pure Love and yet holds the keys to torture in His hands. Fear becomes the underlying motivator for sharing Christ’s gospel regardless of how we frame it.
I am scared of the Gospel, but for different reasons. It requires constant renewal, selflessness, and unconditional love. And it continually pulls the rug out from under everything we think we know and have become comfortable with.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
– Colossians 1:19-20
This great mystery of inclusivity does not need to be fully understood nor reined in by our assumptive theories, and it is not something that repudiates Christ’s role as the fulfillment of Israel’s prophecies of the Messiah, nor of His willing sacrifice as the representation of Creator in flesh to defeat death (to the extent we can understand that) for all of humanity. This blessed mystery of inclusiveness should be the foundation of our interaction with God and those around us. It should be the good news that inspires us to announce the peace and reconciliation accomplished by the cross.
Are we willing to arise and become rebels of reform in the church for the cause of Christ? It will mean deconstructing the church culture and constantly weeding out dark doctrines of assumption so the life of the Gospel can be declared unhindered and without hidden motives. “They will know us by our Love,” and nothing else. In the process, our insides may burn. Our eyes may struggle to see clearly. Our minds may rattle with unanswered questions. But love will abound.
The Gospel will never be safe because if we truly embrace Christ’s life and love for humanity, we will always be challenged to exist in new places of renewal so the Creator can be reflected more clearly through us.
Yes, I am scared of the Gospel and I always will be.