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March 25, 2011


Tom Hicks

May the Lord save us from self-absorbed and self-made religion. Checking off the boxes of right doctrine and right churchly and individualistic practice is far easier for our sinful natures to stomach than knowing Christ personally and walking in Him daily. I believe you're right that when we approach things that way, we twist it all into something of our own making, and in our American culture, we turn it into the American Dream. Thanks for this exhortation. I need to know Christ more, love Christ more, live in Christ more, trust Christ more, and delight in Christ more, and I am challenged and exhorted. I am not where I need to be or where I want to be. God help us. Let us run hard after Christ.

But, are you also concerned about the gaping abyss on the other side? The first pitfall is what you have identified: a Christless doctrinaire church-attending religiosity that is the repackaged American Dream. But isn't mystical walking with a god of our own making also a danger? Propositionless gospels turn out to be the repackaged American Dream too, and in our post-modern, subjective, inward bent, feeling oriented-culture, I would suggest that is a current and living error. God ends up being a reflection of ourselves. How can that be corrected without the objective propositional revelation in Scripture? The Postmodernists say there is no such thing, and we can make words say whatever we want them to say. But, if that's true, then why do they write so many books full of words they evidently expect us to understand? : ) Surely, exegesis is possible. And, isn't the American church delinquent in its biblical exegesis?

I would suggest the Southern Baptist Churches you critique in your post above have two problems. First, they don't really have good doctrine derived from good exegesis. I would argue that a lack of orthodox teaching is a serious problem across American Christianity. And, second, they don't really know Jesus Himself. They are not walking in Him. How can we choose between propositions and the person of Jesus? The video you posted is excellent! It is also a string of propositions, which point us to a Person. One is a means; the other is the End. The very word gospel means good news. How can there be news without propositions? Propositions are fundamental, while Christ Himself is Supreme and Ultimate. Would you agree?

Alan Cross

Yes, I would agree. I am not saying that propositions don't exist. Not at all. I am saying that the Person of Jesus rises over the propositions. Jesus is not a series of propositions. He is a person. That is my point. It seems that we call many into an intellectual relationship with propositions where we affirm certain things instead of into a relationship with a person who is vast in the aspects of His character. I am not calling for the elimination of propositions, but rather for a recogition that Jesus is a person that we are to know and follow. It sounds elementary and few would disagree, I think. But, when you really think about it, it makes a big difference.

I like your last sentence. That is a good way of saying it.

Alan Cross

Let me also clarify that in saying that Jesus rises above propositons I am not trying to denigrate the propositional truth of Scripture. Rather, I am just trying to say that all of it points to the Person of Jesus Himself. I am not promoting an undefined, mystical view of spirituality that we can redefine as we desire, because Jesus has form and weight and meaning. We see who He is in the gospels and throughout the Biblical revelation. Many Christians, however seem to focus on the propositions because the seem to be controllable. A relationship with Jesus as Lord puts Him in control. I am not arguing against truth as objective or the commands of Christ. I am just locating it relationally instead of primarily intellectually or even just morally.
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Tom Hicks

Alan, we are on the exact same page there. May God help us to think and be and live according to this profession. Press on brother.

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