Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and Liberals

I previously wrote a blog about my concerns with a topic in Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears. Today I would like to focus on another topic in the book which I enjoyed. On page 82 Driscoll states
"Without being overly critical, I do believe that most Christians and Christian traditions have a propensity to under emphasize one aspect of Jesus' ministry, which can have very tragic effects. Personally, I have an easy time understanding the priestly role of Jesus for the victims of sin, but I can sometimes be overly harsh with a sinner. When someone sins, I more easily see them needing Jesus as prophet rather than priest, which is not always the case. Sometimes, as Paul says, it is the kindness of God that brings about our repentance. Practically this means that I am prone toward fundamentalism."

Driscoll goes on to lay out the following


Obviously if we neglect any of the three ways Jesus revealed himself we are in error and will not have a orthodox view of Jesus Christ. Driscoll also states
"Jesus came to the Earth to reveal himself to us as our prophet who speaks to us, priest who walks with us, and king who rules over us. ...For the three offices of Jesus to be the greatest benefit to us, we must humbly ask God to reveal to us which aspect of Jesus' ministry we are most likely to or even ignore an read scripture with a humble heart seek to see Jesus in the fullness of his glory."

In chapter Six, Driscoll goes on to explain another difference between Fundamentalists and Liberals, where the error is an overemphasis on either the resurrection or crucifixion of Jesus.

"Sadly, there are those who err in emphasizing either the crucifixion or the resurrection of Jesus at the expense of the other. Some preach only the cross and its result of forgiveness of sin and justification. Without preaching the resurrection of Jesus as well, Christians are prone to overlook the mission of Jesus and the new life he has for them on earth. They tend to see Christian life as little more than going to church to soak in teaching until they get to heaven. This is the perennial error of Christian fundamentalism.

Conversely, there are others who preach only the new kingdom life that Jesus offers through his resurrection. These Christians excel at helping the poor and handing out hugs and muffins, but fail at repentance of personal sin and calling others to repent of personal sin so that they might be forgiven and reconciled to God through Jesus. This is the perennial error of Christian Liberalism."

Those two paragraphs were the best thing I got from the book. As someone who grew up in a conservative, fundamentalist Baptist church and went to a Southern Baptist Bible College I spent the majority of my life overlooking the importance of the new life here on earth offered by Jesus. The last few years however I've been learning about sharing in the new life we have here on earth, reading Shane Claiborne and trying to live in community with other believers. My transition has not been easy, and I've been mocked by fundamentalist. I must strive to see Jesus as my priest, prophet and king and I must value his crucifixion and resurrection.

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