It’s possible to continue the outward mechanics of life, but inwardly check out. Or worse still, give yourself over to soul-numbing sin. Both are common responses to what I call “soul-fatigue.” Soul-fatigue isn’t “I need another cup of coffee” fatigue. It’s “I don’t see a way forward” fatigue. And, eventually, we all experience it.
As many of us know, Christian ministry should be firmly centered on the gospel. The power of God is found in the gospel. Yet, sometimes in our effort to be gospel-centered, “the gospel” can take on a life of its own. Sometimes if we’re not careful “the gospel” can become an abstract idea. Simply put, the gospel can be explained as good news. But, still, it’s one step removed from the substance. This is where Michael Reeves’s fantastic little book, “Rejoicing in Christ,” comes into play.
Conversations at the end of sermons can go many places. I have forgotten most, but a few stand out. I particularly remember one that took place some thirty years ago. I was just into my first Senior Pastorate, having worked my way through the ranks of Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor. I was still in the process of completing my Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, having acquired a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology degree. Nonetheless, I felt overwhelmed and woefully inadequate. I felt very much a novice at preaching, pastoral care, and board leadership.
In Part 1, I described how Matt Bates in Salvation by Allegiance Alone had a helpful description of the gospel that included the enthronement of Christ and gave it a distinctly V shape. In this post, I will give a few reasons why I don’t think allegiance is the best macro term for translating pistis (usually rendered as faith or trust).
For the last six years my eyes and ears have been attuned to a spatial reading of the Scriptures. I wrote my first book on the spatial nature of the kingdom and have plans at some point to write a biblical theology of the descent-ascent theme that is found across the canon of Scripture. Recently I picked up Matthew Bates newest book, “Salvation by Allegiance Alone.” In the first part of the book, he gives an argument for what I would call a “wide angle lens” of the gospel, but he employed imagery that resonated with me. He argues that the gospel has a V-shape (he admits he heard this from Ben Witherington first). What does he mean by this?