A couple further thoughts on the primacy of LOVE in the Christian faith, prompted by Scot McKnight’s chapter reviewed y’day.
First, a theme of this book is a deconstruction and reconstruction of the Christian life through the lens of Scot’s personal journey. The deconstruction being of a legalistic and performance based faith. The reconstruction being following Jesus into a kingdom life of love.
Have you been on a similar journey? Has there been a key moment (a realisation, an event, an idea, a reading of Scripture, a sermon, a gradual liberation, a theological insight) in that movement from deconstruction to reconstruction?
I haven’t had such a radical experience (which must in many ways be a good thing). The biggest development in my thinking and understanding of the Bible has been to see the gospel of Jesus Christ as the climax of the unfolding narrative of the triune God’s redemptive mission to the world. In other words, a narrative theology that goes beyond a narrow gospel of me being forgiven & getting a ticket to heaven, to a much bigger good news proclaiming Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, the crucified and resurrected Lord of all creation before whom every knee will bow.
Second, it’s interesting that in new understanding of the Christian life, Scot still has a central, and indispensable, place for ‘personal piety’ (like saying the Jesus Creed daily, as well as prayer, Bible reading, etc).
This raises a question – what place does regular ‘personal piety’ have in most Christians’ lives that you know – and your own?
I suspect, for most students and friends I know, regular patterns of piety are marginal, if not totally absent. I know I struggle to incorporate a daily discipline even though I know it is of great value when I do. This is in huge contrast to a previous generation where the evangelical ‘quiet time’ and other such practices were stressed and taught and expected to be present as a sign of spiritual progress.
Has there been such a reaction against past experiences of legalism and convention, perhaps combined with a distorted view of grace and liberty, that results in any encouragement to spiritual discipline seem like a form of legalism?
One example – Scot preached in Ireland last summer on the Jesus Creed. The vast majority of people I talked to afterwards really enjoyed what he had to say. But a small minority still thought being encouraged to say, reflect on and be shaped by Jesus’ own words (!!) every day was somehow legalistic.
Now that is pretty remarkable when you think about it. And even more so in light of how Israel was constantly commanded by the Lord to remember his word – to memorise it, to learn it, to say it, to have present in their doorframes … so as to ‘soak into’ their lives and worship.
Comments, as ever, welcome.