Gospels that Stop Short of Shalom

Recently I’ve been reading and writing about how we present the gospel, and I’ve considered these “five” gospels that are preached: a gospel of Genesis 1, which focuses on our common humanity and our inherent capacities; a gospel of Genesis 3, which focuses on our sinfulness and which can easily run amok; a gospel that focuses on the death of Jesus, which ends up seeing the gospel that forgives our sins so we can go to heaven; a gospel that focuses on the resurrection, which emphasizes liberation and deliverance from oppression and death; and a gospel that focuses on Pentecost, which emphasizes religious experience. Each of these sorts falls short of Shalom, that condition of human existence in which humans, as eikons of God, are in union with God and communion with one another. God’s will for us on earth is the same will he has for us in the heavens.

Any genuine gospel will keep these in balance: when it does, it can lead to Shalom; when it doesn’t, it offers a gospel that stops short of Shalom.

We are in the Chautauqua region of New York for a speaking event. I’m hoping to get back to this blog Sunday night or Monday morning.

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  • Anonymous

    Comment on past post – did you remove a post concerning some of your studies and interactions with D.A.?

  • Yes, the stuff on foundationalism. Reason? There is no reason to get too much into how to describe DA Carson’s epistemology.

  • Mmmm… will anyone disagree with this? Isn’t the problem that we all have a different idea of what ‘balanced’ means? ‘Cuz it isn’t like a Digital-Weights-And-Balances balance, it’s more like an Analog-Is-The-Bass-Too-Loud-In-This-Mix kind of balance, no?

  • Anonymous

    What shalom does it lead to? I think this is the problem in ec. It wants shalom too broadly when Christ said He did not come to bring world peace, but instead war. Shalom is meant for those within His community. Shalom with Him and with each other, but the question in all of this is “who is in the community.” That’s what this whole dialogue is often about, no?

  • I’m not sure we want to reduce all forensic elements to shalom, though, do we? Isn’t there some sense in which God is judge, and we deserve death? It’s true that resolving that brings shalom, but I have trouble seeing it as fundamentally shalom.I agree with you that this concept should be the crucial component of how we explain the gospel to this generation. It’s the fundamental element I deal with when I look at Christian responses to the problem of evil. My sense is that students today will understand the relational aspects of the atonement (which really is the etymological origins of the English word anyway) more easily than they will the other elements. I just don’t want to insist that all the other aspects depend on this one.

  • Running with the prompt from Conrad i am left pondering just what the ‘correct’ balance is, can it be weighed and measured? What does it look like, what does it sound like?Are all points brought back to the ‘Shalom’ of God? Or is there more. Or do all points come from the ‘Sahlom’ of God, can we understand judgement if we don’t understand love, can we understand hell if we have not tasted something of heaven? Not questions for answer, more thoughts of my own stirred up from your post. Thanks, needed that.

  • “In balance”?Humans are incurably imbalanced. We chase down those ideas that we find most comfortable and chase away those that challenge us.The “full” gospel will begin with humans as Eikons of God, know that because of the Fall became a “cracked” Eikon, but also know that through the Cross, the Resurrection, and Pentecost, that God’s work of restoring Eikons can lead us to the Shalom God intended for us — that Shalom wherein humans are in union with God and communion with one another. Nothing less, nothing else, nothing better.

  • Another way to put it…Ever since the Reformation, we have thought of Salvation as “salvation from eternal punishment”. It was a preocupation with what happens after we die.While that is a part of it, for sure, I believe what we had at the beginning was the emphesis on “salvation from sin”. It’s about the manifestation of that salvation throughout our lives on earth. The sins that we’re being saved from include sin against one another, thus it’s the Gospel of Shalom.

  • Scot-You’re making the same statment that I think McLaren is making in AGO. I agree with both of you :).