In this and a few more posts, I want to enter with you into a conversation about how Jesus would evaluate the Four Spiritual Laws of Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ. The conversation should be back and forth between what Jesus taught and what the Four Spiritual Laws teach.
In the process, one of the deep principles of the Deep Ecclesiology of the Emergent movement will become clear: namely, its theology begins with a relationship with Jesus, and that relationship gives rise to its theology. Which means, if you agree with me, that Pauline theology and a Pauline gospel paradigm will be asked (at least) to sit and listen first to what Jesus had to say. Which means, if you still are with me, that a doctrine of Scripture grows out of a relationship with Jesus; Scripture is not seen as a “first principle” so much as an inevitable expression of what it means to be in relationship with Jesus. Which means, again if you are in agreement, that an ecclesiology, because it is the “Body” of those who are in relationship with Jesus and in relationship with those who in that “Body,” is also part of the picture of what gives rise to Scripture. (These are big theological steps, and plenty to discuss here.)
The Four Spiritual Laws are a tract designed to help people share the gospel with others, and at the same time they embody a theory of the gospel — and inasmuch as it is an attempt to summarize the whole gospel (no one ever really says this but anyone who does reduce it like this is at least saying “this is the bottom-line of it all”), it is a theology of the gospel. We will get no where in our thinking and our praxis until we realize the interrelationships of theology and “gospel tracts” or “what we think the gospel is.”