Last weekend I was in the LA area participating in Saddleback’s apologetics weekend. (My talk on The Radical Message of Jesus.) The question for the weekend — five services and five speakers — was this: What child is this? The five speakers were Chris Wright, Scot McKnight, Greg Koukl, Peter Kreeft and Phil Yancey.
I’m not sure how Rick Warren knew this, but I just had a chapter in a book on this very topic — and it was my new book so I was quite happy to be in a venue where this new book was available for the first time (One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow).
Before I tell you how I constructed the talk for Saddleback (read after the jump), a little about what happened.
First, I was delighted to be with Chris Wright again, to meet Greg, Peter and Phil — and, yes, to meet Rick Warren, who went all-out in hosting us. I was picked up at the airport by Jordan Ishii, a young theologian doing work at Fuller with a wonderful future in theology — we had some very good talks about what the academic life is about. Then I got to Saddleback early so I could chat briefly with Chris Wright before his talk, the first of the evening.
Second, I spoke at the 6:30pm service, saw two of my good former NPU colleagues (Dan and Teri deRoulet) sitting there, and then worked my way through the talk. When done all speakers gathered outside (yep, outside) to sign books and meet folks, and I was honored to meet three homeless folks who attend Saddleback and got something from the talk. Then Rick hosted the speakers at a dinner at the RKW offices — then we got to listen to what Saddleback is doing in Malawi (awesome) and elsewhere. Before the night was done we gathered in Rick’s big humungous office with his 20,000 book library, 2500+ or more of autographed-by-the-author books, and we were interviewed before his video crew for a new initiative Rick will begin in January. That was fun.
Third, my talk: I moved through three questions:
The How question? (How do people “enter the kingdom”?) Here I dealt with texts like Matt 5:20 and 7:21, but suggested that question leads to a second question:
The What question? (Both “yougottabekiddin’ me question and the substance question.) Here I looked into give up your money and follow me no matter what it costs texts in the Gospels. But that question isn’t completed until we get to the third question:
The Who question? (Who is Jesus?) Here we looked briefly at texts where Jesus makes extraordinary claims about himself. Only when we see “Who” Jesus is do the “What?” and “How?” questions make sense. Jesus is Messiah and Lord, and he wants us — you and me — and not what we’ve got. But once he gets the “You” he’s got the whole of the “You” and that means also what we’ve got.
What child is this? The Messiah and Lord.