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Scot, you have a way of adding a dimension to conversations that some of us don’t consider. The idea of “hell” being an identity marker for evangelicals was an “ah ha!” moment for me. It makes so much sense in view of the last 200-300 years of evangelicalism.
John, I agree. Excellent job, Scot, getting to the root of the problem without taking sides. I especially resonated with the connection to the “missionary movement”. I once asked an African believer why his Christian brothers and sisters had such a hard time with eternal security. He said the early missionaries used hell as a stick to keep the natives in line. I know this doesn’t necessarily invalidate the doctrine of hell, but this kind of thing explains some of the reluctance to swallow it whole.
Scot, please forgive my ignorance, but some of what you said toward the end of the interview sounds like the old “Lordship Salvation” debate between the John MacArthur and the dispensationalists like Ryrie and Hodges. This comparison must make you cringe.
With respect toward John MacArthur as a brother in Christ, his version of Christianity and the gospel feels oppressive to me and he is all about Lordship. Nothing he says strikes me much as “good news.” I reminder when I was a “fan” of his reading his book on Christian parenting. He presented so many hoops to jump through and tests to pass before a person could be a Christian that we thought we were never going to be able to lead our children to embrace Christ. We even wondered if we were “saved.”
How is your understanding of submission to Jesus as Savior and Lord different? You never sound like MacArthur (that’s an understatement!) but are speaking the same language. What’s the difference?
This was very helpful; thanks 🙂 I especially felt that your words on social justice, the hell debate, and discipleship vs. emphasis on a single conversion/salvation event provided excellent clarification.
Yes, as John Frye commented, these issues are contentious because it gets at the core of a collective national identity that has evolved over time for American evangelicals. I can see that. It’s interesting to me, that in reading ‘The Faith Club’, the Muslim woman in the group explained that the word “jihad” has another meaning besides a literal holy war against “infidels” — it can (possibly more rightly interpreted from the Quran) also mean an inner struggle of conversion to faith. Related to another post this morning on John Stott and conversion vs. regeneration, I would pray for a regenerative event or two among the evangelical masses (myself included)… In my own experiences, those moments come unexpectedly, usually after a long struggle, and suddenly there is clarity and a peaceful sense of, “Aha, I get it now.” A God’s grace intervening moment. Conversion as a process is hard work at times. Certainly we don’t do everything perfectly along the way. Messy…
I appreciate your knowledgeable, moderating voice amidst the noise and confusion.
Go Cubs! Not much of a sports fan myself, but my grandpa was a lifelong Cubs fan, cheered every year for them to win the World Series. I’m sentimental about the Cubs…
I’ll admit that I, too, felt just a little like Scott Eaton when I heard you talk about “Lordship” in the interview. I have never felt “oppressed” by any of your teachings and writings, but I have felt that way viz-a-viz others (like John MacArthur). Both you and J.M. define the fallacies of easy-believism, but you operate from two very different points of view.
Scott and John. The lordship theme comes from my King Jesus Gospel book and is not concerned with that debate in the 80s.
When I heard the term “lordship” come up in the interview, I was reminded of some aspects of ‘The Real Mary.’ I think too of the disciples, who often had trouble understanding what Jesus was talking about. The apostles worked out their callings, with the help of the Holy Spirit, day by day. In my very humble thinking, it means, “Follow the Leader — and just keep swimming!”
Scot, I know that I am not your primary audience, I am considering myself to be a missionary to the evangelical church these days and need to understand the history and perspective so I can relate to the natives. 🙂