a breath of fresh air from Dan Kimball:
“…something I honestly feel is often missing often in the whole emerging and emergent church conversations – and that is evangelism. I am not talking about social justice or issues of Kingdom living in the now which is talked about and acted on a lot (thank God). I fully admit that most (not all) of the evangelical church didn’t pay the attention needed to how the gospel of Jesus changes this life, not just the afterlife. … The gospel of Jesus is more than just salvation for the life to come.
At the same time, I wonder if because we are reacting to perhaps the over-focus on the gospel being about the after-life only, that we have gone too far in response. Do we now focus so much on the gospel and Kingdom-living in this life and what that means (which is incredibly important) but we now neglect talking about the gospel’s impact on the after-life? Perhaps it is fresh on my mind and heart, since my dad just died and my thinking has been about the after-life. But something I have a personal concern for is balance. As we adjust to making sure we teach and live out the good (great) news of the gospel and Kingdom living here and now in this life – that we still talk and teach about the reality of the after-life. That we still talk about heaven and we also still talk about the reality of hell. I honestly don’t hear too much talk about hell in most (but not all) emerging and emergent church circles. I know it isn’t pleasant to talk about. I know there is much mystery with it. I know God is the only one who knows people’s eternal destinations. I know we have used “hell” in manipulative and incorrect ways. And again, I understand fully the reality of how we neglected understanding the Kingdom of God on this earth and what that means and perhaps focused too much on the after-life only when we talked about the gospel. But at the same time, how can we forget about the reality of the after-life and not talk or think about hell and heaven?
know some of my friends may not agree with me, but I fully believe in the reality of both heaven and the eternity of a hell. I may not understand all there is to it and much of the hell imagery isn’t actually biblical truth, but a poor understanding of biblical metaphors and mixing in medieval concepts that we have historically used. But I believe from passages such as in Daniel 12:2 to a bunch of them in the New Testament which to me clearly indicate that there is an eternal separation of people in the afterlife. A horrifying and heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, mind-searing, painful thought. But a reality I personally cannot dismiss. So it doesn’t mean that we take the gospel and only focus on hell, as the gospel is about this life too. But at the same time, we can’t forget or dismiss the topic of hell either, which I am wondering if we are beginning to do in some circles.”
-I blogged earlier on Balancing Gospel and Social Justice Concerns.
- God help us to love the whole person.