Thursday, June 7, 2012

Love Wins, Part 04

Here are some more provocative questions for Evangelicals from Rob Bell, about the story of the Rich Young Ruler who asked Jesus how he could enter into enternal life.


The rich man’s question…is the perfect opportunity for Jesus to give a clear, straightforward answer to the only question that ultimately matters for many.

First, we can only assume, he’ll correct the man’s flawed understanding of how salvation works. He’ll show the man how eternal life isn’t something he has to earn or work for; it’s a free gift of grace.

Then, he’ll invite the man to confess, repent, trust, accept, and believe that Jesus has made a way for him to have a relationship with God.

Like any good Christian would.

Jesus, however, doesn’t do any of that.

He asks the man,”Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

“Enter life?”

Jesus refers to the man’s intention as “entering life”? And then he tells him that you do that by keeping the commandments? That wasn’t what Jesus was supposed to say.

* * *

Shouldn’t Jesus have given a clear answer to the man’s obvious desire to know how to go to heaven when he dies? Is that why he walks away—because Jesus blew a perfectly good “evangelistic” opportunity? How does such a simple question—one Jesus could have answered so clearly from a Christian perspective—turn into such a convoluted dialogue involving commandments and treasures and wealth and ending with the man walking away?

The answer,
It turns out,
is in the question.


(Did you notice the apparent contradiction between the second and third paragraphs? Of course, someone of the Reformed persuasion would resolve that by saying it is not the human being doing the confessing, repenting, trusting, accepting, or believing; it is God working in him. Why God should work in some, without their wanting it, but not work in others, is a question you aren't supposed to ask, because it isn't all supposed to conform to mere logic.)