RFG 11: Religion and the Gospel

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RFG 11: Religion and the Gospel

Postby Ichthus » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:23 am

“The Reason for God” (Keller) Book DiscussionPart 2: The Reasons for Faith
ELEVEN: Religion and the Gospel


“In chapter 11, the author contrasts religion with the message of the Christian gospel. He points out that religion is a set of rules and standards that determine what a person must do to obtain divine approval and enter heaven. In contrast, he states, the gospel makes it clear that no human can measure up to God’s standard — which is perfection. That explains why God sent Jesus, his Son, to earth to die for the sins of humanity. The perfect God, in human flesh, was sacrificed for imperfect humanity. Keller writes: “The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued … that Jesus was glad to die for me” (p. 181). How do you respond to Keller’s characterization of religion in contrast to the message of the gospel? How do you react to his summary of the meaning of the gospel?” – Penguin http://download.redeemer.com/sermons/Penguin%20Reader%20Guide.pdf

I think it is important to note how, as Keller pointed out, “All other major faiths have founders who are teachers that show the way to salvation. Only Jesus claimed to actually be the way of salvation himself,” (174).

My pastor sometimes uses this “religion, irreligion, and the gospel” idea of Tim Keller’s in his sermons, so I was familiar with it. I think it is something we need to keep reminding ourselves of. I think many of us grow up with the religious mindset, never truly understanding the gospel mindset even if we were raised in a Christian family.

In both religion and irreligion, we are slaves. Only the gospel sets us free. I liked this quote, “We are not in control of our lives. We are living for something and we are controlled by that, the true lord of our lives,” (185). If you don’t live for Jesus, you will live for something else.

I liked Keller’s discussion of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – if my reading list wasn’t so long, I’d read it right now. I liked his discussion of pride and Pharisaism (religious mindset) and that there are two types: liberals who feel superior to bigots and narrow-minded people, and conservatives who feel superior to the less moral and devout (180). It is building our identity on our own good works, our own self-salvation (impossible) rather than on God’s unconditional acceptance. It is a rejection of the gospel message, of God’s love, of our Savior.

His love is radical, and a response to it is radical. I liked how Keller discussed Valjean’s response to the bishop’s grace contrasted with Javert’s unfortunate suicide in Les Miserables. He couldn’t handle the paradigm-shift. Another one I should read.

I liked Keller’s mention of humble confidence, despite circumstances. It won’t necessarily be all roses, but you will know you are loved with an unshakable love. I liked that he pointed out that this doesn’t lead us to want to go sin our faces off, but instead we are changed in the presence of such love and want it to radiate through us.

The subject matter of this chapter is definitely something I struggle with. I obsess over others’ assessments rather than accepting God’s assessment of me, I feel proud of myself for things I couldn’t have done without God or things that had no love in them, I comfort myself with thoughts of “at least I’m not like them.” But He loves me anyway.

[edit February 9] [This is a recording, please stay on the line; do not hang up.] All are invited to discuss this chapter without me, as I now turn my attention to the remaining chapters of the discussion.
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Re: RFG 11: Religion and the Gospel

Postby Ichthus » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:44 pm

For every Valjean.
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Re: RFG 11: Religion and the Gospel

Postby Ierrellus » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:37 pm

Gospel means "good news". If the majority of humans are bound for eternal hell either from being born in some culture that does not believe in the Bible as the word of God or for "sinning" or committing some error in this flyspeck of human existence, that is not good news. It indicates a god that failed. Mark Twain notes that the OT gave us a jealous, vindictive God and the NT gave us hell. So where is the good news (Gospel).
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Re: RFG 11: Religion and the Gospel

Postby omar » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:16 pm

I think that sometimes these authors depart from a prejudice. They are not approaching the gospels with a blank slate of a mind, but looking for ways in which christian dogmas become fulfilled by a novel reading of the same books. So for example Jesus OBVIOUSLY died for our sins.
All of these familiar dogmas at one point were not the beginning and end of the Christian faith and did not naturally evolved but were dictated from above by an official reading that was supposed inerrand.
After the synoptic gospels, Mark, Matthew and Luke, you get John. John is the basis, very often, for this idea that Jesus proposed that he was the way, and that there was nothing at all for us to do. It is in John that Jesus comes accross as a Christian and not as a jew. No wonder, it comes after the memory of the Jerusalem Council is no longer relevant. But during it's existence, along with the figure of Paul, they serve as witness of a Christian narrative in which we were not slaves that HAD to be saved by HIS death alone. A nuanced view that eventually was lost and theologians and authors, like Keller, unfortunately fail to see the possibility that this narrative was derrived from the ministry of Jesus.
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Re: RFG 11: Religion and the Gospel

Postby V-OutOfTheWilderness » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:49 am

Ichthus wrote:“The Reason for God” (Keller) Book DiscussionPart 2: The Reasons for Faith
ELEVEN: Religion and the Gospel


“In chapter 11, the author contrasts religion with the message of the Christian gospel. He points out that religion is a set of rules and standards that determine what a person must do to obtain divine approval and enter heaven. In contrast, he states, the gospel makes it clear that no human can measure up to God’s standard — which is perfection. That explains why God sent Jesus, his Son, to earth to die for the sins of humanity. The perfect God, in human flesh, was sacrificed for imperfect humanity. Keller writes: “The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued … that Jesus was glad to die for me” (p. 181). How do you respond to Keller’s characterization of religion in contrast to the message of the gospel? How do you react to his summary of the meaning of the gospel?” – Penguin http://download.redeemer.com/sermons/Penguin%20Reader%20Guide.pdf

I think it is important to note how, as Keller pointed out, “All other major faiths have founders who are teachers that show the way to salvation. Only Jesus claimed to actually be the way of salvation himself,” (174).

My pastor sometimes uses this “religion, irreligion, and the gospel” idea of Tim Keller’s in his sermons, so I was familiar with it. I think it is something we need to keep reminding ourselves of. I think many of us grow up with the religious mindset, never truly understanding the gospel mindset even if we were raised in a Christian family.

In both religion and irreligion, we are slaves. Only the gospel sets us free. I liked this quote, “We are not in control of our lives. We are living for something and we are controlled by that, the true lord of our lives,” (185). If you don’t live for Jesus, you will live for something else.

I liked Keller’s discussion of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – if my reading list wasn’t so long, I’d read it right now. I liked his discussion of pride and Pharisaism (religious mindset) and that there are two types: liberals who feel superior to bigots and narrow-minded people, and conservatives who feel superior to the less moral and devout (180). It is building our identity on our own good works, our own self-salvation (impossible) rather than on God’s unconditional acceptance. It is a rejection of the gospel message, of God’s love, of our Savior.

His love is radical, and a response to it is radical. I liked how Keller discussed Valjean’s response to the bishop’s grace contrasted with Javert’s unfortunate suicide in Les Miserables. He couldn’t handle the paradigm-shift. Another one I should read.

I liked Keller’s mention of humble confidence, despite circumstances. It won’t necessarily be all roses, but you will know you are loved with an unshakable love. I liked that he pointed out that this doesn’t lead us to want to go sin our faces off, but instead we are changed in the presence of such love and want it to radiate through us.

The subject matter of this chapter is definitely something I struggle with. I obsess over others’ assessments rather than accepting God’s assessment of me, I feel proud of myself for things I couldn’t have done without God or things that had no love in them, I comfort myself with thoughts of “at least I’m not like them.” But He loves me anyway.

[edit February 9] [This is a recording, please stay on the line; do not hang up.] All are invited to discuss this chapter without me, as I now turn my attention to the remaining chapters of the discussion.

I don't buy it. If the cross was efficacious for forgiveness of original sin, then why wasn't it efficacious enough for God to lift the curse he put on creation for the fall.

Answer, forgiveness of sin can't be proven, until we go to heaven. It's a pie in the sky fantasy. Else God would have been happy enough for his human sacrifice on a torture stake to lift the curse.

So the cross is total bunkum.
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The question mark is shaped like a serpent ???

Degrees from the University of Divine Quackery (UofDQ).

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Re: RFG 11: Religion and the Gospel

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:30 pm

Nah. The cross is a valid symbol for the vertical and horizontal beliefs of humans--upward and outward. To place a savior on that cross is an attempt to reconcile these two types of belief.
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