Saturday, June 21, 2008

No conditions apply



I took this photo outside a Wesleyan Church in Fremantle, WA.

I think this church got it right.
Of course, church signs are always catchy and there are unstated assumptions we must assume when reading them. The Gospel, of course, without the preceding accusation of the Law ceases to have its power, but we will not go into that right now. For the moment, at least the free gift of Christ's love is on this church sign.
Considering how the Gospel has been presented with lots of do's, lots of pre-conditions, lots of fine prints etc etc etc, that aspect of unconditionality I'd say is a good start.

14 comments:

Steve Newell said...

This is a great example of a gospel without law. The sign should read "You hate Jesus and He loves you so much that he died for your sins". There is no sin, no cross.

The irony is that Wesleyan theology is very much focused on the Christian life.

L P Cruz said...

Steve N.

Right. The point of us being not alright is not revealed by the church sign.

The fact that the unconditional language is there is a good start, I thought.

I say this because sola gratia is a lot harder to take by non-Reformation folk, they have no problem with faith or sola fide, because they can turn faith around as a form of works but grace is their problem.

Jesus loves me without the context of atonement will give a different message, it would mean I do not need to take hold of that atoning sacrifice.

Grace is the problem and when they start including unconditional language in their psyche, they get nearer to understanding what a gift is.

Blessings,

LPC

steve martin said...

I think the fact that an asterisk needed to be added is an indictment of the law. That people naturally expect some pre-conditions reveal that they are still living under the law.

The sign speaks the pure gospel and we know what power that gospel carries (Romans 1:16).

I agree with both of you. The law is needed to kill. If that sign helps lead someone inside, then the pastor ought lower the boom on them in a regular fashion...right before he reminds them again of the words on the sign.

Nice one, L.P.C.!

- Steve M.

L P Cruz said...

Steve M.

In one sense indeed the Law is already written in people's hearts but the Gospel has to be the one to come from outside.

Good point on the asterisk too, for indeed when man looks at himself in relation to God he normally looks to God with conditions. Non-Chritian and even tribal religions already have that notion.

LPC.

Doorman-Priest said...

"Traffic delay? Time to pray"

Sticks in my mind.

Strangely.

L P Cruz said...

D.P.

I know what you mean.

As I often say to the missus, the time when I need love is not when I am good, the time I need love is when I have been BAAAD.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

The sign says it right alright, but they forgot that their tradition, i.e. Methodism is about entire sanctification which is as conditional as one can get about the Christian life.

I think the irony is in much of Jesus loves everybody evangelicalism perhaps is that conditions do not apply only to *non*-Christians. As for Christians, well, Jesus *now* expects you to perform!

L P Cruz said...

A.S.

I know, that is precisely why I took a snap shot of the sign because there is this 'happy' inconsistency.

To propel them to Reformation thinking, the conversation will have to be moved along the lines of what the sign says.

As for Christians, well, Jesus *now* expects you to perform

I was just thinking of how we always want to pay back.

LPC

Anonymous said...

I think the sign is part of a series which churches (or anyone, I guess) can purchase & display - 52 messages, one for each week (maybe more?). A few church notice boards here in Toowoomba have them too, I notice. I agree it is somewhat ironic that a Wesleyan church should display this one. But I also agree with Lito, it's a good place to start, a visual 'sound byte', if you will, especially for churches on a main road.
Mark

L P Cruz said...

Pr. Mark,

How did you guess the sign is on the main road?

Very good guess.

In fact, the church is at a corner of two main thoroughfares of the town, a historic church.

LPC

Anonymous said...

Elementary,
my dear Lito,
elementary...
as Holmes would say to Watson
(in the films, not the books).

MH, Toowoomba.

Lucian said...

Yes: NO conditions apply. God does NOT hate sinners. Sorry. :-( The only problem is that, eventhough parents never hate their lost son, he'll perish if he does not return from his self-destroying path. Neither God, nor parents, are the problem here: the problem is sin to which we freely enslave ourselves, and which leads to destruction. :-(

P.S.: the word-verification was "cable" :-)

L P Cruz said...

It is hard to keep up with you now that I got your attention eyh?

I like you to participate when Dan replies to my imputation/impartation.

IT would be an interesting discussion.

LPC

Lucian said...

Well,... I haven't exactly visited Your blog eversince the period we had "the talk". :-) I'm catching up just a tiny little bit. :-)