I consider myself a “Paleo-Evangelical” Christian. Like my counterparts in the first century, I have had transformational encounters with the person of Jesus Christ and am devoted to making him known as the Risen Lord; but am still working through which of my inherited cultural understandings and religious teachings are worthy to bear His name.
Thank you for creating me in Your image, and for loving us like Jesus.
Make me more and more like Jesus as I listen to your Word, your Spirit, and your Body.
Heal the wounds in my spirit that keep me from loving You, myself and others as Jesus did.
Help me show Your love to the world by practicing the generosity and vulnerability Jesus showed on the cross.
Teach me to always rejoice in the privilege of being your child.
I ask this because of everything Jesus did for me. So be it!
Anjali’s Catechism: The Book is coming in Summer 2019. Preview now.
Are you ready to:
- Embrace the One who created the universe as the Heavenly Father who loves you like Jesus?
- Submit your awareness, values, and goals to becoming more like Christ’s?
- Receive God’s Spirit, Word, and Body to reveal and heal the wounds in your spirit that hinder you from becoming like Jesus?
- Value God’s happiness, glory, and relationships more than your own?
- Practice generosity and vulnerability so others can see Christ in you?
- Surrender childlike happiness for the grown-up joy of loving like Jesus?
I feel like I need to repent of something.
For the last decade or so, I have been focused on understanding and promoting Transformational Christianity, which is based largely on Kingdom theology. I believed — and still believe — that the Kingdom of God is a powerful Biblical metaphor for understanding what the church and Christians are supposed to be doing on the earth.
But I think we’ve missed something. To be fair, everyone else in the gospels — the crowds, the disciples, even John the Baptist — also missed it. But that’s still no excuse. Especially since we have their example.
We have forgotten the cross of Christ. We have preached the life of Jesus in the gospels, and the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts, but overlooked the crucifixion that made both of those meaningful. We have sought the glory of Christ without sharing in His sufferings.
We want to bring the Kingdom of God — which is a good thing.
But we have tried to bring the Kingdom without first going to the cross. Which is a bad thing.
Forgive me for falling into the same trap your early followers did, of getting so excited over the promise of the Kingdom I totally missed what you were actually doing. I confess that I still do not understand the cross of Christ, or why you had to die. Which is why I resist the fact that I have to die. And forget to tell people that they have to die, as Jesus did. We have — forgive the pun — watered down Baptism to an empty ritual, instead of a way to share in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I am sorry. Please forgive me by your grace, by that very same death on a cross I have so foolishly neglected. Have mercy on those I may have misled or failed to help along the way. Help me to do my part in bringing back the fulness of the gospel to your people.
And, um, please let me know if there’s anything else important that I’ve missed…
I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
[Now part 1 of 6 in a series on Childlike Theology]
Since my son’s second set of seasons, I’ve sought a scalable summary of the gospel. Something simple enough to be sung by a six-year-old, yet sufficiently sophisticated to stun seminarians for centuries. Here’s my most successful statement so far:
God Loves Us Like Jesus
Simultaneously saying, in short, that the Father loves in the way:
- Jesus loves us
- He loves Jesus
- that makes us more like Jesus
Submitting to that sort of Savior is a sweet smell to our spirit, but a shocking scare to our sin! Continue reading
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” — Galatians 2:19-21
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. — Romans 6:3-5