Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond - Lesson 3

Discussion of the Gospel

Discussion of the Gospel

Rick Sessoms
Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond
Lesson 3
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Discussion of the Gospel

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How conflict and leadership intersect.

Dr. Rick Sessoms
Peacemaking in the Church and Beyond
Discussion of the Gospel
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Now I'm just going to stop there and ask the question, How do you respond to that? How do you respond to this? Description of the gospel. I see smiles or those smiles like, you've got to be kidding me. I like it, Rick. You have to get it. You got it. They're excited about I believe this. They're excited about this. Yeah, that's pretty cool. Sound a little bit like John Calvin and Abraham Kuyper one. But seriously, what what is your what is what is what is going on inside of you as I see this? Well, we need the gospel every day, every minute. It's not what saved always say on the mike is going to every part of our lives. It's so true. It's applicable to every part of our lives. I knew Jesus knew that we had to live in the world, but not the other world. But there is church and there is state. So I have a little bit of complexion of thought as I'm listening to you. You're talking about heaven right here on Earth. This the way I. See. Yeah. This is a hard gospel to live in. But I don't think it's just heaven. I think it's here because we are to bring reconciliation here. It's not just some pie in the sky type of thing. See, that's what's happening in Rwanda. That's what's happening in other places, as if it has been truncated. Because it's just easier that way. Individuals, we come from a Western mindset individual, so that's what we think. Your points well taken in Rwanda. What I didn't say is that when the missionaries decided to sort of side with the government, their feeling was, well, if we don't do that, it might compromise our ability to proclaim the gospel.

[00:02:22] And over time, we see the devastating effects of not living out the whole gospel. But focusing on the gospel of sin management. Ended up with such tragedy of proportions that you and I can't imagine. And yet we see this repeated over and over and over again that sometimes we say, well, we'll focus on this because it you know, if we really get into these issues about reconciliation and and justice and and questions of really being ambassadors, of redeeming redeeming agents, then it may compromise our ability to to really be good witnesses. And and sometimes that has comes back to bite us. I think that's kind of what you were alluding to there. It's interesting when you look at Christendom, just two streams of the church and there's the the social action, social justice kind of stream of churches that kind of move in that direction. And as good as that is, some of those churches have lost the gospel in the process. They focused on social actions, social justice, but they've lost the message of Christ. That's a great point. And then then there's the evangelicals. And I think we've held firmly to the the the gospel. We held firmly to personal holiness. We're all spiritual growth, but we've lost we maybe we've never had the social action, social justice stream. So a great point. The turn of the century when in the turn of the last century, in the 20th century, when the quote, liberal element began to invade America, the fundamentalist began to separate from that. And what eventually happened in simple terms, is that. The more main, the more liberal element of the church began to focus, as you say, on social gospel and did not preach redemption, salvation, etc., basically had a lower view of Scripture and the person of Christ and so forth.

[00:05:02] The fundamentalist approach was to go the opposite direction because anything that was identified with social action and social social work was perceived as as liberal. And so the focus became personal piety and individual salvation. Um, the the interesting thing is that when I was in Bible school in the early seventies, it seems like a long time ago now. But I remember my first year of Bible school being handed a book by a man named Sherwood Wert, and he worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. And the title of the book was one of the most controversial books of its time. It was called The Social Conscience of the Evangelical. And he was one of the first that began to try to bring these two issues back together. And of course, the Lausanne movement under Billy Graham has started it and there have been others. But there's been a real effort to try to address what we call the whole gospel in in this in this time. But in in many respects, the church is still struggling with feeling that evangelism proclamation, getting people saved is the gospel. And these other issues are kind of secondary. They're kind of supplementary. And what I'm proposing to you here is there is no word necessarily in the New Testament for evangelism. The word is gospel. And under gospel fits all these things that we have come to understand, to be this living out the kingdom of God and in the presence of one another here. And so this this is why I'm making this emphasis at this point is for us to understand that this issue of reconciliation is core is the very core of what we understand the gospel to be. It's on the same level as as these other issues that we have traditionally seen as the primary role of the church.

[00:07:11] I recently read that if you were familiar with the movie The Blind Side went out about the ruling family and there was a movement to remove that movie from a major Christian bookstore, which was successful because it showed inner city life that would be contradictory to how Christians should live. So you can no longer find that that movie or book in a major Christian bookstore, because I think we have the truncated as gospel so much that it's just that if we don't deal with the world and that's totally, in my opinion, opposed to of Christ, what happens to you?


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