“Christian or Non-Christian?” Is Not The Gospel!

The Gospel, or Good News, is Jesus Christ in His Relationship with God the Trinity, Humanity and all of Creation!

This is not to say that there is something wrong with being a Christian or being a Non-Christian. I am a Christian and believe it my earnest obligation in the grace of the Trinity to identify myself with the Body of Christ. I believe it to be the earnest obligation in the grace of the Trinity for a non-Christian to identify themselves with the vision they have been handed on by Triune God!

Please notice that with regard to non-Christians, I said “The vision they have been handed on by the Triune God” NOT “their own personal vision about God,” as there is a SIGNIFICANT difference in those two ways of putting it!

Rather than trying to explain myself thoroughly with regard to the things I have noted so far, I would like to present you with three quotes that will do the job much better. Chew on these quotes in the light of Jesus Christ in His Relationship with All things and see if you can’t feel my heart rather than just read my words.

The world does not consist of 100 per cent. Christians and 100 per cent. non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influ­ence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agree­ment with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teach­ing on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position. And always, of course, there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not much use trying to make judgments about Christians and non­-Christians in the mass. It is some use comparing cats and dogs, or even men and women, in the mass, because there one knows definitely which is which. Also, an animal does not turn (either slowly or suddenly) from a dog into a cat. But when we are comparing Christians in general with non-Christians in general, we are usually not thinking about real people whom we know at all, but only about two vague ideas which we have got from novels and newspapers. ~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 208-209

Karl Barth: On the basis of the eternal will of God we have to think of every human being, even the oddest, most villainous or miserable, as one to whom Jesus Christ is Brother and God is Father; and we have to deal with him on this assumption. If the other person knows that already, then we have to strengthen him in that knowledge. If he does not know it yet, or no longer knows it, our business is to transmit this knowledge to him. On the basis of the knowledge of the humanity of God no other attitude to any kind of fellow man is possible. It is identical with the practical acknowledgement of his human rights and his human dignity. To deny it to him would be for us to renounce having Jesus Christ as Brother and God as Father. The Humanity of God, p. 53. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982.

Michael Jinkins: Think again of [Karl] Barth’s statement: “Jesus Christ is the secret truth about the essential nature of man.” The deep, hidden secret about our humanity is not that we are descended from Adam, it is not that we have in our family tree a fratricidal character like Cain, nor is it that our family closet is full of skeletons that rattle in the dark, which we must keep hidden at all costs. No indeed. Jesus Christ is our family secret. This is the heart of Paul’s gospel, and it turns the Fall on its head. Christ identifies so completely with our humanity that we come to discover our true identity only in and through him. Christ is, to use Paul’s expression, the one for the many or the one for all. Who Christ is, he is for all humanity and not merely for the Jewish nation and certainly not [merely] for the members of some Johnnycome-lately Gentile cult [i.e. Christianity]. ~ Invitation to Theology, pp. 166-167. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarstiy Press, 2001.

~ Timothy J. Brassell

7 comments so far

  1. John Geerlings on

    Thanks Tim
    Great thought provoking post.
    Humanity is spiritually in Jesus, a new birth. He has become wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption as the last Adam for all in their living being (soul) in the here and now which is also now very evident in many people, whether they know it or not. This has been revealed so that those who dimly know this mystery may present all spiritually perfect in Jesus.

    I am where I am because of the grace of God. I see dimly and often live in unbelief. There is nothing I have done to get here. If this holds true for me it does so for the rest of humanity. As far as the body it is a place where we can lick our wounds and have accountability with each other in Him and learn to proclaim this awesome truth. It is about a God/man, named Jesus. jg

  2. tjbrassell on

    You’re welcome, and thank you John! Well said! I want to take your last paragraph and turn it into some kind of post! Is that okay??? I’m serious! 🙂

  3. John Geerlings on

    Tim
    That’s fine!

  4. Jacqueline on

    I agree about what you are saying pastor tim. I think one of the reasons why people get turned off is by religion is because of labels. you know im christian but its more of my relationship that i have with the father son and holy spirit like one of the quotes you put up there says our identity is in him so thats what i go b. i see what you are saying =).

  5. tjbrassell on

    Jackie – Yes, you definitely are seeing what I am trying to say! Right on!

  6. Jerome on

    WOO-HOO!!! Pastor Tim!!! (note the use of 3 exclamation points, one each for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!) This understanding fits the reality of our world so much better. We don’t have to run around in a absolutely insane panic because a million more unbelievers are about to go into a fiery hell prepared by the omnigod, screaming “Where are you God?!?!” thinking other’s salvation depends on our efforts. It’s plain that the omnigod we’ve been told about is not in control! Instead, we can REST in Jesus’ accountability to all humanity(believers and unbelievers)whom He created and whose existence, moment by moment, is sustained by His mighty power. Jesus is one of us, and He is still God With Us, even in our pain, confusion and lost estate. All praise to our mighty God! He is bigger than we thought!

  7. tjbrassell on

    All I can say is “WOO-HOO!!!” with you for the same reasons brother Jerome!!! Ha-Ha!

    “Jesus is one of us, and He is still God With Us, even in our pain, confusion and lost estate. All praise to our mighty God! He is bigger than we thought!”

    What a profound statement and UNDERSTATEMENT at the same time!


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