Chapter Three: What Brand of God Do You Use?
Starting on page 73, Pearson says:
As I understand it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the proclamation of redemption, not the act of redemption. It is not a command for righteousness; it is a declaration of righteousness. Jesus at Calvary is the work of salvation. According to Scripture, Jesus is the Beloved Son in whom God is well pleased (Matthew 3:17). Why? Because Jesus met all the requirements of the law by which the enemy accuses the entire human race. He paid the price on our behalf.
There is a popular adage, “What would Jesus do?” The question should be “What did Jesus do?” Until we recognize the full revelation of what Jesus finished, we will never really know what He started.
What do you think about Pearson’s summary of this chapter? What challenges, questions, and thoughts did it raise for you this week?
At the beginning of chapter 3 (on page 53), Pearson cites John Shelby Spong’s quote: “To be called an orthodox Christian does not mean that one’s point of view is right. It only means that this point of view won out in the ancient debate.” What concerns does that raise for you? In your opinion, was Spong correct?
Pearson says on page 55: “… the guilt, grief, and agony of saving the world before Jesus returns gnaws at the gut of every Evangelical Christian.” He later asks, “Under the guise of this supposedly holy mission, are Evangelicals actually committing a greater evil – neglecting families, sparking resentment in the so-called unsaved, and damaging their minds? Would we serve God better if we stopped trying to save others through evangelism and started saving them by example?” How would you answer those questions?
Are we, as a part of God’s rainbow nation, still victims of Constantine today?
How has the “merchandising of religion” adversely affected us today?
Are you “addicted” to your religion? In what ways do we, as part of God’s rainbow nation, continue to be addicted and contribute to our own spiritual and biblical abuse?
If Jesus never told us or anyone to save anyone, what then are we supposed to be doing?
Pearson asks on page 67 (in the How Should We Then Live? section): “Do we honor God and Christ if we live virtuous lives solely because we fear hell, or because we are bribed with the carrot of heaven? By that logic atheists, who presumably do good not out of hope for an eternal reward but because they feel it is right, are more virtuous than Christians.” How do you feel about that?
In the next paragraph, Pearson identifies the “accountants of Christianity who insists on “keeping books” on people’s sins.” In what ways do we, as God’s rainbow nation, continue to “keep books” on other “sinners?”
Just as Pearson does, do you “know many people who love the Jesus of Scripture but who keep their distance from his ‘cult?’” Can you understand why they react to the typical evangelistic bashing of certain Christians? (page 68)
According to Pearson, who is it that needs saving? (page 68 and following) How can we go about being a witness to those people without bashing them?