Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Blood Is Thicker Than Water

A recent critique of the "emerging church" claims that "there is no sense of gospel wonder"[1]. The phrase itself made me chuckle. It sounds like Christianeze from some bygone era, like maybe the tent revivals of early 20th century America.

After a good chuckle, I thought more soberly about this statement and what it is really saying. Do I not hold Scripture in high enough esteem? Does it no longer arouse wonder?

I will readily admit that I do not speak for the whole of the emerging church. I am but one voice calling out from within the ooze (see 5/4/05 post for more on this). From my limited vantagepoint, it seems the good news does still arouse awe and admiration in many emerging Christians. I know that it does for me.

The problem comes when we hold the gospel over its divine messenger. If we embrace Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we in fact embrace his good news, not the other way around. It seems like so many Christians hold fast to the Word of God, yet they pay little attention to the Word Incarnate. (Note: I don’t like speaking in those terms because they sound so churchy, but I think they help to underscore the real issue here).

Scripture teaches that the Word is like water and we should wash ourselves in it[2]. Scripture also teaches that the blood of Jesus cleanses our consciences from useless rituals and gives us life[3]. If ever I were required to choose, I’d take the blood every time because "blood is thicker than water."

That’s not to imply that I discount the usefulness of water. It doesn’t mean that I read only the red letters in my Bible and discard the rest. But I do try to read the rest of Scripture—the Word—in light of my understanding about Jesus—the Word Incarnate. After all, it is him that I worship and not some shadow or type…meaning literally the type on the printed page.

In my limited understanding, the whole of Scripture points to Jesus. So as followers of him, we should keep his message central and remember that it is indeed good news…for the world, not just a select few. Isnt’ that wonderful?

[1] Thomas, Geoff, "The Emerging Church" at banneroftruth.com (For a good response to this critique, see Bob Hyatt’s blog at http://evergreenlife.org/2005/05/critique.html)
[2] Ephesians 5:26
[3] Hebrews 9:14; Leviticus 17:11; John 6:54

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