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How I rehabilitated my evangelical conscience

by on October 23, 2010

(following on from the last post…)

Having been taught for many years to talk alot and do nothing much to help anyone, I found it a long path back to a place of social concern and compassion. The main trouble was the static interference caused by all the would-be-evangelical rhetoric I’d learned. It kept distracting me and making it hard to think.

I knew people mattered, but in the back of my mind was this voice saying, ‘Nothing that happens here matters that much, it’s just shadowlands really. The real action is in the spiritual realm.’ I even had voices (and let me whisper this, cause it’s not pretty) I had voices saying, ‘If people suffer, it might turn them to God. So maybe they better suffer. It’ll be worth it if they get saved.’ So when I tried to feel compassion, or to pray for the needs of sufferers, there was all this static interference. My prayers were only ever half-hearted at best.

It wasn’t until I started learning some theology that I found the static clearing up, and my thoughts were able to clarify. I found this other small voice of conscience, under there all the time!

These days I feel amazed at all the arguments I used to justify a lifestyle of indifference to the poor and needy, while still trying to follow Jesus! Dah!!

Now when I hear my fellow evangelicals trotting out those old arguments, I think to myself, “Static….static…”

So what was it that rehabilitated me? Simple: it was, as I said before, theology. Not a popular answer I know, but I can’t help that. That’s how it was.

Ok, so what’s the theology that blew my half-baked self-justifying arguments out of the water, and made space for me to care? The word of clarity that cut through all my rhetoric, and made me shut up and think again?

Here it is. I’m afraid it’s got a couple of theology words in it, but I think you’ll get what it’s saying even ignoring them.

To see it, click here.

From → General

4 Comments
  1. Charles Ellis permalink

    Hey Jonno, great essay mate. Found it a really useful read. It was only yesterday that we were looking at John 13. Jesus showed pretty humble, practical, and impartial love by washing the feet of all the disciples (including Judas, who He knew was about to betary Him to death). I think another 2 verses there support the beautiful conclusions you’ve made. ‘A new comman I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 12:34-35). Whether you limit this statement to loving just your fellow believers, or extend to your unbelieving neighbours as well, Jesus makes it clear that people will know Christ through things like feet washing! That’s a pretty cool sermon!

    Charlie

    • Thanks for the feedback, Charlie. I think those verses from John 12 are spot on: the disciples’ witness is in word and deed. Both vital.

      Do you think evangelicals are recovering this perspective at all, or is it still word ministry all the way?

      Nice to hear from someone else who gets excited about what they read in Scripture, too. You guys are an inspiration to me in so many ways!

  2. Jon, you know I too believe what you are saying here. Only one disagreement – I don’t think it needs theology to establish, but a plain reading of the gospels. : )

    • Thanks Eric,

      The way I see things, there’s not that much difference between what I call ‘theology’ and what you call ‘a plain reading of the gospels’!

      Give me more of that plain reading…

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