In American evangelicalism "the gospel" centers entirely around are you going to heaven or hell when you die.

When you read the gospels carefully, that does not seem to be the case at all. "The gospel" in the gospels is not really about where you are going when you die.
Obviously, salvation from hell is something that Jesus accomplishes for His people. That is not in dispute.

But that phrase "the gospel" is used in the gospels in a way we are completely not used to.
When Jesus & His disciples preach "the gospel" in the gospels they don't show up & say "here is your free ticket out of Hell."

They are announcing that the kingdom of God has arrived.

American evangelicals reduce that to shorthand for "ask Jesus into your heart & go to heaven."
But that is not the meaning of "the kingdom of God is at hand."

We seem to think that Jews and God-fearing Gentiles had no expectation of forgiveness of sins in the Old Covenant.

That is probably where most of our misunderstanding is born.
There was a way to deal with sin and fellowship with God in the Old Covenant. It was costly and bloody, but there was a way. That way was open to Gentiles as well.

Jesus coming did not change that closed to open, access went from very limited and difficult to wide open.
So the preaching of "the kingdom of heaven at hand" didn't change those things.

What it changed was the entire setup of the world in the Old Covenant to the New and Israel's place within that system.
God's kingdom was arriving, the King was arriving with his kingdom, and the entire world system was being recreated.

We don't realize it, but the Old Covenant was not just for Israel but all the nations. All of them were under an Old Covenant.
The other nations were not explicitly bound to the Mosaic system, obviously, but there were bound to "elemental principals of the world" nonetheless.

The coming of God's kingdom creates a new world where none of that exists.
And for Israel, the coming of God's kingdom is particularly good news to those who are oppressed and manipulated by the leaders of Israel.
It should be easy for people to sympathize with those burdened by a cynical religious elite, btw.
But for Israel, the preaching of "the gospel" in the gospels takes on even more meaning. Israel is an old wine skin that new wine will be poured into.

Israel is a seed that is going to go into the ground to die to bear fruit.
It has a double-meaning, of course, Jesus as Israel will voluntarily go to His death to bring about the salvation of the world, and Israel rebels against the arrival of God's kingdom and from this rejection the gospel is preached to all the nations of the world.
That is essentially the point of the Book of Romans. Israel had to reject Jesus for the gospel to the world (and Paul defends God's justice in doing it that way).
So many people get freaked out by "blasphemy against the Son will be forgiven, but not blasphemy against the Spirit."

"What if I committed the unpardonable sin!?"

I have good news.

That verse is not about you. It is about First Century Israel.
Israel blasphemed the Son by murdering Him. He asks for them to be forgiven and many are! When? At Pentecost, thousands of Jews repent.

But for the next 40 years the majority continue to blaspheme the Spirit, too.

Until (a) Judgment Day came:
Israel's rejection of Jesus and then His Spirit-led Bride is the backdrop of the preaching of "the gospel" in the gospels.

The kingdom of God has arrived, a new world in a very real way has been created. This world has been liberated. Join its Liberator.
In our gnosticish attitude, we fail to comprehend that the gospel is the kingdom of God arriving in *this* world and transforming it, and instead we think "ah this world is gonna burn, I belong in heaven."

That attitude is totally foreign to the gospels.
Jesus and the Apostles preach that the kingdom is arriving *here.* And that there are flesh and blood consequences for rejecting it.

If the whole point was "this world is not your home," there would be no warnings about Israel's impending doom.

It would be 100% Hell avoidance.
These are some of the things still on my mind this morning, after preaching on Matthew 10 yesterday.

If you find them interesting you can listen here.

I will continue to elaborate upon these ideas as we go through the first gospel.

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More from @BonifaceOption

3 Mar
The fact I can find multiple illustrated versions of The Illiad that look like this but the “best” illustrated Bibles are barely any better than Precious Moments has far more explanatory power regarding contemporary Christianity than anything I can articulate.
MY KINGDOM FOR AN ILLUSTRATED Book of Judges THAT SHOWS THE FÆCES ERUPT FROM CORPULENT EGLON WHEN THE SWORD RIPS OPEN HIS PORCINE BELLY.
What exactly *would* an artist’s rendition of Abimelech’s head getting crushed by a millstone look like?
Read 4 tweets
2 Mar
A common theme that I constantly return to is that the age we live in is one of profound loneliness, isolation, atomization, alienation, and despair.

I don't think I can emphasize this enough.
You would have to be EXTREMELY naive to believe these circumstances exist by accident.

All of this has been socially engineered since the early 20th C.

I am not gonna footnote it all here, but these people wrote about their designs right out in the open.
This tweet is funny; and this is because it is barely an exaggeration.

Human beings were not designed to live this way.

Read 19 tweets
12 Jan
I say this without a shred of hyperbole: nearly all the problems of contemporary Christendom can be traced back to a defective view of worship.

Even most of the best churches, that otherwise seriously believe the Bible, don't pay attention to what it says about worship.
What the contemporary church believes worship is for:

Evangelism
Outreach
Marketing
Entertainment
TEDtalks w/Bible verses
Theology lectures
Impressive rock concerts
What the Bible says worship is for:

God's people gathering before His presence
God renewing His covenant relationship with His people
God's people receiving grace from Him
God's people responding with praise
God's people returning a portion of the grace He has given
Read 13 tweets
11 Jan
The problem with pastoral ministry is that it often selects for men who are both not very good leaders and conflict averse.
What I mean is:

Start out with early-20-something men who have an interest in theological studies.

That already is a very narrow pool, and already the overwhelming majority of them would be described as “bookish” if we are being unbelievably charitable.
Next:

Load them down with tens of thousands of dollars of debt for skills and a degree that limit their career prospects to a singular vocation and almost literally nothing else.
Read 5 tweets
9 Jan
I preached last Sunday about going the extra mile (which is about foreign occupiers humiliating you).

I said we do not know what it is like to live under occupation.

Well, you had now better start getting used to it.

Jesus's command is very applicable to our situation.
We want to remove our enemies by force. Sometimes there is a time for that.

But you saw how well that worked out on Wednesday.

Our battles are fought by different means but they are no less battles.
My main point was that Jesus was expressly *not* commanding pacifism.

He is the Word-Made-Flesh, including "A time to kill…" (Ecc. 3:3) made flesh.

Our battle now is to bear the humiliation that is coming for us, that our enemies deserve.
Read 4 tweets
2 Dec 20
lol nearly every instance of newsworthy “racism” is either totally made up by the “victim” (Smollett, Alethia Bernstein) or a misunderstanding brought on by those pathologized by antiracism into being terrified of things like garage door pulls and overhead projector covers.
Meanwhile, antiracists burned down billions of dollars worth of cities and attacked and murdered people because a man overdosed on fentanyl in police custody and a female drug dealer got in a shootout with police.
Even more ironically is we are chastised by Evangelilibs for believing “conspiracy theories” like elite child sex abuse or an election we witnessed get stolen in real time, “because God cares about truth,” but they won’t bother to challenge the shaky Floyd or Taylor narratives 🤔
Read 4 tweets

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