Today on my run I listened to a great sermon by Rob Bell from Mars Hill Bible Church which he gave on 08.16.09. In it he stresses the importance of including Gen 1-2 (Creation) and Revelation 21-22 (Restoration) when we tell the story of Jesus. Why is this important? Because, as Bell says, when we leave out Creation and Restoration, it profoundly effects the story we tell.
Another way of saying this (in my words, not Bell’s) is that the Biblical narrative of redemption occurs in 4 chapters (creation, fall, redemption, restoration) but we often hear it told in only 2 (fallen humanity, redemption in christ). While the 2 chapter gospel is most certainly true, it also is limited. When our story of God’s redemption leaves out God’s original good creation (characterized by shalom – universal flourishing, wholeness and delight) , and God’s future restoration of that Good creation (also characterized by shalom) it is an incomplete story.
Why does this matter? Here are a few reasons…
1. A 2-chapter gospel tends to emphasize the individualistic to the detriment of the cosmic scope of the Gospel.
2. A 2-chapter gospel tends to lead to an escapist view of redemption – not heaven coming to earth, the restoration of shalom, but rather the escaping into a disembodied heaven somewhere else
3. A 2-chapter gospel tends to minimize the inherent goodness of vocation in the world–that is except the vocation of full-time church work. If we do not have a proper understanding of Genesis, we will miss out on the co-creative, stewarding, cultural mandate given to people before sin ever entered into the world.
If you get a chance, listen to Rob Bell’s sermon. It is sort-of long (about an hour). But it is worth it. I don’t always get behind what Bell says, but I have to admit… I like what he says in this one and think it is an important message for the church.
Feel free to let me know what you think… leave a comment.