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The Bridge Illustration: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone? 2

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A few posts ago, I proposed that the way we evangelicals speak about and practice salvation forms us for moral duplicity, for moral schizophrenia, for believing one thing and doing another. Among other things, I said:1.) Our way of salvation has no account of what happens with desire. Therefore our desires are left untouched by our salvation.
2.) We have separated justification from sanctification, something I called the Lutheranizing of our soteriology (this got some comments over at the much beloved blog: the Boar’s Nest – my response to that is that I was not blaming Luther himself, who was living at a different place and time. Rather I was referring to the ways we evangelicals took later developments in Lutheran theology and crassly made salvation all about justification by faith in separation from sanctification. To me, this is so patently obvious that I still believe I need take no additional space to defend myself on this).
3.) This development opened us up to make salvation a transaction between two individual entities (God and humanity) as opposed to the participation of me, a human creature, in the work of God to restore the whole of creation to Himself out of which I as individual am also justified, renewed and reconciled to God.
4.) As a result, we are left passive, to receive God’s great salvation is Christ almost as consumers. All of this works to separate our newfound salvific status in Christ from the outworking of a life lived as doxology to God in Missio Dei.
If any of this is not making sense, please read the prior post where I might have done a better job explaining all this. I closed that last post by saying that the classic Bridge illustration “illustrates” (no pun intended) some of these problems. Here’s why.

The Bridge Illustration I think illustrates some of these problems with our ways of initiation.

First, the Bridge constructs a “contractual” transaction. We recognize our “need.” We receive Christ as the “solution.” Then the “benefit” of this salvation is described. Then there is an individual decision to “believe.” At the conclusion, we pray this prayer which guarantees me of eternal life. Recent versions construct the need in terms of our broken relationship with God and the solution as a birth into a new relationship with God. This version of the Bridge has significantly improved prior versions like this. Nonetheless, it still has its patented “If you’ve prayed this prayer and are trusting Christ, then the Bible says that you can be sure you have eternal life.”

What’s wrong with the Bridge’s “transaction” approach? It has the effect of initiating the unbeliever into a salvation “for me” in the worst sense of those words. For in a consumerist society, the words “for me” can longer mean what they meant when Paul spoke them or Luther spoke them. Consumerist society has trained all of us to think, feel and breathe all things as products to be consumed “for me.” Jesus, Son of God, very God, has been reduced to an object to be used for some benefit. At this point this simply is no longer a salvation recognizable by Paul, Luther or the Christian church.

Granted, what the Bridge says is true. Yet it has abstracted this truth from the story, which makes it into a consumable. This is what Guder refers to as the constant temptation towards reductionism in the missiological efforts of the church. The church as a result must be continually converted. To me, it is safe to say, that time has already long since arrived.

Second, the Bridge separates justification from sanctification. Although improvements have been made in the recent versions of the Bridge, salvation is still considered static! The plus in recent versions of the Bridge has been that salvation is articulated in terms of one’s relationship with God as opposed to the singular penal transaction so common before. Nonetheless, it remains individualized and static. The problem is separation from God. The solution is “bridging the gap” to God through accepting the cross’s payment. This makes the relationship with God static, you either have it or you don’t.

The effect of this static account of salvation is to separate life with God from the moment of conversion. After praying the prayer, we now have the relationship as if it is already accomplished. The relationship we have with God is like this Thing. And the directions we are asked to follow on how to live the Christian life appear to be hollow individual exercises that hopefully keep you on the right path. They are not written as invitations into an endless expansive life with God and His Mission.

Last, the Bridge Illustration takes no account for what happens to desire. To me this is the most condemning problem of all with the Bridge. It is like once we accept Christ’s provision for sin and the separation from God, desire takes care of itself. We are now told to read the Bible as intake, talk to God in prayer, tell others about our new found faith and go to church and serve. These all appear to be individual exercises, which can easily turn into legalistic works to secure a life after conversion. But unless the re-formation of desire is addressed, these directions for life after conversion inevitably produce failed Christian life and moral duplicity.

At our church, the pastors and leadership have started a conversation on this issue. WE NEED NEW WAYS OF INITIATING STRANGERS INTO THE GOSPEL THAT TRAIN THEM INTO BEING PARTICIPANTS IN GOD’S MISSON AS OPPOSED TO CONSUMERS OF THE GOSPEL. WE NEED A WAY OF INVITING PEOPLE INTO THE COSMIC RECONCILIATION THAT GOD IS WORKING THROUGH JESUS CHRIST (not just a transaction), WE NEED WAYS OF IMAGINING THE ONGOING LIFE WITH GOD THAT IS MORE THAN ONE’S PERSONAL PIETY (although it must include that as well). WE NEED COMMUNITIES OF THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES for new converts to be invited into THE RE-ORDERING OF ONE’S BODY (soul and spirit) INTO THE GLORY OF GOD THE CREATOR AND REDEEMER.

On the next post, I hope to discuss my initial thoughts on this as well as what other people are coming up with as well. In the meantime, Do you think I’m overly critical of the Bridge? Which criticism has the most merit in your experience? I could tell you endless stories of people converted through the Bridge at large church, mega church or evangelistic events who simply cannot cross the line towards life in God (and His Mission). Or who struggle endlessly with the issues of re-formation of desire. Does that resonate with your experiences?

Peace

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30 responses to “The Bridge Illustration: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone? 2

  1. DUDE!
    I know you’re busy, but proofread a little bit. You’ve got at least half a dozen stupid little typos.

    The worst is in your grand finale/conclusion, where you say, “WE NEED WAYS OF INITIATING STRANGERS INTO THE GOSPEL THAT DO NOT TRAIN THEM INTO THE MISSION…”

    It’s just goofy, Dave. C’mon.

  2. David-

    We have talking at my church, Blacksoil, about this exact same problem for more than a year. I feel a huge sense of urgency in developing a new teaching tool for proclaiming good news to people in po-mo, consumer context.

    The intitial forays I’ve made have either been too complicated/academic for the “lay” people at Blacksoil, or they have seemed too distant from the biblical message to be satisfying. E.g., Brian McLaren’s suggestion of “the dream of God” to replace the kingdom of God.

    I would love to hear what you are your team come up with and continue in dialogue with you about it.

    One attempt you might want to be aware of is James Choung’s model at http://www.jameschoung.net/articles/ but it would definitely need some simplification.

  3. Mikey … heh heh heh … Ok, Ok … it was rough. (but grace dude eh?) If you only knew … anyways … I did a quick edit, I hope it’s easier to read. Hopefully my academic standards committee won’t write me up for that one. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Jeremy, I’ved looked at James’ video. I hope to comment on it. What did you think?

  4. as a pastor of a campus church where we used to crank out these “transactions” of people being reconciled to God through the use of the bridge diagram, i can give a hearty Amen to concerns you raise. i’ve seen those firsthand, and our community has been wrestling through these issues for the past couple of years. i’m not sure we’ve come up with any solutions, yet i believe the solutions are deeply important for us to continue on in our mission. evangelism is important, and yet it is not as simple and straightforward as i and many others i know once believed. when the bridge diagram is taken away, something must take it’s place. i’m just not sure what that is. i’m eager to hear more.

  5. Jeesh. Just for once I’d love it if you could write something that I disagreed with (well, I guess we do disagree about whether mission comes before worship…but I digress).

    I think your second point is likely to get you into the most hot water. Some folks really really love having their justification neatly distinct from sanctification. Personally, I’m not convinced that there is much meaningful distinction at all.

    For me, the worst thing about “the bridge” is its transactional nature. It has always seemed odd to me that the same group of people who talk so much about having a “personal relationship with Jesus” are the most in love with a formulaic approach to salvation. The bridge diagram falls short because it is unromantic. It fails to show me what it means to know God. It encourages a “hurry up and die” approach to reading the Gospels.

    The Bridge diagram marginalizes Jesus. He becomes a necessary scapegoat rather than the One who proclaims to us a new Way.

  6. as a pastor of a campus church where we used to crank out these “transactions” of people being reconciled to God through the use of the bridge diagram, i can give a hearty Amen to concerns you raise. i’ve seen those firsthand, and our community has been wrestling through these issues for the past couple of years. i’m not sure we’ve come up with any solutions, yet i believe the solutions are deeply important for us to continue on in our mission. evangelism is important, and yet it is not as simple and straightforward as i and many others i know once believed. when the bridge diagram is taken away, something must take it’s place. i’m just not sure what that is. i’m eager to hear more.

  7. I am glad you are continuing this conversation. I serve a large church that uses this illustration at our welcome class every month. So with some nervousness I brought up your previous post at our lunch roundtable today. We had a great conversation.

    It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about what essential truths we want to people to understand and how the metaphors we use shape the people that we become.

    I can’t share all of the conversation but I will share our winner. Since we mainly talked about images from scripture, we discussed slavery/freedom, alien/citizen, besieged/rescued (like my comment from the last blog post.) But our winner was the image of adoption.

    We were once cut off from the family of God and now God-through-Christ has included us in the family of God. This resonates with the felt tensions of our people who are largely disconnected from meaningful familial relationships and by focusing on becoming children of God we have a metaphor that includes notions of followership (learning from our big brother) unity (we are not autonomous individuals but a family). Adoptions may also balance the event aspects of the salvation experience with the ongoingness of being part of the family.

    I am particularly excited about the automatic implications for discipleship. I am not sitting safely on the other side of the bridge. I am instead joining a family that has expectations and obligations on its members.

    This has gotten long so I will cut it off but perhaps this metaphor is sufficiently universal that it might be easy to use and avoid some of the pitfalls of the bridge illustration.

    Nevertheless it probably is true that this is an area in which we are glad to have a quiver with many arrows.

  8. I am glad you are continuing this conversation. I serve a large church that uses this illustration at our welcome class every month. So with some nervousness I brought up your previous post at our lunch roundtable today. We had a great conversation.

    It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about what essential truths we want to people to understand and how the metaphors we use shape the people that we become.

    I can’t share all of the conversation but I will share our winner. Since we mainly talked about images from scripture, we discussed slavery/freedom, alien/citizen, besieged/rescued (like my comment from the last blog post.) But our winner was the image of adoption.

    We were once cut off from the family of God and now God-through-Christ has included us in the family of God. This resonates with the felt tensions of our people who are largely disconnected from meaningful familial relationships and by focusing on becoming children of God we have a metaphor that includes notions of followership (learning from our big brother) unity (we are not autonomous individuals but a family). Adoptions may also balance the event aspects of the salvation experience with the ongoingness of being part of the family.

    I am particularly excited about the automatic implications for discipleship. I am not sitting safely on the other side of the bridge. I am instead joining a family that has expectations and obligations on its members.

    This has gotten long so I will cut it off but perhaps this metaphor is sufficiently universal that it might be easy to use and avoid some of the pitfalls of the bridge illustration.

    Nevertheless it probably is true that this is an area in which we are glad to have a quiver with many arrows.

  9. I think maybe we are trying to make the bridge illustration do to much. To me the bridge illustration is a simple way to show that people are far from God and they need the cross of Christ to bring them near.

    The concerns raised are valid, but I think that is where more in depth teaching comes into play.

    I don’t think you are going to find a quick drawing that will express all of the depth you are looking for.

  10. I love Guder’s thoughts that you allude to, but at the same time, I somewhat agree with travis above me. The “bridge” is a reduction–but it served a purpose and people have come to know God more intimately through it (although, not as intimately as we would like). All diagrams are going to need a little fleshing out in life and conversation. It’s a conceptual tool, not a personal mentor.

    Now, with that said, I think I agree with you, that “desire” remains on accounted for is the biggest farce of it all. Coming from a holiness-Wesleyan background, I see it as being illegitimate to address our “sin nature” as well (which ultimately gets down to the sanctification aspect of faith).

    David, I think this is a great conversation to be having! I will say, though, that I think many of your points are connected to a deep disconnect from modern evangelicalism in general, rather than just the model. The model has a place, although maybe not a large one. Your critique is aimed at more than just the bridge. (Not that that is bad thing, just clarifying here).

  11. I agree with you, Ethan, about adoption being the better image. It brings folks into a family arena in which no one is an island, but all are part of the family and have both times of need and times of service for others. Where each one has chores that benefit all but also has responsibility for growing up and becoming more mature — an area where the whole desire thing comes into play.

    I have come to be convinced that God’s greatest attribute in his restraint, and this has been of immense help in the realm of desire. As we mature, we learn that we do not always get what we want when we want it. In fact, we learn that we are called to restrain our desires in order to be able to love God and love others and have their best interests at heart.

    As we learn that we are all to be loving God and loving others at all times, then we realize that there will be those who are loving us in the mix, just as we are loving others. When the Body functions in this holistic manner, all true needs are being addressed.

    Grace to you, Dave, is the midst of your typos crisis, brother ;^)

  12. Dave,

    I think I hear you saying that justification is just as much a process as is sanctification, i.e. a lifelong one. That’s an essentially Catholic view. So are you going Catholic or something? If so, you could just say so and free yourself from the agony of trying to make a square peg (your view) fit into a round hole (Protestantism).

    Respectfully,

    Matt

  13. Thanks for the feedback. This issue is important to me.
    Ethan, your suggestions are provoking – slavery /freedom, alien/citizen, besieged/rescued…

    The u post from Dwight provokes great questions.Thanks Bill.

    About the comments as to whether I remain an evangelical? Yes. Wesley had anglo catholic liturgical aspects to his theology and was an evangelical eh?

  14. I’m not sure how liturgy, in the strictest sense, is synonymous (or anywhere close) to soteriology, so I’m not quite sure that your response really answers my question. If you’re essentially saying you don’t believe in the certain perseverance of the saints, then OK, you’re an Arminian. I’m not a strict Calvinist (though a Baptist), so I don’t use that label derogatorily.

    I do think, though, that you draw some hasty conclusions about people who believe in the chronological, three-fold process of justification, sanctification, glorification. You portray it as if all, or the majority, of people who firmly believe that justification was a one-time judicial verdict consequently live licentious, self-centered lives. You couldn’t be more wrong, and that is as absolute and verifiable a fact as can be. I’m proof of it, for one. And I’m around people constantly at Trinity who are three-fold soteriologists who are fiercely devoted to the missio Dei, as am I.

    The answer I always give to people who make the claim that the “once saved, always saved” doctrine leads to antinomianism is that people who are genuinely, absolutely justified and born again, will conduct their lives in such a way that it pleases God and serves others for His sake. They just will (Scripture repeatedly asserts that those who continue in their former self-idolatries will not inherit the Kingdom). And you’re right that those people who “come to Christ” only for selfish motives, i.e. a ticket to heaven, will certainly burn in hell. But it is a false dichotomy to divorce “hedonism” (as Piper has so rigorously argued) from a God-centered, other-focused life. Indeed, if you divorce them, you get neither. Perhaps you insinuated this in your plea for greater emphasis on desire in conversion, but that seemed to be an obscure and unconnected side-note to your larger claim that we cease speaking of conversion/regeneration (which I view as synonymous and concurring) as a one-time event. Please correct any misperceptions I may be having.

    Grace,

    Matt

  15. David,

    Having been a Campus Crusade guy for a decade, and now a pastor in a post-Christian city, I have very mixed feelings about this discussion.

    I really resonate with many of your concerns and passions, David. I love your thoughtfulness and passion for the Bride of Christ. But I must comment on areas where I demur from your critique.

    In one sense I agree with you that the Bridge – and we can throw in the Four Laws, Two Ways to Live tracts, etc – all are. at best, Cliff Notes versions of the gospel. So is Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Acts 17, which says little about the missio dei but focusses on repentance and turning to Jesus from the worship of the unknown god. Same with Peter’s sermons in Acts 2, or 3 – they all are incomplete presentations of the gospel.

    So I really struggle with this kind of criticism – ANY evangelistic piece is and will always be subject to this criticism. You simply cannot say everything about something as wide and deep as the gospel at one time. Try writing a tract that is simple and clear – and you will find you have the same shortcomings! I tried a few times, and I can tell you that you cannot say everything when you try to say anything.

    Secondly, your comments about the individualistic, transactional nature of salvation promoted by these tracts is true, but needs some context. I have used similar tools over many years, and they do not seem to bear fruit in people who are unschooled in Christianity.

    But they DO work with people who have been witnessed to, in word and deed, by Christians, and are at a point where they are prepared spiritually to really engage the gospel. At that moment, the gospel IS personal. The requirement of the gospel IS individual repentance – no one else can do it for you. And these tools are, when a person is really under the drawing influence of the Holy Spirit, very clear, helpful, simple tools that help them understand justification, and what they need to do – repent and believe. So the tool is unhelpful in some contexts, I agree- but really effective in others.

    I had an attorney come into our community, do mercy and justice ministry, and sit under our Sunday teaching for 8 months before being led to confess Christ; but at the point of real conviction, tears, repentance – a simple, clear presentation was very helpful in initiating the journey of faith. Because at the moment of personal conviction and drawing of the Spirit, it is personal and individual, and it is about justification; her comment was ” I NEED his forgiveness; how can I be sure I have it?’

    So I feel your criticism is valid, but only if you take the Bridge to be doing what it was never meant to do – sum up the whole of the Christian life. It is a specific tool for a specific season in a person’s journey of faith. And in that, it is clear, helpful, and empowering to people who otherwise are too insecure to share their faith and help people understand the basics of the gospel.

    Finally, as to your comment on the passive nature of the transaction, this is where Luther surely got it right and we need to stay firmly Lutheran. THE distinction between evangelical and Roman Catholic or Orthodox understandings of salvation is this: how do you receive the pardon and grace of God – by His grace alone, or by participating with his grace in our works?

    Luther’s soaring and enduring gift to the church is that we receive this righteousness from God passively; we merely accept it by faith, as the ground accepts the rain from heaven. God gives his grace freely, without requiring (thank God!) anything from us. We accept it by faith alone – passively – and do not add any of our own moral efforts to it. That is the essence of the gospel.

    And I have a final, personal note on this: the free-ness of my justification has become the deepest, most joyful cornerstone of my sanctification. When I sin, and am discouraged and in despair, I look again to the Cross, and see that my sin is covered, washed away, cleansed, GONE – not because of what I did but no, oh no, thank God no, because of HIs righteous, free, loving, gracious, massively satisfying work on the Cross for me.

    The beginning, the middle and the end of my sanctification is placed squarely in the free work of Christ as my Sin offering, my high priest, my heavenly intercessor, my loving advocate, my reigning Substitute-King. That He who is so high, could stoop so low and endure so much for me – words fail. Words fail. Great is his grace to me, my friend. And in that grace, I find the love, and the desire, to live for Him without fear, or shame, or guilt, or duty. My sanctification is fueled daily by meditation on the free, personal, justifying act of the Cross and the Jesus that the Bridge describes.

    So I implore you to see the Bridge for its beauty and simple effectiveness in doing what it is designed to do: draw seeking sinners to a clear understanding of how to be reconciled to God.

    Under much grace and gratitude,

    Dan

  16. Dave,

    How fundamentalist of me to offer critique without affirmation. Please accept my apology. I deeply agree with you on a number of points:

    1. The Reformed doctrine of total and utter passivity (irresistible grace, unconditional election) is a recipe for the disaster when presented as such to a non-believer (believers can rejoice in this doctrine because “they’re in”, but I find it insurmountably difficult to rejoice in it when I consider that it could be God’s will that billions of lost sheep never have opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus no opportunity to be saved).

    2. The “white-knuckled military approach” you described in your first post is repulsive, because it divorces desire from both conversion and discipleship. You’re right on target about this.

    3. The Good News is not only that we can be justified (which is what evangelicals like myself typically mean when they say “saved”), but that God will remain with us always, and that through us He will reconcile others to Himself, as well as to one another. It’s not just Good News for me, but for the world, indeed all of creation. (One caveat would be that it is not necessary to be amillenial to avoid viewing the temporal and physical as inconsequential. They are necessary means to spiritual ends, both now and forever, though there will likely be an element of physicality in eternity. Ultimately, regardless of what happens on earth, God will make all of redeemed creation perfect, physically, morally, spiritually, and in every other way.)

    Regarding the bridge illustration in general (which I never quite commented on), I like what was previously said (quoting McKnight) about the golf bag. Illustrations, while always incomplete, are important tools for understanding, but we need a multiplicity and variety, both for doctrinal nuance and differences in the people we are conversing with. Anytime we approach people interpersonally with predetermined discourses and highly developed techniques, we cease engaging with them as humans. The Bridge is only one of many such techniques, all of which ultimately fall short of the mark of effective evangelism because of their methodological presuppositions.

    I would argue that the biggest reason “Christians” do not take up their crosses and follow Jesus into His mission is that they accept Him only as savior and not also as Lord. We evangelicals are shamefully guilty of offering an incomplete presentation of what it means to become a child of God and member of the Body of Christ. The call to Christ is inherently a call to suffer in sacrificial service to mankind in the name of Christ, to the glory of God (but, again, motivated by past, present, and anticipated joy!).

    So perhaps we’re a lot closer than I originally let on. But I worry (a lot) when we start fudging on the doctrine of justification, making it into a lifelong process. It’s certainly not necessary to do so from any pragmatic standpoint, as if that were a valid enough reason to begin with.

    🙂

    Peace,

    Matt

  17. thanks for the post, i found it helpful and i agree with the problems you pose with the bridge model. another problem i have is this:

    justification becomes the entire gospel. sanctification is optional (as you said above) and there is no talk about the Kingdom of God here on earth. (if the good news is only Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, i always wondered how Jesus could tell people to believe in the “good news” before he died on the cross)

    i imagine that re-introducing people to the kingdom of god here on earth will help to change peoples perspectives on what it means to be a christian (not just passive transactions, but apart of God’s mission moving in this world). thanks again for the post, i found it helpful to think through this

  18. These are some mighty long comments. So all I can really do is address a few things.
    Dan … I essntially agree with you, it was inherent in my post. The evangelistic effort of the church inevitably leads to reductionist accounts of the gospel. This was Guder’s point I alluded to. I’m with you on that. And I agree, that the Bridge makes sense within a context, a context I see as dwindling away thereby endangering “the decision” in terms of it becoming an isolated decision made for consumerist reasons. The passive thing is more a Calvinist issue (again not Calvin… but those who followed and extended his theology), but it appears you addressed that in your most recent comment. Thanks for the engagment, excellent thoughts!
    As for Matt, I am a little confused by your post. What I was trying to say is that more sacramentalist views of sanctification (which encompass a more liturgical understanding of life in general)should not exclude me from being an evangelical.In fact, I can be charismatic Anglican and be an evangelical. Whatever the case, I believe I am staying firmly within evangelicalism.
    Peace, DF

  19. David,
    Thanks for your gracious response. I agree with you that we need, as evangelicals, to re-infuse a sacramentalist approach to sanctification to balance the overly pietistic, individualist views of sanctification that currently rule the evangelical world.

    The concern, of course, is with sacramentalist views of justification, which prompted the Reformation in the first place. Jesus gave us the sacraments to nourish our souls by giving us physical vivid, tactile signs of His redeeming work. But He never meant those signs to cloud the free-ness of His grace.

    So when sacraments point us to the Cross where our sins were covered by the sufficient work of Jesus, they clarify and bless. When the sacraments are taught as ways to approach God and meet Him ‘half-way,’ as my Catholic teachers taught me growing up, they muddy the waters and make the gospel unclear.

    How, exactly, do we merit God’s favour under this second scheme? What is enough working and doing? Where is the line? Where is ‘half way’? These things dogged me for years. The sacraments turned from being grace-highlighting food for my insecure soul, to necessary hoops to jump through to (hopefully) do enough for God.

    I think we as evangelicals are tired of so much that we have inherited from our previous generations, that we are tempted to throw the whole thing away and start again. I think we ought to resist that temptation. The forensic doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Jesus, who became sin on my behalf, that in Him I might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5: 21), is the great cornerstone of the gospel. Many have fought for it and died for it. Millions, tens of millions, have been freed from sin by it, and cherish it to the depth of their souls.

    Many have, it is true, abused it. But so, too, every doctrine of the faith has been abused: holiness, grace, faith, healing, baptism, all the cardinal doctrines of our faith have been, are being, and will be abused. There are barnacles that have grown up on the gospel that distort its’ beauty to our generation.

    But I think it is every generation’s calling to scrub off the barnacles that have encrusted and distorted the gospel to our world, and to show the beauty and simplicity of the grace of Christ anew to each generation.

    Thanks for your efforts to do just that.

    Dan

  20. Dave,

    ignore the comment on our typos; if it is understood so be it; I use two fingers typing mehod and my typos are a legion.

    as for the bridge, how does it work in /Brazil(where I’m from, China, or for that matter anywhere in this world?

    Caleb Rosado of Eastern has an interesting paper on Quantum Physics and Urban Transformation and some great nuggets of tuth about context defining content.

    Just finished N.T.Wright’s book on Paul and he also has some wonderful perspectives; evangelicals need to shatter their paradigns if thy want to be effecive and helping fellow human beings connect to God;

    That’s all I’m saying…

  21. In your discussions at church I would recommend examining the catechesis of the patristic church, i.e., the catechumenate. You might find The Shape of Baptism by Kavanaugh and Augustine and the Catechumenate by Harmless helpful.

    Blessings!

  22. Another great post David, and some great discussion here also. I’m particularly interest in the outcome of some of this for your own community in a missional order. We have now drafted own rule, built on a document friends are using, and posted yesterday on my blog. The local interest, even in some traditional settings, is surprising.

  23. Hey Dave,

    Yeah, sorry about being so graceless on the typos. Not an excuse, but I was really sick with the flu at the time and I guess the pain was revealing the gaps in my sanctification.

    Regarding the busy-ness: I’m sure I have no idea. Maybe you could do a post on how the western academic model of instruction kills its instructors and in so doing, models a deadly way of life for those under instruction.

    Seriously.

  24. We had some discussions with friends thru e-mail after the first post on this a few weeks ago. I said at the time I’d rather be sitting in a coffee shop and reach for a napkin and draw ‘the bridge’ than have nothing to work with all.

    The question is whether ‘Bridge’ is argumentative/logical (which would be great if talking to a modern) or whether its narrative/allegorical (if talking to a postmodern.) I think there’s elements of both in it, a somewhat timeless (albeit extra-Biblical) quality of illustration that won’t disappear soon.

    The “transactional” question is interesting because when I do a transaction at my ATM, I always get a receipt. The receipt assures me the transaction went through. We don’t hear much about “assurance” in the church today, but I’m sure the element is present in those who are crossing the line of faith, but then asking, “Hey, what just happened?”

    I had the opportunity to pray with a young girl while in the offices of another ministry. I asked them if they had something in print we could give her (a takeaway, something to hold on to, look at, reinforce the steps she’d taken…) but the director said, “We don’t do stuff like that.” At that point I would have given anything to have a ‘Bridge’ booklet despite any shortcomings.

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