The simplicity of the Gospel
A friend shared a conversation she had recently with a co-worker.
It involved a decision by the co-workers church to only focus on the basic, simple things. One of the things she explained that did not survive the simplicity cut was the virgin birth.
The reason she gave,
“it’s just too hard for people to believe or understand. We think a better explanation is Mary wasn’t literally a virgin but a young girl.”
Much like the Renaissance of the 1300’s we have entered a new period of enlightenment. This period is identified as post-modern and it is defined in part by truth being relative to time, culture or the situation of the individual.
And sadly as evidenced by the statement concerning the virgin Mary for some in the postmodern 21st century church one of the primary targets is what my pastor would refer to as “the main things being the plain things.”
The simplicity of the gospel.
Jesus born to a virgin.
Jesus fully God-fully man
Jesus died on the cross
Jesus rose again on the 3rd day
Jesus is alive
Jesus will come again.
It is not possible to understand these truths with human reasoning or intellect no matter how brilliant, learned, or enlightened we might become. It will always be a struggle to comprehend what cannot be explained with our finite understanding.
And when we cannot understand we devise explanations that will fit our understanding or view.
The virgin was really a young girl.
Jesus was a great teacher and prophet but not God
And so on…..
Unbelievers in their natural state of mind cannot receive these spiritual matters as truth. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
But for those who have been enlightened to deny these plain things, the simplicity of the Gospel there is no excuse.
If we allow ourselves to be tempted to do so we have a 21st century version of a conversation that began in the garden in Genesis 3. “Did God really say?”, and we know where that leads.
All of our understanding of this life and the one to come begins with acceptance of these “plain things”. They are given in a way that anyone who chooses to accept them can.
And when it is difficult to believe (and sometimes it is) we can follow the example of the man in Mark 9:17-24 whose son has been in torment.
In answer to the man’s question “if you can help?”, Jesus replied, “If I can? All things are possible for him who believes!”
In our times of doubt when it’s hard to understand, we can respond as he did, “Lord I believe, help me with my unbelief.”
And He will…
Photo courtesy of Julia McCoy