Which Gospel?

“Sounds like you’re following a social-justice gospel.”

I was talking about the FREEDOM TOUR and my experience with cycling and faith. I said “cycling for a cause” can be a great way to explore and deepen one’s faith in Jesus. Got some interesting dialogue, including this curious comment about a social-justice gospel.

Sounds a bit dismissive, but after some further discussion I understood the concern. He sees some folks drawing a small circle around Jesus, reducing Him to a glorified community organizer. For these folks, faith is *only* about social activism.

I agree with my friend’s concern. We ought to resist the temptation to constrain Jesus and put Him in a box that addresses our preferences. There’s no social justice gospel. No political gospel. No business gospel. No personal gospel.

There’s no “church gospel,” either. That’s another “small gospel” with lots of followers. Folks attracted to the church gospel attend services faithfully, join bible studies, and are part of a small group. They do all this church stuff, but it mostly happens in a closed loop and rarely translates into any sort of community impact. No effort to seek justice, to do anything to set things right.

There’s one gospel, the good news of Jesus. And that gospel impacts every aspect of life. Jesus cares about bible studies. And politics, and business, and social justice.

I do it and I’ll bet you do, too. We co-opt our minimized version of Jesus into our pet perspective. We become myopic and forget that He cares for every part of His creation just as He cares for every part of our lives. We’re sure we see the right priorities and the best way forward.

When I do that, I think everyone should ride a bike and support our kids. I forget that Jesus nudges each of us to use our individual gifts in unique ways. I forget to simply do my best at whatever’s in front of me – and trust God for the outcome.

One can definitely explore and deepen one’s faith in Jesus by cycling for a cause and standing for social justice. Or by building a business or being a great employee or a great parent.

Doing what you love…with love, and trust God for the outcome. That’s all.

I don’t preach a social gospel; I preach the gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, ‘Now is that political or social?’ He said, ‘I feed you.’ Because the Good News to a hungry person is bread.

Bishop Desmond Tutu

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