Is guilt a necessity?
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
I've started yet another good book (there were other good books along the way, but....) Alan Hirsch and Mark Nelson: "Reframation". The question of reductionism (or 'nothing-buttery' as we used to call it) comes up in the first chapter. The idea that we have reduced people to lost sinners (having forgotten that we were all created in the image of God; and that Genesis begins at chapter 1, not chapter 3) and reducing the gospel to changing 'guilty sinners' into Christians.
I've had a problem with this for years. In the Nazarene church I was proclaiming that we evangelicals are more determined to get people into hell than God is. In my first Methodist circuit (evangelical/charismatic) I gave my testimony and because my testimony contains no guilt and no repentance for that absent guilt, I was told I wasn't saved! I had been a Christian for 16 years and a minister for six years at this point.
These people saw one way to salvation and that was through guilt. I hold to my testimony. I have met many people since then who feel no guilt. Being Gentiles they feel no obligation to obey the Covenant that God made with Israel. Paul would have agreed with them! When writing to the Galatians (mostly Gentiles) he asked: 'Who has bewitched you?' They wanted to start following Old Testament laws (not just circumcision), and Paul was horrified that they should do that. And yet that is how we understand the Gospel today: show them that they have broken God's Law (again, given to Israel, but not the Moabites, the Edomites, the Canaanites, Girgashites, Hittites etc) and then offer them Jesus as the solution to their 'guilt'.
I think we need to read the New Testament again and have a fresh start!