“The Jesus Proposal” addresses perceived problems with both the hermeneutic and the inconsistent practice of said hermeneutic by which the churches of Christ interpret the Holy Scriptures. The writers (Rubel Shelley and John O. York) suggest that since the churches of Christ use an alleged “faulty hermeneutic” that maybe there is a better way of interpreting Scripture. The proposed hermeneutic is a Jesus-centered (also known as “Grace-centered”) approach to the Bible. This article will be a general summary of each chapter of the book as well as my own personal views (including the pros and cons) concerning the ideas suggested in this book.
“God is Not Far From Us” (ch. 1, pg. 11-21)
Growing up, I used to frequently hear “this world is going to hell in a hand-basket!” One of the main reasons for that is our culture has seemingly evolved into a culture of sexual immorality (specifically homosexuality) and a distaste for Jehovah God. There are claims that this culture is worst there has ever been. “The world is on a decline!”
First, I would like to suggest that if we are going to put measurements on the evil in each generation that we be mindful of reality. Crimes of hate (i.e., racism, harsh judgment, etc.) are much “more evil” and hate filled (at least in heart) than crimes of sexual confusion. Both crimes are crimes, however, one is out of ignorance, and the other is a crime straight from a heart that is not godly. However, measurements are not necessary since no one is righteous (Rom. 3:23, 6:23; James 2:10).
Second, percentage wise, there seems to be roughly the same amount of believers as any other time in our Country. Also, because of evangelistic tools like money, fast travel, and media, congregational faithfulness is about the same world-wide as it always has been. Obviously, this not mean that this generation is not sinful, and it does not mean that we should not make a greater effort to be God-centered in our thinking. My point is that people are people. They always have been and always will be.
Lastly, and this is also the point that York and Shelly are making, our culture is not as bad as the first century. It most definitely is not worse off than the first century. However, whether we are speaking of then or now, God has never been far from His creation (Acts 17).
Classic ( or “faith-based”) philosophy wanted to know what was right according to the gods. They relied strictly on divine authority. Modern philosophy relied on time and space to prove what truth and “rightness” was. Post-modernism desires to know why is it right (or truthful). It is metaphysical in nature. “Can something be right for me and not you? Can it change with context?” It longs for unity that surpasses time and space. This can only be achieved by relativism according to post-modern thinkers. Relationship, genuineness, and practical consistency is of primary importance in the post-modern world.
The writer’s primary point throughout this chapter, as well as throughout most of this book, is that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. He is never far from His creation. Post-modern lives matter so we need to see how we can address such people without compromising the Word of Truth. – Jesse
Suggested Reading After Reading This Article: A Review of “The Jesus Proposal” By Rubel Shelly and John O. York Ch. 2
Suggested Reading Before Reading This Series: