*The rest of the book summarizes the “6 Steps” mentioned in the last article.*
“Strengths of the Proposal” (ch. 6, pg. 107-121)
York starts out this chapter talking about how Jesus never changes, but approaches do. How we bring others to Jesus changes with the culture because we have to meet them where they are. One can change their approach without changing the message. He suggests that modernism is what led us to this pattern theology that we hold dear. We can always learn from the past, but that does not make the past right; even if it seems right. He says that our hermeneutic should not revolve around an idea of skill and reasoning, but love and relationship. That is not only the biblical way, but more importantly (John 5), the Jesus way! It is a matter of being changed by grace. Instead of prideful individual interpretation, Scripture demands a community interpretation; asking themselves how this Scripture conforms them to the image of Christ. God, through the grace of the Spirit, writes His will on the hearts of His believers. He commands His people to pray for wisdom from above and not the wisdom of man (James 1). Trusting in His guidance; His Purpose (Rom. 8:28-29).
“Being God’s Child: Event or Process” (ch. 7, pg. 123-141)
This section is reemphasizing things from earlier chapters. He says here that whoever is seeking God has started the process of son-ship (Deut 4:29; Acts 10), and if one is a son then they are saved and in fellowship with the church. He says one can seek Jesus without knowing they are seeking “Jesus.” That would mean that someone started the “seeking” process before he knew a “Jesus” to claim. Jesus is more than a name. It is spelled differently in every language and pronounced differently. But he is saying that it is POSSIBLE for one to seek Jesus by seeking the eternity in their hearts (Ecc 3:11); obeying in the law written on their hearts. And since this is possible, we should remember that God judges the world (1 Cor. 5); and not us (or at least that is how I understood this chapter).
“The Proposal at Work” (ch. 8, pg. 145-169)
“Will religion survive the spiritual boom?” More and more people are spiritual but have nowhere to go. Unless the church goes out to the people who are seeking instead of waiting for seekers to just find them, there will be a lot of people die a spiritual death. We need to get to know people without preconceived notions. We need to build relationships as Jesus built relationships. “The church of the son of man has no place to lay its head.” Why? The true church is active and not passive. We need to build relationships with denominational people so that the Spirit of God will guide both of us to a greater truth. We need to work together to show the love of God to unbelievers and to one another. We need to be social as Jesus was social. We need to be ready for those who call of the name of the Lord.
“So Just Who is My Sister/Brother?” (ch. 9, pg. 171- 199)
Shelly believes in baptism. He says that an unbaptized Christian is not consistent with Scripture. However, he suggests than anyone seeking is saved; or at least in the process of being saved by the grace of God. He says that we are inconsistent in the churches of Christ. He is right about that. This means that the church is made up of humans. We need to be careful to not draw a circle too small. If we err, let us err in grace. Let God do the judging. 1 Corinthians 5 “Do not judge the world” was not a suggestion; it was a command! If an unbaptized person is not a Christian, then they are of the world and God should judge them (as commanded above). If the unbaptized person is a Christian, and the CofC has been wrong in their interpretation of water baptism (like, for example, baptism could be referring to Spirit baptism), then said person is a brother. Either way, as 1 John 4:2 says, if one is accepting of Christ, He has the Spirit of God. Who am I to disagree?
“A Concluding Postscript” (ch. 10, pg. 203-219)
If we are not growing, we are dying. Growing implies pains and experiences. If we are not going through pains and experiences as both individuals and as a movement, then we are dying. Not hurting and not experiencing is peaceful, but dead nonetheless. Life and growth is not always a peaceful thing. In fact, growth and change are a battle for both ourselves and others. Build relationships, trust in His grace, be led by His Spirit. This is the only true way to unity. But this also requires humility, vulnerability, and transparency. Be prepared for conflict, but be prepared to treat it with love. Be like Jesus. We need to reexamine ourselves in a very deep and urgent way as soon as possible. But the extremes that are taken as far as patterns go in this book are too far. We need a Jesus Christ-centered Hermeneutic! The Jesus Proposal! – Jesse
Suggested Reading Before This Article: A Review of “The Jesus Proposal” By Rubel Shelly and John O. York Ch.4-5