June 5, 2007

Salvation is More Than Four Spiritual Laws...Isn't It?

About a year ago I read by Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller. I was blown away to say the least. Then I readTo Own A Dragon, and again I was blown away. His reflection of growing up without a father was spot on, and help me see myself in a different light.

Be sure to check out this article about him on ChristianityToday.com. But in the meantime, here is a quote about the "Four Spiritual Laws" from Searching for God Knows What:
Millions, perhaps, have come to know Jesus through these efficient presentations of the gospel. But I did begin to wonder if there were better ways of explaining it than these pamphlets. After all, the pamphlets have been around for only the last fifty years or so (along with our formulaic presentation of the gospel), and the church has shrunk, not grown, in Western countries in which these tools have been used. But the greater trouble with these reduced ideas is that modern evangelical culture is so accustomed to this summation that it is difficult for us to see the gospel as anything other than a list of true statements with which a person must agree.
What do you think about this quote? Do formulaic expressions of the Christian faith distract people from the FULL meaning of what it means to live for Jesus? Can becoming a Christian be reduced to only four spiritual laws (steps)? Is becoming a Christian only about having the right intellectual beliefs?


  1. Eric,
    It seems that the quote is only revealing what we already know about modern Western proclomation and distribution of the information of the gospel in order to become aware of the teachings of Jesus. Every church I've ever attended uses all kinds pamphlets, so whats new?

  2. I think the real question is does our presentation of the Gospel affect the way people live it out. If we present the Gospel as 1. Getting into heaven 2. My sins being forgiven 3. Having peace with God. Where does the expectation that the Christian life is something to be lived come into play? The Gospel is not just freedom from sin. It is freedom from sin in order to change the world (expand the Kingdom of God).

  3. Eric,
    The Christian life comes into play daily and from that I mean we all have opportunity daily to expand the Kingdom of God because the main objective of Christianity is the focus of forgiveness, and since we all sinners, unless you were born a monk or a sister in an environment that didn't allow yourself to sin then, we all have ample time to pass out pamphlets and info that might get people thinking about where they might want end up when it is time to pass through the Pearly Gates of Heaven. If the world would only live by the Golden Rule more or at least attempt to learn about His Son's endeavers while he was on the earth and learn from the parables, then we might have a better place in which to pass along the Christian attitude and be a STRONGER WORLD according to how God originally wanted His flock to live and prosper. Wouldn't you aggree?

  4. I think this issue is deeper than just whether we hand out tracts or not. It is asking, "Is being a Christian more than the 4 Spiritual Laws make it out to be?"

    If boiled down, the 4 spiritual laws only look at becoming a Christian from a rationalistic point of view. In its presentation, the Gospel is only about forgiveness of sins and getting into heaven. We know that being a Christ-Follower is more than simply signing on the dotted line. It is showing up. If all we do is sign on the dotted line or say a "Sinner's Prayer" is there really a conversion?