The gospel literally changed the world. It has shaped nations, given hope to millions and is tangibly seen in the lives of people today.
This gospel story has driven massive social campaigns, such as Wilberforce’s abolition of slavery. It has been the motivation for starting organizations, such as World Vision, the RSPCA and workers unions. It has been the driving force for individuals such as William Carey, Isaac Newton and Billy Graham. The gospel story changed our world.
The power of ideas
Ideas have power to shape behaviour. The ideas the gospel contains about a Creator reaching out to reconcile the world to Himself drive human behaviour. Theology drives practice.
This is a powerful concept to wrestle with because every aspect of our lives hinges on how we respond to it. A Christian worldview is what we believe about Jesus. This belief determines how we follow Him.
Theology with wings
An example of a theology driving behavior: people that give up everything to serve Jesus. Some show their belief in Jesus through their behaviour of giving up career progression, financial security and often moving to remote locations.
I have had friends who have given up everything to serve with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in east Arnhem Land and PNG. The whole MAF Team bear witness to a “theology with wings.”
Or other friends who serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators giving up stable incomes to help with the process of translating Bibles into indigenous people’s heart language. It is the idea of this gospel that motivates their actions. Their knowledge of God drives them to bear witness to Jesus.
For someone without a Christian worldview this makes no sense at all. Why would someone “waste” their time, effort and finances unless there is a deep theological depth to their understanding of Jesus and His mission? Such a counter-cultural act is driven through a rich theology of Jesus being Lord of all.
Theologians over the years have given this concept various names such as a ‘theological vision’ (Richard Lints). Dutch Pastor Abraham Kuyper proclaimed, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
The link between our beliefs and practice is part of the gospel message. It transforms every aspect of our life and overflows from a deep indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It changes the way we spend our money, how we build community, how we treat others, and the way we view our jobs. It flows out of this deep gospel conviction.
What about me?
How can we live out this faith? How can I serve my church and support people like MAF and WBT missionaries?
One outworking of this theological melee, is developing the vision that every area of life is impacted by this gospel story. From this you can consider how your behavior can be impacted by it. This may mean looking for friends or ministries you wish to support with your time or finances. It could mean to set aside specific time to pray for communities.
Or it could mean preparing a way to share this gospel story and inspire others to give their theology wings. It means making every thought captive to Christ. As people hear this gospel story it will transform the lives of many.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html