In this episode John and Gregg discuss Chapter Five of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. They begin by wondering about whether the Christianity that Kyle Idleman is promoting is not rule-based after all, despite his claims to the contrary.
John discusses how many Christians see Christianity as a set of “principles” and consider the Bible as “operating instructions for life.” Gregg argues that Kyle’s emphasis on Christianity as reward or punishment (see Not A Fan page 21, about going to heaven or hell as the core of Christianity) in fact keeps us bound to a rule-based perspective because guilt and fear become primary motivators in such communities.
Gregg further suggests that where Christians focus on “principles” they are typically oriented toward “protecting” God–ensuring right biblical interpretation and practice–and so contribute more toward building fences than building bridges, and that they tend to approach outsiders with a mentality of dispute rather than dialogue. From Gregg’s perspective, this must change.
John wonders how obedience is part of a relationship, and Gregg considers that God is both parent and sovereign, and so obedience is complimented, quite literally, by love. Gregg again argues that love and truth are co-central within Christianity and that love relationships are not first about submission but about desire–acting toward the beloved out of love, not duty. So he notes that where it concerns God, furthering this love relationship becomes my deepest desire and the effect of this love on me becomes part of my identity that I love the most.
Here’s the Brennan Manning video Gregg refers to