55: Elephant or Not

In this episode John and Gregg discuss the fact that they, and particularly Gregg, are viewing and responding to the material that they are working with in a very different way from many other reviewers (such as their responses to Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan and Darin Hufford’s Misunderstood God).

John reflects on how his discomfort level with these “differences” is much lower than when he first began discussing these topics.  John also notes that a listener sent him a book (Surrender to Love, by David Benner) that reinforces some of Gregg’s perspectives and the things he and John and have been discussing.  John also notes the rigor of the presentation of Benner’s book offers a degree of credibility that far outweighs what they’ve seen in the other books they’ve discussed so far.

Gregg summarizes what he believes are the questions at the heart of the ongoing conversations in these podcasts:

  • Who is God?
  • What are human beings?
  • What is the relationship between the two?

Gregg and John are answering these question differently than the some of authors they’re are reading. For example, Kyle Idleman.  Gregg expresses his discomfort about being more overt about his different answers that and hesitates in responding.

Gregg reflects on his own trajectory from a sovereignty-focused Christianity, through agnosticism, to a Christianity focused on God as both sovereign AND parent (father).  Gregg believes that arriving at this new position of seeing God as sovereign and parents yields a far richer and more satisfying life, a greater sense of self, and a picture of God that coheres far better with the biblical text.

Yet John persists: What is Gregg so hesitant to say?  Gregg admits the “elephant” in the room is two particular perspectives.  The first is his contention that how to view God, how to view human beings, and how to understand the relationship between the two are really choices, even if we make them in an uninformed manner. The second is Gregg’s assertion of a very different way of understanding how we view God, self, and the relationship between the two that puts him in a minority number of people based on the conclusions he comes to.

Thus for Gregg we are responsible to be making the best such choices that we can, based on the best (that is, truest) information that we can gather on these matters.  Further, Gregg wagers that while these choices are crucial, our churches do not present them as being choices, and so do not prepare Christians to become wise choice-makers in these crucial areas.

Gregg concludes that the duty of a Christian is more to seeking (and embracing) truth than it is to their tradition or understanding of Christianity.  Why?  Because false religion–which the prophets against–is still a reality now.  Only by being truth-seekers can Christians hope to overcome the false religion.

So John summarizes: in the podcast he and Gregg are taking a minority position (and not following the mainstream), and notes that people must be aware that they are making choices (whether they think they are, or not) and that as such they really have choices (again, whether or not they perceive them as such).

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