My colleague Joe Dongell, Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary has authored one of the best essays that I have ever read on Christian Holiness. President Elect Tim Tennent offers a response to Joe’s essay.
Here is an excerpt:
For many Christians, the Bible feels like the federal tax code: complicated, contradictory, and awkwardly cobbled together over many years. Small wonder that our libraries are filled with commentaries promising to decode the puzzles we stumble over as we read. But if we press on, we will discover that the trail sometimes rises up to a high point, to a lookout with a panoramic view of everything below. Standing above it all, we can now see that the maze of twisting trails actually makes sense. A meaningful, unified landscape emerges.
A well-educated man once asked Jesus to identify the most important of all God’s instructions. Quite a challenge, given that 613 specific commands had been tagged and categorized by the scholars of the day! How would Jesus answer? You could say that Jesus “took the man on a hike” to the highest overlook of them all, to a view that simplifies everything: “You shall love the Lord your God”, and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus not only declared that no commandments were greater than these, but that the whole of Scripture (the law and the prophets) depends on just these two commandments (Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-28).
The apostle Paul presses exactly the same point: “…he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments…are summed up in this one sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 12:8-10; Gal. 5:14; see Deuteronomy 6:4; Leviticus 19:18)
John Wesley, the fountainhead of the Methodist revival, had obviously hiked to this very overlook and gazed out across the same landscape. He never tired of reducing everything (the gospel, his ministry, Christianity) to this exquisite simplicity: Love. To wander from this not only leads us away from Wesley, but surrenders away the heart of Scriptural Christianity.
What do you think?