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The Hole in Our Gospel

I’m so grateful for all the new visitors to my blog in the last few days! I thought, out of the nearly 500 posts I’ve written, which one would I want new readers to see first? Which one will tell you, in a few short paragraphs, what my blog and my upcoming second book are about? Which one will show you the direction I hope to take in my next phase of life? And I settled on this one. Please give it a read. Please stay connected to me. Please join the movement!

If you went to the Bible and removed all the verses where Jesus talked about justice, poverty, the poor, and helping the really vulnerable, like orphans, you would leave a gigantic hole in the Christian Gospel. That is the basic point of The Hole in Our Gospel, a 2009 book by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. Stearns also says that this is basically what Christians have done.

We skip reading those parts. We’re big into our “best life now” scenarios, and we’re big into asking how Jesus can help me in my life. We use the Bible to find out how we’re going to be better and how we’re going to excel in life with Jesus. Somehow we convince ourselves that the Gospel is all about us.

But how does that relate to what Jesus said: that all the law can be summed up in love your neighbor as yourself? In our “best life now” scenarios, we lose that. We’re not loving our neighbor.

Part of the problem is that we think it’s too hard. When you read statistics on poverty, you don’t feel like you can help. When you read how bad these issues are, everywhere in the world, you wonder, “What can my one dollar really do? Or my fifty cents, or my five dollars, or even my five hundred dollars?”

Stearns shows how the statistics can be overwhelming, deceiving, and even depressing. They can make you do the opposite of what you are called to do, and that’s trying to figure out a way to alleviate poverty.

And then he shows how effective we can be. He shows how we can alleviate poverty. We do it as the body of Christ. We do it as His Church.

Christian churches are supposed to be the pillars of their communities, and even the pillars of the world. Read about the early church, and what Jesus tried to do. This is why Christians came together as churches in the first place.

But in the Western church today, we get into our own little bubbles. We create these mega-churches. They offer yoga classes, Starbucks in the lobby, all these things intended for the comfort of their own people. I understand the importance of discipling, but the impression these mega-churches give is that they only care about themselves. They make it look as though they are there for only one thing: seeing to the needs of their own congregations.

We’re supposed to be a church as a whole, a church everywhere in the world. We’re supposed to go out into the communities of the world to figure out who needs help. And then we’re supposed to get together and help!

Jesus said, “I came to rescue.” He said, “I came to take people out of bondage and bring joy where there is none.” And when He ascended to heaven, He left it up to us to continue His work. That’s our fulfillment in Christ. That’s our real “best life now” scenario.

Who is with me?

See you Thursday.

16 thoughts on “The Hole in Our Gospel

  1. Love reading your blog. It fills me with peace, wisdom, and inspiration to get through my week. It seems you choose something that pertains to me and something I’ve been through. Your words are uplifting and I thank you for that.

  2. Congrats on your new book and this new chapter in your life! I wish you all the very best! You were an amazing SF Giant Thank you! God Bless you and your family! 🙏🏼⚾️😊

  3. Was at the game yesterday to bid you a farewell. Your words over the last several months motivate and inspire me. You are a Giant on the field and in Gods eyes. Saw you speak at Cornerstone in Livermore a while back and that talk you gave changed me! You are a rock of a man and a true man of God. Thank you for your insparation Jeremy!


  4. Jeremy I remain ever inspired when I read your blog. I know this next phase of your life will be one in which you continue to help those who need our help. I was at the park on Sunday, such a heartfelt speech you gave and I just wanted to say thank you for being a Giant. They are better for having you for the last seven years and not just on the field but off it even more. We will miss you so much. I know that this next stage of your life will be a meaningful one for more people. Thank you again. Blessings.

  5. Glad to find your blog and read this entry. This was a big encouragement to me. I see you have True Faced listed on this page. Have you read Bo’s Cafe? I would love to discuss a project I am working on with you. What’s the best way to reach you?

  6. Jeremy, with all humility and love, would you read Matthew 22:37-40 again. You left out the first and greatest commandment.
    The Gospel is not one of prosperity(which I believe you’d agree with me) nor is it one of social justice which you teach here. Both insert “self” and assume a false gospel, are extremely harmful and leave no room for heart transformation. We need the Holy Spirit for that!!

    The Gospel is that God so loved us that He allowed His own Son to be butchered.., for us! The perfect, Holy and Righteous Son of God stepped in our place and took on the full weight of wrath from the Father so that we may be reconciled to Him. Why did He do that for us? Why did He need to do that for us? Why was His justice so wrathful? Did Jesus really have to be mocked, spit on, betrayed, crushed, beaten, whipped, scourged, crowned with thorns, nailed to a Cross so I could feed the poor??? NO!!!
    Or was it because our sin is so great and our hearts so wicked that we would forever be separated from Him because of it??
    So stop Jeremy! Just stop! You are misleading people. Yes, people are suffering. Yes, people are dying. So why not teach and preach our greatest need, Jesus. Not what we can do for Him but what He did for us. Then and only then does real transformation, real change happen. Then and only then can justice and sacrifice for others, “loving your neighbors as yourself” truly and supernaturally take place!! Then and only then do we have a supernatural change in heart where we start hating our sin and start loving His goodness!

    The only way to be right with God is on the basis of what Christ is and has done and not on who I am or what I have done. There is no rest in what I can do for Christ but the rest is in everything that He did for me.., for us. That’s the gospel! That’s the heart transformation! That’s what I can take to the mom and dad’s who just found out that their 3 year old has a tumor and they might not make it. I can not and will not take what you just preached.

    • Rob, I have read Jeremy’s blog faithfully since he started posting in 2010, and I think it’s possible that you’ve been a bit hard on him. Have you had time to poke around and read what he’s had to say about grace? What he’s had to say about the love our King has for us? I can see where you might read this one post and not immediately and fully get the gratitude Jeremy has for our Lord’s sacrifice, but it’s possible that if you read more, you’ll find that he has often dwelt on the message you seek here. Gosh, I can’t imagine anyone with a heart for humanity telling a dying child’s parents to go and alleviate poverty. But I can imagine telling them that Jesus said, “I came for you. I understand your pain.” And I can imagine a church that says to those parents, “You need help. Let us help you, because we love you.” I think that would be a good thing — and things that are good, and loving, come from God. I’m very confident of that.

      • Hi Beth. Thank you for your reply😄. I appreciate it. While I understand that there are numerous limitations and difficulties in conveying our thoughts through this medium of communication, I do my best to try to unpack what Jeremy is saying. I have been following this blog for about 2 years now and I have to tell you it troubles me often what Jeremy is teaching. Here’s sort of how I wrestle with his posts. After prayerful consideration, I always reread his commentaries, often several times and I note his use of scripture through verse, doctrine and stories he uses and then finally I try to really camp out on his final point. To confirm what I believe his final point to be, sound or otherwise, I read the replies and try to ascertain whether or not others arrived at the same conclusion. By conclusion, I mean simply Jeremy’s intended message, not whether or not we agree or disagree with it or whether it’s a sound point or not. I can tell you that in most, if not all cases, Jeremy’s intended message is clear, and is confirmed by those of us responding. Again, that’s not to say we will all agree with him or each other but we at the very least understand what Jeremy is trying to say. Here’s what’s not so clear though and that is his lack of symmetry with respect to his intended audience and the conflict that will always exist in our Christian walk with respect to our “toil”, our “striving”, our “pursuit”, our “labor” in being made holy and righteous all the while fully “resting” in the finished work of Christ(and Him alone) and His grace covering us while we “do”. To emphasize our works and leave out God’s work in preaching the gospel, as Jeremy is doing here, is a grave error and is one that is common in false gospel narratives. Both with the assumed social gospel that he so safely preaches here and with the assumed prosperity gospel that many others safely preach. Why are they safe?Because both involve “self” and we all love our selves. Why are they in error? Because Jesus says “deny self.. And follow Me”. Why? Because He loves us and He died for us while we were yet sinners, substituting Himself, perfect blameless and spotless, for us!! And then He rose on the 3rd day, defeating death and sin forever, if we just believe. Believe In what? Ourselves? No!! Believe in Him?Yes!!! Thank you King Jesus!! I am a wretched filthy sinner but you are not. I believe! I believe! Help me! Fill me with your Holy Spirit. That’s the gospel. That’s what cuts to the heart. That’s what brings transformation. That’s what bring symmetry of rest in Him in our pursuit to be like Him. That’s why I “do”! That’s why I serve others and want sin destroyed in me. That’s why I risk everything! For His glory!

      • Rob

        Thanks for your comments. I actually believe exactly what you say. Sorry I haven’t written what you needed to hear from me. I’m sure if you reread some of my blogs you will see down if that. Especially the ones on grace. I’ve been writing blogs for 5 yrs now so a lot in there you haven’t read and are making judgments on of who I am. But ill keep your critique in mind

    • Hi Rob. Thank you for answering me. It means a lot. I’ve read your reply quite a few times. I’ve let it roll around in the back of my mind, and I’ve also really, directly, thought about it. I think you’re saying something that I need to hear, but I’m struggling. Jeremy has had a lot of helpful things to say about our identities as children of God. What I hear him saying is that God loves us. He loves us. Just as we are, made wonderfully by Him. We could do absolutely nothing and He would love us no less, and we could bring world peace and He would love us no more. So why do we do for others? Well, for me, it’s just really hard to see anyone suffering. My heart breaks and I want to help. I’ve got no game, but any time that God chooses me to manifest His glory, I’m incredibly grateful. I’m just so, I don’t know, limited. And my sin, my goodness. I wish I never had to face that. But it seems I don’t have to do it alone. It seems Jesus is there to love me through it. God came into my life, and is making a good work of me. I hope He is, and I hope I’m not false in my faith, or worse, in my hope. What do you think? Is this false, in your estimation? Am I missing out on the Gospel?

      • Hi Beth, to answer your 3 questions at the end(in order)…
        1-I think you are wonderful! I truly do. To be more specific, I believe you are one of those truly blessed women that are gifted with a child-like faith in our God most high. I can tell you that I struggle in that area often but at the same time, I am so thankful God is so good and faithful in that He has surrounded me with a wife and many “sisters” who share that childlike faith and encourage me everyday.
        2 and 3-I am going to address these 2 questions together with a resounding “No”. I do not believe your comments are false or are “missing out” on the gospel. It is my belief that you understand it rightly and have a deep love and intimacy with Jesus. Beth, I am so thankful for your heart and this small glimpse into it. Can I humbly encourage you with something though? Would you commit to prayer(and ask others to pray for you), and ask God for discernment in areas like this forum where men are representing(or misrepresenting) Christ. Our gifts, blessings etc. can always serve as a blessing or a curse depending on their application, intention, agenda, presupposition..In your particular gifting with regard to a childlike faith, I believe you and otherswho share this gifting(such as my wife) can more easily be misled or falsely taught by men like Jeremy and I. In this particular instance, I still maintain that Jeremy is misleading many. While I do not question His faith(that’s not for me to do), I do question other areas with respect to this post and others within his blog. Most notably, I believe Jeremy’s hermeneutic is off. Often times, it’s well off, in my estimation. I, too, question his willingness to be obedient and fully submit to God’s Word, no matter the cost, which is especially epidemic in the athletic, entertainment and political arenas. But all that said, I love Jeremy and do recognize that we are both fallible and both do(as do we all) misrepresent ourselves and others on occasion. And on those occasions, we look to the Cross, get on our faces and say “forgive me” “help me”, “thank you” and “I love you” because we know that our Lord paid it All and His grace is sufficient. Amen! And then we repent, get up and seek Him and His will. His affirmation and His pleasure. As Christians, we don’t get defensive or hardened and we don’t seek mans affirmation and pleasure. So sister, please pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you, to illuminate Gods Word and test Jeremy, test me, test others and discern for yourself what is truth; based on God’s infallible, God breathed Word and not on yours, Jeremy’s or my fallible feelings. Love you. In Christ, Rob. Rlc4jc@icloud.com

      • Rob, thank you! Gosh! To be thought wonderful — thank you! And to be complimented in such a way as this! But I can’t take credit for it. I pray for a child-like faith, and I believe my Father hears my cries and answers me. Luke 11:11-13, right? But I don’t think you should exclude yourself from this special family. You are one of us, also child-like in faith. Hermeneutics and narratives are the concerns of seminarians, and such matters of close study are sustenance for the minds and intellects that Our Lord has fearfully and wonderfully made, but in the end, they are designed to bring fellowship (or, scarily, division) among scholars. God looks past such temporal things. He sees our hearts, and everything in them. We are all His children, so how can any of us have any faith other than a child-like faith? Let our hearts fly to God, and we will be welcomed. “It is finished.” We are forgiven. Now we rest in him, and, what? Go out and make believers of others! And when we are out there doing that, we shall meet those who are broken, empty, hurt, frightened, and sad. Who isn’t wounded? And in HIs name, with His Spirit, and His authority, we shall heal each other. Bless you Rob! Heart!!!

  7. Yes, our best life now is serving others!! Financially, physically, spiritually, emotionally…every way we can. It’s twofold, the recipient will be blessed and we will also be blessed by by being the hands and feet of Jesus. 🙂 Good luck on your second book. I need to read the first one!!

  8. I was so happy to hear you were continuing with the blog. I started reading because of baseball but continued for the blessings & the reminder of where my heart and spirit need to be focused. Thank you

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