The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Ragamuffin Gospel

I figured since we can still post, I would like to recommend ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’ by Brennan Manning. I am in the middle of it and it is really good. Find it and read it. It is about the ‘gospel of grace’ in it’s truest sense. :smiley:

Well, 833 reviewers at Amazon, give it collectively 5 out of 5 stars. See So it must be pretty good :exclamation: :smiley:

Simply put, a game changer!

It brings home a theme that brilliantly scratches where a lot of religious people itch!

I will read that!

Something similar that I have read is “Messy Spirituality” by Mike Yaconelli (subtitle 'God’s annoying love for imperfect people"). Very good. … 1100620945

Hey Dave, “Messy Spirituality” is on my to read list.

Thanks… :slight_smile:

I looked at the contents of the book; it is a common view, and just as much a perversion of the gospel as that of “earning salvation by works.” Those who hold to the easy way of just trusting Christ to save you from hell while you go on living as you like (although they don’t say this, it is implied) is probably the most prevalent false gospel in existence.

The purpose of Christ’s death, and the essence of the true gospel, is to begin the process of being saved from sinning or wrong doing. Peter, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews make clear why Christ died:

*I Peter 2:24 He himself endured our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

II Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Heb 9:26 …he has appeared once for all at the end of the age for the abolition of sin by the sacrifice of himself.*

This process of salvation from sin, made available by Christ’s magnificent sacrifice of Himself, begins when we submit to Him as Lord of our lives, and continues throughout our lives. And it SHALL be completed!

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

The angel announced to Joseph to call Mary’s baby “Jesus” (saviour) because He would save His people from their sins. Not from hell, but from their sins. So salvation is VERY MUCH related to what we do. Not that were earn something by self-effort (indeed I know of no one who claims salvation can be earned) but that the essence of salvation is to deliver us from wrong doing—a life-long process.

I’m sure it must be very comforting to believe that Jesus, through His death, will save us from suffering, no matter how we live. For in this way of thinking, nothing is required of us. However, righteousness IS required of us, and it can be attained by coöperating with the enabling grace of God:

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)

How do we appropriate this enabling grace? We appropriate it through faith. Jesus died to provide this enabling grace, and by trusting Him to do so, it becomes a reality in our lives.

Many think “δικαιοσυνη,” The Greek word translated as “justification” to mean “being counted as righteous,” whether we are righteous or not. But the word often means “being made righteous.”

Working together [with Him], we entreat you not to accept the grace of God to no purpose. (2 Cor 6:1)

If we try to accept God’s grace in our lives without allowing it to purify us, to render us righteous, then we are accepting it to no purpose.

We must coöperate with God’s enabling grace. We alone cannot achieve consistent righteousness. And God alone will not cause us to be righteous. He respects our ablity to choose too much for that. We must coöperate with God’s enabling grace.

This coöperation with God is known as “synergy.” This English word comes from the Greek word “working together.” (συνεργουντες)

A particular group of denominations push “monergy.” This is the idea because Christ did all the work concerning our righteousness, that we have no part in it at all, that grace means “the free gift of salvation” rather than divine enablement. No wonder so many fall away, thinking that what they choose to do has no bearing on their standing with God. It seems to me that the “ragamuffin gospel” belongs to this category of thinking.

However, I think the apostle Paul had it right. Concerning deliverance from wrongdoing, we need to work together with God, and so not accept the grace of God to no purpose.

I am puzzled as to how anyone can read the following passage from Romans 2, and still think that working righteousness has no bearing on gaining eternal life:

*For He will render to everyone according to his works. To those who by perseverance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality,He will give eternal life, but for those who are self-seeking and are not persuaded by the truth,but are persuaded by unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Affliction and anguish for every person who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honour and well-being for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek, for God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:6-10)*

Oh my, I am glad that the forum has somehow continued to accept post’s…

Paidion, my friend, your consistent lack of acknowledging our Christ’s atoning work, outside of our works or cares or phobia’s, has been and is a interesting on going perpetuating thorn to those who truly believe that Christ ACTUALLY atoned the sin of man.

Your position is that no one is forgiven unless they repent. THEY NEED TO DO THE WORK.

We see things differently. Christ did the work.

Your idea of :

Is quite extraordinary, given you admit that the issue is not said. :open_mouth:

Don, you have conflated two ideas (sin / suffering) and extrapolated a single notion with regards to one (sin / righteousness) across to the other… when they are in fact two separate issues.

Indeed I know of no one who claims “Jesus, through His death, will save us from suffering, no matter how we live

Jesus came to save HIS PEOPLE Israel from their sin/s… this according to Paul he did. Salvation does NOT equate to a supposedly consequential-free life in terms of errant actions. Again… “salvation” and “suffering” are two separate matters.

Christ wrought redemption, BUT that never negated potential ruin… hence Jesus’ continual warning etc.

I really thought that we had to repent - that’s not something Jesus can do for us, right? Or am I misunderstanding?

Is anybody negating “repentance”?


Ahh, we need to define repentance, where it belongs (and where it was used in historical scripture) and what it does! :open_mouth:

WELL, Don can speak for himself, as can Chad. However… repentance simply enables one to more fully tap into the blessing of God in this life because in Christ is fullness of life aka “eternal life”.

This is a big subject. Christ did away with the gulf that existed between man and God. The Old Covenant has been properly done away with and the new Covenant with the new creation, (us) is under way. Repentance is a sign of understanding that we are servants to the Messiah Lord Christ. Repentance, in my view, has nothing to do with salvation or going to heaven. Others may chime in if they like.

looks like we are all jumping over each other :laughing:

Repentence means turning away from and turning to.

One of the Caesars told his adversary to “repent. and believe in me” - the usage of the word was common and commonly understood to mean a person choosing to turn from one thing and trust in another.

I don’t see a mystery here - sin is to be turned away from, Christ is to be turned to . That’s not deep water, that’s the tiptoe into the surf.

Sorry - it was Josephus. From NT Wright:

How are we to unlearn our meanings for such a phrase and to hear it through first-century ears? It helps if we can find another author using it at around the same place and time as Jesus. Consider, for example, the Jewish aristocrat and historian Josephus, who was born a few years after Jesus’ crucifixion and who was sent, in AD 66, as a young army commander, to sort out some rebel movements in Galilee. His task, as he describes it in his autobiography, was to persuade the hot-headed Galileans to stop their mad rush into revolt against Rome, and to trust him and the other Jerusalem aristocrats to work out a better modus vivendi. So, when he confronted the rebel leader, he says that he told him to give up his own agenda, and to trust him, Josephus, instead. And the words he uses are remarkably familiar to readers of the Gospels: he told the brigand leader to `repent and believe in me’, metanoesein kai pistos emoi genesesthai.

That is indeed true… to “believe in” pretty much equated to swear allegiance to. To have this change of mind (repentance) in terms of allegiance was a political message and a dangerous one at that. Peter declaring “Jesus is Lord” was an in-your-face response to “Caesar is Lord”… again, extremely political and dangerous confession.

I have always been taken by J B Phillips definition of ‘repentance’ … It is a ‘Change of Heart’ and thus when we realize that Christ died and His death burial and resurrection atoned for Adams sin, in other words, we are now in proper standing with God through Jesus, no matter how we (or anyone else for that matter) may be thinking at the moment, we are as Paul says part of the elect, the overcomers. Yes we repented, but the repentance was to instil our place in service and not in Glory… Christ did that.

I hope this makes some sense.