Length: 308 pp
Author: Dan Phillips
Want to read a book that powerfully presents the gospel? Here you go, Dan Phillips’ The World-Tilting Gospel. Want a book that will help you develop a Biblical worldview? Ibid. Don’t think a book can do both? Then you don’t understand the gospel and you don’t understand the world. Now we have gone from a want to a need. If you don’t see the connection then you need to read a book like this. Here you go:
Self-image matters, but not in the way that pop psychology paints it. What one makes of the human condition—what you think you are now, and/or what you think you were when God found you and made you His—has a major ongoing impact on our approach to God, our view of Him, and our day-to-day relationship with God.
Suppose we have the belief that we are good people who simply need a bit of a leg up. We aren’t really bad-hearted. People just don’t understand us. Deep down inside we mean well and want good things. Oh, we may have a few bad habits, we sometimes make a bad call here and there—a mistake, a goof, an “oops” . . . but it’s what’s inside that counts, and what’s inside is good.
Here’s Bud Goodheart, for instance. Bud sees himself as a decent, moral, well-meaning guy. So naturally Bud is attracted to the sort of worldview that presents God as the grand Rubber Stamp in the Sky. This God loves us unconditionally, just as we are, and wants us to realize our deepest dreams and aspirations. “Go for it, child!” Bud’s God cheers. “I’m right behind you!” That’s the line from the pulpit . . . or stool, or “enablement stand,” or whatever. “God wants you to pursue your dreams!”
So Bud simply brings God his biggest and brightest dreams, and God signs off on them. Whump! Whump! Whump! goes the heavenly rubber stamp. Approved! God claps Bud on the back, gives a big thumbs-up—and off Bud trots. Pursuing Bud’s agenda. Because God has Bud’s back.
How will such a man, such a woman, see Christ? Not as a Savior, surely. As Facilitator, as Enabler, as Cheerleader inspiring him to pursue his dreams, his goals, his ambitions. What is the Cross, to Bud? If anything, it is an expression of God’s love and approval. The Cross proves how much Bud means to God, how worthy Bud is, how irresistibly adorable Bud is to God. The Cross tells Bud that he is okay—that God just wants to fulfill Bud and make him happy with himself. It’s about affirmation, not execution.
Bud may view the Christian life as an ongoing negotiation with his partner, Jesus. Nothing radical, certainly. After all, Bud “invited” Jesus in, he gave Christ a “chance,” he “tried Christ” (like the bumper sticker says). Jesus was a plug-in, an add-on, like some enhancement to a web browser—a really good and powerful plugin that promises big things, but a plug-in nonetheless.
And Bud maintains control of the relationship.
But, you see, if Bud is wrong about himself, and he’s wrong about God, and he’s wrong about Christ, and he’s wrong about the Cross—then Bud is wrong about the relationship, too.