Tag Archives: social issues

Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #21): Chapter 20- “Jesus’ Vision”

Two chapters remain of Martin Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Chapter 20 is entitled JESUS’ VISION and subtitled “What Is God’s Dream for the World?”

“The kingdom of God is what the world would look like if God ruled the world,” Thielen says. Jesus’ primary concern, His passion, was the kingdom of God. We should pray for God’s kingdom to come — but we should also seek to usher in the effects of that kingdom now.

MY RESPONSE: I agree with Thielen’s view of the kingdom. He is right that many Christians see the kingdom as only future. But we should long for aspects of God’s rule now — in this world.

The examples he gives of unselfish Christians helping their neighbors in this world are encouraging. Too often we live for ourselves. There are needs all around — and if Jesus is our King, we ought to step up and tackle those needs!

Should we talk more about God’s kingdom?

Thielen talks about “God’s dream” for His world as recorded in Isaiah 65. This passage makes it clear that social issues are concerns of God and ought to be our concerns as well.

The question is: What am I doing today that shows that Jesus is reigning in my heart and in my family that will draw others to King Jesus?











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Posted by on March 13, 2019 in God's Kingdom


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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #5) SAVING SOULS BUT NOT TREES?!

We are continuing to look at the book by the United Methodist minister Martin Thielen entitled What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Divided into two sections, Part 1 lists “Ten Things Christians Don’t Need to Believe” and Part 2 is entitled “Ten Things Christians Do Need to Believe.” Let’s think about the fourth belief Christians don’t need to believe.

Chapter 5 is entitled God Cares about Saving Souls But Not About Saving Trees.  Thielen subtitles this chapter “God cares about personal salvation and social justice, and so should God’s church.”

I must admit I agree with Thielen on much of this chapter. The believer in Jesus should be concerned about the environment and social issues. It is unfortunately true that fundamentalist churches have often expressed a concern only for men’s souls. We are charged with being good stewards of God’s creation — and we have sometimes failed miserably.

I agree with the author that our religion must be personal but dare not be simply private. Every aspect of God’s world ought to be impacted by the believer living out his or her faith and caring about what God cares about.

MY RESPONSE: However, while Thielen uses expressions like “affirming faith in Jesus Christ” and “evangelism,” I suspect he will articulate a liberal view of the gospel when we get further along in the book. But at this point, I agree that we should care about the environment and not engage in partisan politics. He cites abortion and homosexuality as two issues that conservative Christians seem most concerned about, but that is reasonable given the prominence of those two critical topics. It is difficult to read the Minor Prophets, for example, and not be challenged to care about the poor, the oppressed, the unborn. We will have to see what positions Thielen takes on those hot-button issues.

One takeaway for me: I find Becoming Worldly Saints by Mike Witmer a balanced approach to caring about the world that God has made — without watering down or compromising the gospel.





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Posted by on February 10, 2019 in beliefs


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