Thursday, August 03, 2006

Should We Focus on What a Person Trusts Jesus For—Eternal Life?

Following is another question and answer that followed Professor Zane Hodges' speech on How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1 at the Grace Evangelical Society’s 2000 conference.
Question from the Audience: In our society the name Jesus means all kinds of things. In your clarifying talk with the person brought up in a previous question (see Question and Answer – Pt. 3) who was confused about the identity of Jesus, wouldn’t you focus not so much on Who is this Jesus, but, rather, that He is the only means of salvation, and that it is a matter of placing my trust in Him alone and not in Him and my followings of this, that, or the other thing, or my walk on the Buddha life, or whatever? So wouldn’t you focus on what it is that we’re trusting Him for, and we’re trusting Him for eternal life solely?

Answer from Professor Hodges: Yes. I would agree with what you said. I would take the Gospel of John and try to introduce him to the real Jesus from the Gospel of John. We have to remember that what I was talking about (and this is not really an answer to your question but to a question that may be floating around here) … we have to remember that what we were talking about just now is the bare minimum which it is absolutely necessary to believe. But very few people get saved by believing a bare minimum. Most people have more information than the bare minimum suggests.

And certainly the Gospel of John gives us more information than the bare minimum, although we can conclude from the Gospel of John what the bare minimum actually is. But the whole Gospel of John is designed to present a Person who is not only worthy of our trust but has every right to demand it. So if I find obscurity in people, and they’re having trouble trusting Jesus, then I want to give them everything I can give them from the Bible to invite their trust in Him. That’s why the Gospel serves. That’s why the truth of the Person of Christ serves.

But we’re not talking about the salvation of loads and loads of people on bare minimal theology. But if we don’t get our focus clear (that was my point today) … if we don’t get our focus clear, and we don’t focus on what the core of what we’re driving for is, we will make confused presentations, and we’ll introduce auxiliary conditions and all the rest of it. Thanks for a good question.