The Gospel According to a John Eldridge ReaderThursday, March 31, 2005
I happened upon the following blog and determined to throw it out like a piece of meat to hungry dogs and cats. I am desperately interested in getting some feedback and comments from it. I want your thoughts. But do three things for me. First, exercise that unusual yet necessarily ability of logic to separate John Eldridge from the writer of this blog. John is not writing it, but one of his readers is. Second, separate the John Eldridge books you may have read from the statements this blogger makes. Third, critique the gospel according to John Eldridge if you have read his books. Here's the blog listed at the blog entitled "Manuscript Error" at the following link: http://rmfo-blogs.com/theophileo/archives/2005/02/17/the-gospel-i-never-knew/. I listed again for you here because the blogger's formatting makes the blog difficult to read.
"I have learned one thing this past year, perhaps the most important revelation God will ever grant me. In the last twelve months, I have read one after another of each of John Eldridge’s books, and they have taken me on a journey, back through the 24 years I have spent on this planet, and even beyond, to when my existence was only that of an idea in the mind and heart of God.
"Through the incredible workings of God - in his infinite wisdom to make so many of the intricate workings of both this world, and the relationships we experience, into living metaphors of who he is and how it is he longs to relate to us - through portraits of this in my life, both incredibly joyous and excruciatingly painful, I feel I understand God in a completely new way, and grasp the gospel as if for the first time in all my life.
"He has shown me this: God is an outrageous, uncontrollable, relentless lover. Of me. And of you. “By his choice,” we often say, but I’m not so sure that’s accurate, or at least not some of the impressions it gives. I believe he loves me - and you - not because of a gear-grinding, mathematically calculated choice, but because of who he is, and who we are, created in his image. He is compelled to love us; he must love us; his very nature drives it. Because - and this blows me away every time I stop to think about it - because of what he sees when he looks at us. We are his Beloved, the Bride of Christ. You are exactly what you are supposed to be, you are exactly what God finds irresistible.
“But sin?” you ask. “What about my sin?” That’s the amazing thing. You are perfect. Not flawless - for we are truly tainted by the wickedness that we can dream up - but you are perfectly what you are supposed to be, underneath that sin. That taint, of course, is deep-rooted, and enough to arrest all communion with God. It stops it with a wretched abruptness, the recoil from which we must face in anguish for the rest of our lives here on earth. And that taint we are indeed helpless to remove, try however we might. But something happened before the taint ruined our lives.
“Those whom he foreknew, he also predestined…” says Paul in Romans 8, as he nears the climax of this pinnacle passage of the Bible. God knew us. Before the foundations of the world were laid, he knew us. He saw our hearts; he saw what we were. And he loved us. He, by his very nature, was compelled - not controlled, mind you, there is still a choice involved - but he was compelled to love what he saw. And he made up his mind then and there: Nothing can happen; nothing we say, nothing we do, nothing we ever are can change his mind. It is set. He loves us.
"So when we died - and die we did, that day in the garden - he swore to do everything possible to bring us back. He would have the ones he loved. He would stop at nothing to see us alive again, that we could be with him. Indeed, he did stop at nothing, for it was he who “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” That joy before him was the hope of reclaiming his lost love. He would rather pay with the pain of death than see his love be lost forever. He reclaimed our life for us. For after he died, he “raised us up with him.” He became like us in our death, that we would become like him in his resurrection.
"And so, since that day he first saw us, so many, many generations ago, he has been after us. Battling to win our hearts. Even today he continues, fighting to woo us, to display his relentless love time after time, only out of hope that we would realize what we truly are - what he sees when he looks at us - and rise to meet him.
"Brothers, let us rise. Our pursuer longs to earn our affections.