At the Sanctuary, we preach a Theology of Relentless Love. Quite simply, it’s the idea that “God is Love” and “God is Almighty” and God conquers all through Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Jesus is that idea. Jesus is the Idea, the Logos, the Word; He is the Theo-logos made flesh.
Furthermore, we believe that this Theology of Relentless Love is entirely Biblical—entirely Biblical, but often not traditional. Because we, the church, have read the Bible in doubtful fear, sought to control others with threats and listened to the “Principalities and Powers of this present darkness,” we have often lacked the courage to believe the victory of God in Christ Jesus. At the Sanctuary we seek to preach the full gospel, that is the whole Bible and thus the victory of Relentless Love. We seek to believe the voice which cries from the throne in Revelation 21:5, “Behold I make all things new.”
Now, that belief does not mean that there is no second death in the lake that burns with “fire and divinity” (Rev. 21:8) or no “outer darkness where sons of the kingdom weep and gnash their teeth” (Rev. 22:15, Matt. 8:12). It does not mean that there is no “Hades,” “Gehenna” or “Lake of Fire” (words that all get translated as “Hell”). It does not mean that there is no Judgment. It means that Jesus is the Judgment. (He said it in John 12:31, “Now is the Judgment of this world.”) It means that death is not the End; Jesus is “the End.” It means that the Word of the Creator is stronger than the lies of the desecrator. It means that Love does win. And it means that most of us probably need a new “theological” paradigm—a paradigm that involves rethinking several concepts, such as:
- The Biblical view of “Hell.”
- The Biblical perception of space and time. (Which marvelously matches the post-modern and current scientific description of space and time.)
- The Biblical idea that God is One. (He is not part Love and part something else.)
- The Biblical view of Creation.
- The Biblical view of Evil and the Fall.
- The Biblical view of Man (the old “Adam” and the new “Adam”).
- The Biblical view of Predestination, Election and “Free Will.”
- The Biblical view of Final Judgment, which requires the surrender of our judgment. In other words: the triumph of Grace.
Except for the details of modern physics, the paradigm shift is nothing new. A Theology of Relentless Love was arguably the predominant theology of the early church and is clearly the perspective of some of the world’s greatest theologians (Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Pope John Paul II). And yet people jump to the utterly bizarre conclusion that it is unbiblical and renders the cross of Christ pointless. It’s just the opposite. It is most Biblical… and the declaration that absolutely nothing is as powerful as the Word of God. Jesus Christ and Him crucified works… absolutely!
To help you think through this new (old) paradigm, as well as to help you simply like God more than you have before, we’re posting a variety of material on our missional website called Relentless Love, which should be up and running in the very near future (so keep checking back). If you’re interested in exploring this topic in some sort of orderly fashion, I’d encourage you to read our introductory articles (Theology, Our Theological Distinctive, and My Theological Journey), then explore more books and articles at Relentless-Love.org
- All Things New. This is a summary of some of the theological ideas that contribute to a new paradigm regarding “Hell” and the redemption of all things, as well as an explanation of why it matters. I would suggest starting here.
- An Adventure in Taking Scripture “Literally” or How to be accused of being a liberal heretic by Evangelical Christians. This is the long exegetical paper that I wrote in 2006. I suggest reading the sections in red (concluding statements) and then going back and looking at pertinent Scripture. If you have questions about particular Scriptures, they are probably addressed in this document. It needs to be updated, so please excuse the long rambling sentences etc. etc.
- The History of Time and the Genesis of You. This is a book that I wrote in 2010 based on our sermon series through Genesis 1:1-2:4. I believe it offers a new paradigm for reading all of Scripture and thinking about the meaning of your life. It explores the idea that God is creating us in his Image and he won’t fail.
- Apocalypse Now. This is a three-book commentary from our sermon series through the book of the Revelation several years ago. It was edited into one book and published as Eternity Now by Integrity Publishers in 2003. It was preaching through the Revelation, that really forced me to deal with such fascinating questions as, “How can Jesus ‘make all things new,’ when all things are flooded with eternal fire?”
- The Sanctuary In Between. This short little article explores the unique position of the Sanctuary in the modern church milieu—in between liberal and conservative; Calvinism and Arminianism.
- Where’s the Urgency? People often ask, “If God makes all things new, where’s the urgency in sharing the gospel?” I think the answer is rather shocking and defines the calling upon this particular church.
- Heresy? If you’re interested in that question. You can explore that topic here. In this post I address the question: “Is Peter a Heretic and how do I decide?” I also post my exceptions to the West minster Confessions of Faith and the correspondence between the governing body of my former denomination and myself.