The Outrageous Gospel (a repost of a repost from The Internet Monk)

Below is an excerpt from a sermon by Michael Spencer reposted on the Internet Monk yesterday. Even though he is almost 3 years deceased, Michael is still one of my favorite bloggers.

The sermon starts with a quote from atheist Sam Harris, and goes on to explain just how Harris is on to something when he says Christian belief is outrageous. We need to regain some of that outrage.

There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: the creator of the universe takes an interest in me, approves of me, loves me, and will reward me after death; my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain the best statement of the truth until the end of the world; everyone who disagrees with me will spend an eternity in hell. An average Christian, in an average church, listening to an average Sunday sermon has achieved a level of arrogance simply unimaginable in scientific discourse — and there have been some extraordinarily arrogant scientists.

– Sam Harris, Letters To A Christian Nation

Part of Michael’s response…

Harris has faith and arrogance of his own and his assessment of the Christian willingness to dispose others to hell for disagreement is a caricature (with plenty of historical support unfortunately), but he has more of a sense of the utter shock that is the Gospel announcement than most evangelical Christians. The message that God has taken an interest in this tiny world, and in any one of us, is beyond outrageous. It’s mind-boggingly incredible. It ought to stop us in our tracks in astonishment that we are claiming, continually, the absolutely unlikely and stupendously impossible.

Evangelicals have convinced themselves that the light shines in a room where it’s been patently obvious for a long time that we needed some light around here, and Christianity has the best bulb for the job. Scripture tells us that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it.


Sam Harris is right to point out the unlikelihood that such a story is anything other than a delusional mythology. Our own Gospel tells us the same story: sin had created a chasm between God and his creatures that renders the likelihood of God having anything to do with us ridiculously comic. We ought to be laughing at it ourselves, because it simply shouldn’t be. It is amazing grace indeed.

Read the entire post here.