I thank God that we belong to a church family that has a wonderfully balanced, comprehensive approach to life and faith. I become very concerned when I hear and see people who seem to be wanting to overemphasise one aspect of life and faith at the expense of that balanced perspective. For example, I hear preachers and people from time to time say words like “Only preach Jesus” or “Jesus only”. Our mission is clearly to make disciples for Jesus, but I sometimes wonder what is meant by the words “Jesus only”. I cannot help but be concerned that there is the danger that implicity could be a dilution of our comprehensive mission: perhaps a reaction against overemphasis on doctrine, or concentration on lifestyle issues or even legalism?
The potential problems I see are these. First, the fullness of the Godhead is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Our life and faith must relate to the fullness of God, not only to Jesus in His incarnation, as precious as He is to us. Second, Jesus was and is multidimensional. You and I cannot talk about Jesus without understanding His life and His teachings—all of them. And beyond that, the story of salvation revealed by revelation through the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit must be taken seriously if we are serious about authentic faith.
Simple faith is beautiful. Simplistic slogans may be hazardous to Christian health.
I guess what I am saying is that a vibrant, exciting faith journey is a wonderful thing that God intends for all of us. But beware of being too simplistic. Simple faith is beautiful. Simplistic slogans may be hazardous to Christian health.
Dr Barry Oliver is president of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.