More Bob Robinson on the gospel… good stuff. D.A. Carson, Dallas Willard, and Leonard Sweet: whose view of the gospel can you align with? One aspect of EC thinking is that the gospel is about more than just the leading damnation-bypass system… and that’s not the most significant part, it’s in some ways just a byproduct. The gospel is about relationship.
From John 3 we got the phrase “born again” …and the phrase has been flogged ad nauseum (I want to ban it) but we miss the point that Nicodemus misunderstood what Jesus said. The Greek is a pun, Jesus said “born from above” whereas Nicodemus thought he said “born again” and that’s what the exchange is about. The misunderstanding is almost humorous, like the “cute” stories we tell about kids who say something that’s funny only because we’re glimpsing something through their eyes about how they see the world when they haven’t had some particular aspect explained to them yet.
Why get into this here? Because I think it reveals something about how we see the gospel. “Born again” implies something is redone, remade, rebirthed, and that’s the main point. Without saying that’s false, what “born from above” implies is a shift in perspective to an above / below one (a theme in John’s Gospel) where we are relating to God, the one who came from above. (Whereas the other Gospels show how Jesus was born of human lineage but was God and ascended to Heaven, in John Jesus is the pre-existent Word that came down from above… this gospel is written as an epiphany.) This above/below relationship is restored when we are “born from above.”
It’s about relationship, which means that the gospel is less about escaping Hell than it is about restoring relationship with Heaven.