Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Whose Kingdom? Whose Glory?

John McWhorter, in his book Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music, and Why We Should, Like, Care, argues that the day of oratory and rhetorical skill is all but over. Jesus’ disciples would probably have agreed after hearing his less-than-rousing speech following his "triumphant" entry into Jerusalem (on a donkey).

After years of insisting that "My hour has not yet come," our Lord finally declared, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified" (John 12:23). At long last, the majesty would be restored to languishing Israel, and her preeminence among the nations would once again be apparent. The crowd was primed for revolt, and a mere call to arms from their Messiah surely would have resulted in a great military exploit to overthrow Rome and put their King in his rightful place.

What they got, however, was a cryptic illustration about a seed needing to die in order to grow, and then a bunch of morbid stuff about losing their lives and carrying crosses (vv. 24-26). "What could this possibly have to do with the kingdom?" the scribes, Pharisees, and proto-Dispensationalists must have been asking.

And we’re still asking. The American church wants glory, relevance, and her "best life now." The cross may have been fine for Jesus to die on, but not us (we have our inalienable rights, you know).

So here's my question: Is it a "theology of glory" to expect the American church to surrender its "theology of glory"?