Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gospel Self-Esteem: Imago Dei

He was on his kick. They all had one. Something they had studied and come to the definitive answer on, usually it was related to a cultural issue or the rapture.

This particular evangelist had studied Scripture and found out that it never said anything about self-esteem. Loving yourself was bad. We don’t need more value. We’re disgusting sinners. We just need Jesus.

Truth mixed with error. That’s the danger zone. Flat out error--easier to spot. Error peppered truth--more difficult to spot. Truth: we’re sinners. We do need Jesus. Error: understanding our value as humans isn’t important.

There’s also some truth in the fact that our self-esteem culture has created a herd of piglets longing for the milk of cultural acceptance. We must affirm and reduce negativity to nil. The problem though isn’t seeking value (imago Dei aka the gospel story) but finding the value in the wrong place (cultural affirmation).

This evangelist’s problem was a truncated gospel. His story starts with the fall. There’s no room for creation. There’s no room for God creating mankind in his image. No imago Dei. And if there’s no room for creation, there’s no room for re-creation. No hope.

The gospel starts with creation. Starts with God’s creative words. Starts with “It’s good.” Starts with dust formed. You can’t fall without first starting somewhere good.

So let’s talk about the fall, but not before we talk about God’s creative purpose in the beginning. And let’s not end with fall. Let’s plant ourselves on the hope of Jesus Christ. Let’s anchor ourselves on his finished work and his final return where he’ll make all the sad things come untrue.

That’s gospel self-esteem. Imago Dei.

1 comment:

Ben Thorp said...

Amen!

(Although FWIW I have also seen much of the opposite error, where Imago Dei is presented as the antithesis of total depravity, as if you're given a choice to believe in either one or the other, which leads to a form of semi-Pelagianism which is rife)