In a world where the “God hypothesis” is no longer necessary, today’s Church may offer skeptical Seekers a Jesus Story that no longer connects with their lives. Nevertheless, their honest questions are to be valued and honored by the Church because they keep us honest and make us rethink the relevancy of our faith. Today’s world is asking if there is any Reality to the Jesus about whom we speak, and if so, would he please stand up. It is my contention that faith in God does not depend upon proof of his existence as much as what that God’s attitude is toward us. While the Good News proposed by Christian Faith is that God’s attitude was definitively displayed in Jesus, I am suggesting that our Jesus Story must take the Apostle Paul’s understanding of Reconciliation seriously. God, too, has to pay the price of Sin. He is part of the problem of our alienation and neither we, nor God, can escape its consequences. Therein lies the POWER, I believe, of the Jesus Story to hold the attention of today’s Seeker. Jesus not only died for our sins, he died for God’s Sin as well! Our Sin, was our disobedience. God’s Sin was his Ignorance. It is Paul who, getting his message directly from the Risen Christ, sees this most clearly. Paul wants us to understand that God was in Christ’s life and death reconciling the world to himself not just forgiving us. Unlike the Jesus Story told by today’s Church, Paul sees God’s Grace as much more amazing than mere payment for our peccadilloes.
W. Robert McClelland, author of more than twenty books relating faith to life, is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He studied theology at McCormick Theological Seminary, the University of Edinburgh, and earned his doctoral degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Following a career of college and seminary teaching as well as parish ministry, he was invited to be a Merrill Fellow at Harvard University. He is a nationally exhibited, award winning watercolorist and a Signature membership in the Missouri National Watercolor Society. Together, he and his wife have blessed the world with three magnificent children and nine incredible grandchildren; all of whom agree, are better looking and smarter than he is.