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Gospel of the Kingdom, The
An interview by Keith Giles, August 2005.

Keith Giles- “Dallas, can you explain the difference between the Gospel of the Kingdom and the more popular, Gospel of the Atonement for us?”

Dallas Willard – “The Gospel of the Kingdom is that you can now live in the Kingdom of God and the Gospel of the Atonement is that your sins can be forgiven. Those are the, respective, ‘Good Newses’, I suppose.”

KG- “So, are you saying there are two Gospels? Are my sins not forgiven if I live in the Kingdom? Or am I not in the Kingdom of God if I accept the Gospel of the Atonement?”

DW- “The way it practically works out is this, if you have the Gospel of the Atonement, and that’s all you’ve heard, the rest of your life you will run on your own and you may or may not think of being a disciple of Jesus or of obeying him or of devoting your life to the Kingdom of God. You can still do that, but those things are all optional for you. That is where we really stand in our Christian culture today. Anything more than forgiveness of sins, and by that I mean ‘Heaven when you die’, is optional and most of our professed believers now do not know that they can live in the Kingdom of God now.

“By contrast, anyone who is alive in the Kingdom of God now knows that their sins are forgiven because they have the life of Heaven in them now. So Heaven and forgiveness are natural parts of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God whereas discipleship and holiness and power and other scriptural evidences are not a natural part of the Gospel of the Atonement. I want to emphasize that sense of being a natural part.

“Here’s one of the ways I try to help ministers understand this difference. I ask them, ‘Does the Gospel you preach truly lead to discipleship to Jesus?’ and the Gospel of the Kingdom has that natural connection. It’s not trusting the Kingdom, it’s about trusting Jesus and living in the Kingdom with Him. So then, for example, the New Birth is the birth from above and as Jesus was telling Nicodemus, “You must be born again..”, now that’s about new life that isn’t just Atonement. One of the strange things that has happened is that verses like John 3:16 is treated as if it were a forgiveness verse whereas it is really a new life verse. The whole context is about having the life of The Kingdom. Nicodemus came saying he could see it and Jesus said, ‘No, you can’t see it’, and helped him to understand why he couldn’t.

“So, it’s the idea of a natural part of The Kingdom containing forgiveness, and if you’re trusting Jesus, and not just his death on the cross alone, but the person of Jesus, then life in the Kingdom comes with that and, as a natural part, also comes discipleship, forgiveness, all of the things that any good theology would cover.”

KG- “So, it seems to me that the reason why the Gospel of the Atonement is the most readily accepted and understood version of the Gospel today, especially in America, is because it’s sort of the fruit of the style of Evangelism we have employed.

DW- “Yes, that’s absolutely right. Now the reason for that, however, is the theology that’s in back of it. We do not evangelize for disciples, we evangelize to make Christians and then, maybe, later try to raise the issue of discipleship. Frankly, that’s like ‘bait and switch’ in advertising. You’ll hear people express that to their pastors and say, ‘Why are you talking about discipleship? I’m right with God. Why are you talking about obedience?’ It’s like I talk about in one of the chapters of my book about an upright citizen of the Church who came to his pastor and said ‘I’m going to divorce my wife because I’ve fallen in love with someone else’ and the pastor, of course, turned purple and said, ‘You can’t do this’, and the man said, ‘Of course I can, you’ve said that Jesus will forgive my sins if I believe he died on the cross.’ There’s honestly no response to this from the theology of atonement only.”

KG- I was teaching on this recently in our home group and I had a woman, innocently, not trying to be argumentative, but honestly puzzled with me on the subject who asked me, ‘What would you say to someone if you wanted to evangelize them? If it’s not about going to heaven when you die, then what is it about?’ It just seems that once you diffuse the idea of the Gospel of the Atonement as being an incomplete version of the Gospel, it kind of leaves us unequipped now. So, how do we witness if the language of the Gospel of the Atonement is not part of my script?

DW- That’s really an excellent question and I hope we can get a very clear answer to it because it naturally comes up because of what people have been taught all their lives. The appropriate question then is, ‘If you don’t die tonight what are you going to do tomorrow?’ and the answer should be, ‘I’m going to trust Jesus with all of my life, with everything, and that will allow you to live in the Kingdom of God.’ Now, if you do die tonight you may go to Heaven, but you see most people are not going to die tonight. They, like the rest of us, have to face life tomorrow and the day after and the day after.

“The big question is, ‘Are you going to live life on your own tomorrow and the day after?’ and if you do then you’re not trusting Jesus. The evangelistic question needs to be varied a bit and I use various formulations for it. For example, if it is appropriate I will say to someone, ‘How are you doing with your Kingdom?’ and that usually opens up the discussion about how they’re handling their lives. I will then let them know that there’s a Kingdom they can live in that belongs to Jesus and that if they will turn their lives over to Him, then they will prosper for time and for eternity, in His Kingdom. That’s the difference.

“It opens up a different landscape on evangelism because it turns out that the people that need to hear the Gospel of Jesus the most are the people who are well off and in charge of a lot of things, not just the guy living in the box in the alley, or the person who is living the life of debauchery. All people desperately need to know about the Kingdom of the Heavens and their life in it. So, that’s how you evangelize, you call people to discipleship by announcing the availability of the Kingdom now. That’s what Jesus did and then when people understood him they also understood that He was the King.”

“The simple Gospel is; ‘Jesus is available to trust and what you need to do is to trust Jesus’. Once you begin to teach this fully then you begin to realize how great Jesus is and that He is actually running the World and that the Cosmos is under His charge. So then, the invitation is to become involved as a disciple.

“One way I try to express what Salvation is is to say ‘It is participating in the life that Jesus is now living on Earth.’ That is why Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 15, for example, ‘If Christ is not risen, your faith is in vain and you’re still in your sins’.

KG- “Right, and also that “ is not I who lives but Christ who lives in me..”

DW- “Exactly. So, it’s participating in the life that Jesus is now living. Christ in me, the hope of Glory. That was the message to the Gentiles, as reported in Colossians, and that’s the message to everyone. The “Hope of Glory” is the living Christ in you and that’s another way of describing life in the Kingdom of God. KG- “I have so many possible questions and directions we could go from here….so, I’ll just pick one. I’m curious how and when and in what way did this distinction of the Gospel of the Kingdom become clear to you? Have you just always understood this? Were you raised in a church that taught this? Or did you discover this over time?”

DW- “Well I can tell you very easily about that. First of all, anyone who goes through a theological education will be given a version of the Gospel and it will be said that it is different from the Gospel that we’re supposed to preach. On the Liberal side, the Kingdom of God was taken to be a condition of society towards which they were supposed to work. Both Left and Right, theologically, share the idea that Jesus was going to bring the Kingdom of God, but he didn’t. So, the Liberal version was that Jesus expected a political order to emerge among the Jewish people and instead they rejected it and so he was wrong because Jesus thought the Kingdom was going to come and it didn’t. The Conservative version was the one that was most common among the people in Jesus’ own day, namely that there was going to appear the King and the Kingdom would come, politically, because the King appeared. Well, the King appeared on the cross and so that’s where you get the dispensational teaching. You see it in the old Scofield Bible and elsewhere, the idea that we were then put into this odd thing called “The Church Age”. So, they believe that the Kingdom will come at the end of the Church Age and that’s where you get your Left Behind books and so on.

“There’s no New Testament scholar who would ever tell you that the Gospel of Jesus was about anything other than the Kingdom of God. What they don’t understand is how that connects to the development in the book of Acts, and later in the Church, where people come to understand The Kingdom through Jesus and that’s where, if you do an inductive study on The Kingdom of God in the book of Acts, or of “The Kingdom”, you’ll see how that develops. So, for example, in 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul spells out the Gospel he preaches, it is presenting The Kingdom, in the form of Jesus. That’s the way we’re supposed to do it. We’re not supposed to say, ‘Won’t it be wonderful when the Kingdom of God comes?’ or whatever.

“My theological education took all that in and I began to serve as a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, in the Church, as a young man. As I did that I began to see something strange. I spent a lot of time trying to get people to come to church. I looked at Jesus and I saw that He spent a lot of His time trying to get away from people.”

KG- (laughs) “Because he had so many people following Him around?”

DW- “Absolutely. When you read the Gospels you see people walking on one another in Luke to just get to hear Him and be around Him. It wasn’t just a signs and wonders show, they came because of His teaching. Publicans and sinners thronged around Him, flocked to Him and to hear Him present the Kingdom of God because, again, that’s all Jesus talked about. But it wasn’t a political thing, it was a reality that is here now and you can, by trusting Him, live in that Kingdom.”

“So, all of these zany things He talks about; the birds and the flowers and so forth, that’s the presence of the Kingdom and that’s what He taught. So, I knew I must find out about this. I knew I must preach what Jesus preached. Although I was far from having His effect. Once I began preaching this way, then this issue of trying to pump people up and come to church and trying to get people to do things, that just disappeared.

“I began to say to people, ‘The real issue is your life when you’re not in church and what are you going to do with that?’ Now, then if you want to know how to do that you begin to become a disciple of Jesus. You trust Him to the extent that you believe that He knows the best about everything and you want to learn from Him. That means how to run your business, how to run your home, personal relations of all sorts, etc., come under His control and authority. That’s the path of a disciple.

“So, to put that long story simply, I just realized that what Jesus was saying in the Gospels is for us now. But to access it we have to trust Him with our whole life and then the whole New Testament lights up and the great passages like Ephesians chapter 3 and 4 and Galatians 5 and Colossians 3, all those you suddenly realize, ‘Well, this is talking about life in the Kingdom of God’. So, it ceases to be Laws and becomes an expression of the life you live in Christ.”

KG- “So, forgive me if this seems like a loaded question but, is discipleship to Christ necessary for salvation?”

DW- “If you mean life in the Kingdom, it is. If you mean going to heaven when you die, I think a lot of people are going to be in Heaven who don’t understand this. I think they may have to wear a dunce cap for several million years but uh…”

KG- (laughs)

DW- “…but I think people are going to go to heaven in different conditions. I do think that what Paul the Apostle says, that ‘whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’ includes that, and you don’t have to understand everything perfectly to be on Jesus’ side. See, our situation now is one where we are under a severe mis-teaching and I don’t think that people under that teaching are going to be automatically condemned for it. God knows their hearts and I’m sure that many people who wouldn’t know how to talk Kingdom language if their lives depended on it will be in heaven. But of course the question that faces us is, ‘What are we going to do until we go?’ and is that all just lost?

“Many people treat the time before you die as if somehow it had nothing to do with God. God has nothing to do with your life here, we’re just hanging on, trying not to sin and we all fail and we have a whole teaching that you never make any progress, and that you don’t have to make any progress, because you’re saved by Grace. Grace, to them, relates only to forgiveness it doesn’t relate to life.”

KG- “This leads right into what I was going to ask you next which is the whole fascination we seem to have, as a culture, with Grace. Although, it seems that the version of Grace that we’re so enamored with isn’t the complete, Biblical version of Grace.”

DW- “It has almost nothing to do with it. But, see again, that follows this basic line, which I believe is inspired by evil to keep our lives out of touch with God. If you do an inductive study of Grace, in the Bible, you would never come to the idea that it has only to do with forgiveness. I have heard nationally-known speakers say, and these are the exact words, ‘Grace is only for guilt’. Now, if you take that and, for example the words of Paul the Apostle in Ephesians, “..unto me, who is the least of all saints, is this Grace given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”. Now just take that context. Does this mean that all that is involved here is forgiveness? Not at all. What Paul was referring to is that Grace was a gift of a ministry of life to the Gentiles. The general idea that fits all the contexts of Grace found in the both the Old and the New Testaments, is that Grace is God acting in my life to accomplish what I cannot accomplish on my own. Now then, if you take that idea and you go back to all the passages about Grace you will see that suddenly things begin to light up. Paul in Colossians 15 is talking about he was the last one who witnessed the resurrected Jesus. He says he doesn’t deserve to be an Apostle, even though he was late, he says, “I have labored more abundantly than they all” and he catches himself then and adds, “yet not I but the Grace of God that is in me.” Now, that wasn’t forgiveness. That was God acting in Paul and then you watch his life and you see what that means. So that when Paul acted he knew that God was acting with him and through him. Again, Grace is God acting in my life to accomplish what I cannot on my own. Of course, it’s much bigger than that because it also has, not just an individual but a social presence in history. Now you come to the very famous passage in 2 Peter 3:18- “Grow in Grace” (and that means to grow in the presence of God in your life, doing what you cannot do on your own), “and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. Now, knowledge, Biblically, always refers to interactive relationship and that’s Grace. So now, that I would say that, of all the things that we have to go back and re-do the vocabulary, to get it right, Grace is the big thing and the next thing is Salvation, or what does it mean to be saved?

“Once you get those right then you see a picture of a life lived in the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God is God in action. It’s God reigning. I often say it’s where what God wants done is done. Now all that comes together and you get a coherent picture of what it means to trust Jesus, enter the Kingdom, be saved and live by Grace.” KG- “Thank you so much for taking the time to go through that description, that clarification, of Grace. I agree with you that we have grossly misunderstood Grace and then you said the second thing we need to understand is Salvation. Could you do the same thing for this concept also?”

DW- “Right. What it means to be saved is to be living a life of interaction with Jesus and that’s the only description of Eternal Life in the New Testament is John 17:3 where Jesus says, in his prayer, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent”. Now again, “Know” does not mean “to know about him”.

KG- “It’s not about knowledge”.

DW- “Biblically ‘Knowledge’ is interactive relationship. As Mary said to the angel, “But how can this be since I know not a man?” See that word ‘know’ is different than knowledge. What she meant is that she had not had sexual intercourse with a man, that is called ‘Carnal Knowledge’.

KG- “So, it’s an intimacy that conceives something then?”

DW- “It most certainly does. The intimacy is one of interaction. When the prophet says, on the behalf of Jehova to Israel, ‘You only have I known or all the peoples on the Earth’, he’s not saying he doesn’t know “about” the others, he’s saying ‘You’re the only one’s that I’ve entered into a covenantal relationship with, an interactive relationship’. So eternal life then is an interactive relationship with God. That’s what Salvation is.

“Now what about forgiveness? That’s a natural part of that interactive relationship when you trust Jesus you trust him for everything, including forgiveness. But God’s point of view, as Paul says in Romans about Abraham, ‘He believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness’, but if you trust Jesus Christ, God would rather have that than sinlessness. When God saw Abraham’s confidence in Him, God said, ‘I like this better’ and to be accounted as righteousness means that the proper relationship between a human being and God is now resumed. That is an ongoing relationship in which progress in understanding and practice of holiness and joy and obedience and all these things come together as a part of a life. So, you don’t get a little thing that says you get heaven when you die and you’re left with the option of saying, ‘Well, shall I obey?’ and then of course if you say, ‘I shall obey’ the next step is ‘I learn to obey’ because that isn’t done for me, though we do it with God it’s not something we do on our own and so that, too, is Grace. When the person comes to the place where they can actually love their enemies, that is Grace. But it’s not passive. That’s where we have to learn that true Grace is not opposed to effort. It’s opposed to earning, but not to effort. Earning is an attitude but effort is action.”

KG- “There is a connection then, as you describe Grace as ‘God helping me to accomplish the things I cannot accomplish on my own’…”

DW- “I would say, ‘God acting in my life..’, the wording there is very important.”

KG- “Ok. So, it seems that this is the necessary fuel for the spiritual formation of a person.”

DW- “Spiritual Formation is a word for the process you go through in a life.”

KG- “So, Spiritual Formation should not be optional. It is a natural process that would occur if you were completely trusting Christ.”

DW- “That’s exactly right. It’s the process of actually trusting Christ. If you really trust Christ then He will be your teacher and you will be His student. Where will He teach you? About everything that is going on in your life. You will come to the place where, as Colossians 3:17 says, ‘Whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father..’”

KG- “It seems that, for some people, the Spiritual Disciplines are too heavy. It’s like, ‘Fasting and Solitude are such a drudgery’ to most of us.”

DW- “No see, that is a person who, whether they know it or not, they are still living their life on their own. So, they come to something like these disciplines and they say, ‘Now this doesn’t fit into my plans, I couldn’t do this, or I don’t need to do this’, and it’s because they are living their life on their own. That of course is the basic sin, living your life your way, on your terms.”

KG- “So, in this case a complete surrender has not taken place?”

DW- “That’s right. Of course, they haven’t been taught what that would mean. They haven’t been given an opportunity to do that. So, it’s almost natural that they would be in that position.

“See, the ordinary preacher, when he goes to his church what he’s actually facing as he looks out at his congregation is a wall of unbelief. Now, of course you might say, it’s well-intentioned unbelief, and it is. Most of the folks you’re dealing with in churches, they have head knowledge of a lot of stuff. For example, they know there’s a Trinity perhaps but it has no connection with their lives. They never think, ‘I’m living in a Trinitarian Universe’, and that’s why it does no goods for ministers to moan and groan about the lack of involvement or obedience, about how they have to keep entertaining people so they’ll come back next week and keep giving and so on. That’s the situation these ministers are in. They’ve now accepted that as normal. Whereas that’s not normal.”

KG- “No. That’s not what Jesus works so hard for and died on the cross for and rose again for. Not to create this kind of mediocrity.”

DW- “Absolutely. We can sing a song about ‘Joy unspeakable and full of Glory” but nobody’s got it and the rest of the things that are talked about in scripture are missing. Even the social issues are fundamental to the Kingdom; loving our neighbor as ourself and so on, but they are not additional things we’re trying to tack on, they are more expressions of the kind of life that is moving in us appropriately under our discipleship to Jesus.”

KG- “I think we touched on this a little bit the last time we spoke, but it seems that the other factor is, not just that it’s not being preached in our churches, but it’s also not something that the average Christian could see a role a model for, to help him or her to get an idea for how to live this sort of life. I’m not saying it’s not happening, but I’m suggesting that the idea of mentoring or discipling one another is a bit of a lost art these days. I guess because it isn’t being taught from the pulpit then it therefore also isn’t being practiced either.”

DW- “Well, two things. One is, the kind of so-called fellowship we have in our churches does not allow people to know one another. If it did, they might actually find some people who are remarkably exemplifying life in the Kingdom of God. Second thing, we do have cases at a distance, for example people like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, or Billy Graham, or the late Pope, and I’m not talking about perfection here. That’s one thing you really have to stay away from in this discussion. We’re not talking about perfection, we’re talking about doing a lot better. The fact is, there are many people that Christians know at a distance that exemplify life in the Kingdom. They recognize this. They know this. They may even have to travel to Calcutta to be with Mother Teresa, and I’ve met many people who have made that trip, but they’re not going to do what she does. They come back and they talk about her, and maybe they are different in some respects, but they don’t do what she does. The same way you go to Francis of Assisi and all these people talk about him and what he did but you don’t see anyone doing what St. Francis did. At a distance we have these exemplars. Jesus Himself is “The” exemplar. We know about Paul and others in the New Testament, and sometimes with their imperfections because perfection is something you have to put out of your mind. You have to think in terms of learning to do the things that Jesus said to do. The models are there. The problem is, Keith, we have this automatic theological adjuster in our minds that says, ‘That’s not for me, that’s for special people’.

One of the most touching things I observe, as I come across people who have read Brother Lawrence’s book on Practicing Presence of God and immediately they translate that into feeling at peace and being calm and so on. They don’t translate that into obedience. They don’t look at the life that Brother Lawrence lived as essentially a servant in the kitchen and apply that to themselves. That’s because they have this little theological adjuster, it’s like one of these dimmer switches on the wall where it has a knob and you can turn it down. So, they turn it up so they can see Brother Lawrence but when it comes to themselves they turn it down, and they’ve accepted that, see? The main reason why they’ve accepted that is because they’ve accepted the idea that Salvation is about forgiveness of sins.”

KG- “Yes, I agree.”

DW- “Now on the Liberal side, they don’t talk about sin or heaven when you die, they don’t even talk about that. They talk about getting involved in social issues and then if you’re really serious you’ll join Sojourners and help out in the soup lines and protesting the war, and all sorts of things like that. But they’re not going to put their lives on the line for that. They have a mild little version of what they would call discipleship which is about being engaged, or at least concerned about, social issues.

“Both of these, in the whole spectrum, basically leave your life untouched. We need to communicate that, what you’re doing now is where God wants to be in your life and you can invite Him in and begin to expect Him to act, and you will know the Kingdom of God, you will know God in action, you will know Christ, and you will be inwardly transformed, progressively, by spiritual formation, as a disciple who is one who is learning to live his life as Jesus would lead his life is Jesus were that disciple.”

KG- “What I want to ask, now that we’ve identified this condition, what’s been going on in American Christian Culture, how do we turn this ship around?”

DW- “By preaching. This is really the heart of the matter and it’s very simple. I say this over and over to people, to pastors, ‘Just start with Matthew and just preach what Jesus preached’. Now that’s going to really jerk you around. You have to avoid things like going to your church and saying, ‘We’re going to keep doing things the same but now we’re going to really mean it’. That’s really what they think, but as long as they do that they’re really going to get nowhere. Spiritual formation, as a hope, will flame out within just a few years unless people understand that they really are doing something different than they’ve done before. So, I say to anyone who asks, ‘What do we do?’ I just suggest that you just start and teach what Jesus taught and begin to put your own life into it and progressively you will see people respond. It will take a little while to realize that you really are saying and doing something different. Then when they do that you’ll see various reactions, just like the Parable of the Sower, some people will say, ‘You’re not preaching the Truth anymore, brother’, or maybe that you’re teaching salvation by works..”

KG- “Yeah, that’s usually the first comment that rises up.”

DW- “So, you have to, as a Pastor, you have the Grace of God with you to deal with that. You have to show people that Grace doesn’t equal passivity, we still do things. My background is Baptist and I like to rib them a little bit so I’ll say, ‘We’ll preach to you for an hour telling you you can’t do anything to be saved and then sing to you for an hour trying to get you to do something to be saved”. It’s really confusing to tell you the truth.

“So, the pastor, as he preaches will begin to react in different ways. In nearly every case, if that pastor does his work from the Bible, the people will be joyously won over to what he is doing and they will say, within a short period of time, ‘Yes, we want to live in the Kingdom. We know what trusting Jesus means now. We want to make disciples. We want to be disciples. We want to teach people how to do everything He said’, but you can’t go there and start. You can’t go into the church and say ‘Now we’re all going to be disciples. If you’re not a disciple you’re not one of us’, and so forth. That’s just terribly misguided behavior and it doesn’t come from the love of Jesus. So, you accept the transition and you stay with it and eventually your people will come around, but you have to give them time to replace this whole string of concepts we’ve talked about like Salvation and Grace, and so on. The way to go about it is through teaching the Bible.

“Here’s what I found out years ago, and if I hadn’t I would’ve been out of the business thirty or forty years ago, and it’s this; You don’t have to make it happen. The little parable that Jesus tells in Mark about the farmer that goes out and sows the seed and then takes a nap? There’s a little phrase there that says, ‘the farmer knoweth not how this works’. There’s a plant coming up out of the dirt and pretty soon there’s something edible there. But although the farmer doesn’t know how it happens, you can be sure it’s going to happen and that takes the load off of you. You don’t have to make this happen. This is one of the most important thing for pastors to understand. Don’t try to get people to do anything, just speak the Word of the Gospel, live as a disciple, lovingly teach, be with people, and it will happen.”

KG- “It’s funny, last night I was getting ready for bed and I was reading a chapter from A.W. Tozer’s book “The Knowledge of the Holy”..”

DW- “Oh you can’t beat that!”

KG- “Yeah, it’s a wonderful book. There was a paragraph here that goes along with what you’re saying…if you don’t mind me reading this to you, ‘When viewed from the perspective of eternity, the most critical need of this hour may well be that the Church should be brought back from her long Babylonian captivity, and the name of God be Glorified in her again, as of old. Yet we must not think of the Church as an anonymous body, a mystical religious abstraction. We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing. The matter, therefore, is for each of us, a personal one. Any forward step in the Church must begin with the individual.’”

DW- “That’s absolutely correct. The Church is a pretty ragged bunch of people and actually one of the surest signs that the Church is on the wrong path is when it tries not to be.”

KG- (laughs)

DW- “I’ve seen Churches die when they try to go around the neighborhood to collect the right sorts of people, when the wrong sorts of people were right under the shadow of the building but they would not reach out to them and say, ‘It’s ok for you to come. Jesus accepts you and we do too.’ Of course, Jesus got into more trouble for hanging out with the wrong kind of people than almost anything else, but of course those were the ones who were happy to hear. Those were the ones who were breaking down the wall to get in.”

KG- “That’s why Jesus had the response that it’s the sick that need a doctor. The point being that, all of us are sick and in need of a doctor, it’s just that some of us are more aware of our need for the Physician than others.”

DW- “As Jesus said to the Pharisess, it was because they claimed to see that they were guilty of sin. If they had not claimed to see they would not have been in sin. That’s the problem with the leaders of our churches because they say, ‘We see’, but they are not doing what Jesus says to do. The idea of doing it doesn’t even appear on the horizon of most of those who are leading others. They hammer away on righteousness but often righteousness is defined in terms of culture, (don’t smoke or drink, etc.), than in terms of how you live your life as a disciple of Jesus.”

KG- “Thank you so much, Dallas for taking the time to sit and talk to me about these very important issues. I’m very grateful to you for this.”

DW- “We can talk again.”

KG- “I’ll be in touch.”