Image by Esmé Fransen

My own theology, and the theology presented here at THEOLOGY21, has had—since its’ inception—a kernel of uncertainty and doubt. While recently cataloging all the pervious articles I have written in the last few years, one resounding theme emerged from my thinking in those formative years: I was uncertain what “the truth” was in a literal sense. Yes, Jesus Christ is Lord—but what that actually meant, how one should live, and the theologies one should believe were all grey. As long as you could say “Jesus Christ is Lord,” there was plenty of room for all. There were no “right” and “wrong” theologies per-say, just a bunch of grey in which we all were wrestling and struggling with this concept of God and Jesus Christ crucified.

Indeed, I would dare say that my relationship with Christ seemed more like a divine wrestling match the likes of Jacob wrestling the angel rather than an intimate relationship so depicted by Christ in his metaphor of the bride and groom. The scripture was muddled and unclear—I did not see Christ as lover but as wrathful husband ready to divorce me every time I fell into sin. He felt distant and impossible to know. When reading through passages of scripture, I saw endless commands which, if not followed, would result in severe punishment. The closest moments I had with Christ were the few and far between when I was being “obedient” and had been fasting. But in recent years, the old attempts are reaching out to this distant God were empty.

Fasting always failed.

My white-knuckled attempt through determination and will-power to climb-up into Christ’s good graces only resulted in utter and complete failure. There was nowhere to go but to sink into a workaholic depression, insisting that we work our fingers to the bone to gain God’s approval, love, and favor. Unless I was radically sacrificing my life on the altar of church service, I was unworthy.

Christ has, however, shown a great beacon of light into my heart and mind and has revealed the Gospel in a whole new way—a gospel of completeness, love, forgiveness, and inclusion. Rather than a works-based gospel, I have come to believe in a grace-based gospel.
I am no longer uncertain but absolutely convinced of this good news and I am not turning back.

I am “burning” my old teachings and stepping into the completed work of Jesus Christ. And while I am not going to literally burn (or in this case “delete”) my old blogs and articles, I will say that they contain many misconceptions and errors. I see them as one might look an interesting museum exhibit. I have come a long way in the last three years. Christ has taken me in new directions and caused incredible transformation.

And while I am headed in a new direction, the project of THEOLOGY21 will still remain relevant. I still have a passion for bringing theology and a relationship with Christ to the streets, using language and image which speaks more clearly to the people of our generation. We stand in an interesting time, as the West shifts into a post-gospel, post-Christian culture. Religious jargon will become fossils and equally nutritious.

A new sweeping movement of the gospel couched in the terms of our culture and swept through communities by the Holy Spirit is coming. But I will not preach a new bondage to religion, exchanging the chains of sin for the chains of church service and religious obligation.

Rather, I will preach a truly “good news”—Jesus Christ loves you. He has always loved you. He took all your sin and failures and died upon your cross by his love. In him we have died and have come to new life, sharing in his very nature having become spotless, holy, and perfect through our union with him.


THEOLOGY21 is a co-op of authors dedicated to renovating theology for a new generation, taking the ancient truths of scripture and theology and speaking to the post-Christian culture of the 21st century. To keep up-to-date on all things THEOLOGY21, Give our Facebook page a “like”, follow our twitter page, add yourself to our email list, or subscribe to our feed!

  • This is amazing news Jon! I virtually teared up when I read it! I would also say that I did not truly begin to grasp what the gospel is until recently. The Holy Spirit lovingly wrecked me a few years ago and then came along side me to help pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding from the ground up–keeping some old materials but replacing it with much that was new. Growing up in church my entire life I am convinced that many Christians do not understand the gospel. It took me 20 years to even scratch the surface. The multifaceted jewel known as the gospel is the most beautiful, mesmerizing, and glorious thing one could ever come to grips with. It is our salvation but is is also our sanctification. We must gladly except what the Triune God has invited us to receive and remain in it!

  • Indeed my friend. For me, Christ dumped the message of completed grace and mercy on me a few months ago and I have been trying to put it all together as I deconstructed what I had always been told and taught was true. In him I have truth, life, a complete mercy and forgiveness, and I already participate in a completed work of sanctification which I have been included in through union with him. AHAH! What bliss and joy! How could I have loved my chains so much for so long….such foolishness.

  • Jesse Martinez

    Dude this rocks! For many years, I tried to fast longer and pray harder and I just couldn’t close the gap between me and God. Until I realized He did that on the cross for me, I could stop trying to do, what He has already done for me.

  • AMEN! So true! HE fasted so we can feast! He entered the desert so we can enter paradise! He took our suffering so that we might filled with bliss in his presence!

  • This gave me chills. You’ve articulated nearly every thought I’ve had on grace vs. works for years much better than I ever could. Feels liberating, doesn’t it?

  • OH SO FREE AND LIBERATED! I feel like the dude in Shawshank Redemption laughing in the rain!

  • Louise

    ‘I did not see Christ as lover but as wrathful husband ready to divorce me every time I fell into sin. He felt distant and impossible to know. When reading through passages of scripture, I saw endless commands which, if not followed, would result in severe punishment.’

    This quote completely describes how I feel at the moment…and when I see God like that, I sure don’t want to spend time with Him or worship. I have been a Christian for 3 years but I have just begun to realise how little I really understand grace. So my question is, how did you manage to truly know Christ, and grasp His unconditional love?

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