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June 17, 2007 / Daniel

The Bare Minimum Requirements

In Dallas Willard’s book The Divine Conspiracy (which is a great book BTW), he talks about how we have reduced the gospel to the bare minimum requirements.  In other words, evangelicals tend to argue about what’s the bare minimum thing that God requires me to do in order to be saved.  If I do this one thing (i.e. the sinner’s prayer, walking the aisle, believing the right stuff), I’m a Christian.  

The question is, “What one thing do I need to do in order to go to heaven when I did?”  The problem is that this is the wrong question.  A better question is, “How do I get to know God?”  You see, salvation is not primarily about avoiding hell and getting a more comfortable afterlife.  Salvation is about knowing Jesus Christ and having a relationship with Him (John 17:3).  

I think that the church needs to do a better job explaining this especially to young people.  I just spent a week at camp.  The whole week we hear that if we trust Christ or ask Him into our heart, we get to go to heaven and not hell.  Sweet!  Who doesn’t want that?  Once when I was 15, I was teaching VBS for our church for the first time.  At the end of my talk, I asked the kids to bow their heads and close their eyes.  Then I asked,  “Who wants to go to heaven when they die?  If you want to, raise your hand, and one of the leaders will pray with you to receive Christ.”  Then to my amazement, almost everyone raised their hand.  At the time, I thought, “Revivial! Mass Conversions!”  However, as I’ve grown older, I started to realize how that question was really misleading. 

Salvation is not primarily about fire insurance; it’s about knowing the Savior. 



Leave a Comment
  1. Matthew C / Jun 17 2007 8:33 pm

    I agree with you that the Gospel has wider implicatiosn than escaping hell.

    However, if going to hell is the worst possible thing that could happen to a person, we need to be very clear about what a person must do to escape it.

    That is to trust in Jesus Christ for eternal life.

    God Bless


  2. ubergoober / Jun 17 2007 9:21 pm

    I’m currently preaching through the Sermon on the Mount (today was Mt. 6:9-10). It seems to me that the focus of the Lord’s prayer is to get God. Pursuit of the benefits (riches, comfort, escaping punishment (eternal or otherwise)) must all be way back on the list of desires for the diligent seeker of God.

    Our reward is not the benefits (although they are extravagant and lavished upon us), but rather the Giver of the gifts. When we choose anything less than God as our prize, we have chosen broken cisterns over the fountain of living waters. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid.

  3. Dennis / Jun 18 2007 1:11 am

    Hey Daniel,

    That’s some great stuff.

    If I may add, knowing the Savior is not about Salvation. Knowing the Savior is about the meaning of life.

    We were created to know the Savior. We were created for Him to love Him.

    The core of our existence revolves around knowing Jesus Christ.

    Salvation is the inheritance of knowing and loving Christ Jesus through faith and obedience.

    Anyhow, great thoughts as always.

    Happy Father’s Day.

  4. Modern Day Magi / Jun 18 2007 6:14 am


    Salvation is not about what you know, but rather WHO you know.

    Not fire insurance indeed!



  5. fiester25 / Jun 23 2007 4:28 pm

    Modern Day Magi,

    Thanks for reading my blog.

    I really like yours. Keep up the good work.


  6. Matthew C / Jun 23 2007 6:30 pm

    MDM, nice to see you again.

    If Daniel does not mind my asking,:

    You say it is Who you know not What you know.

    Supposing a person believes a prosperity teacher and thus has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to provide a luxurious lifestyle, but is unsure of whether she will go to heaven. Will she be redeemed?

    Such a person has faith in the Who, that is the Lord, but her faith is for the wrong What.

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