Peter, Do You Love Me?

Brilliant stuff from Nick at Restless and Reforming:

Jesus: Simon, do you love me?

Peter: Yes Lord, you know that I love you.

Jesus: Fight injustice, homophobia, racism, you name it. Simon Peter, do you love me?

Peter: You know all things Lord, you know that I love you.

Jesus: Fight poverty. Don’t let anyone fool you when they say you’ll always have the poor with you. You can make a difference Pete. Do you love me?

Peter: You know that I love you.

Jesus: Burn out my sheep for the glory of God. I’m telling you Peter, one day the world will love you for these things…

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

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  1. Don’t forget making sure babies never die, Pete, and that Adam and Steve are to remain permanantly single. The culture of life is counting on you and great reward awaits those who defeat the culture of death.

    • Adam,

      I don’t think Zrim is being sarcastic, or indifferent, but just pointing out that the religious left (e.g. the emergent folk) are no more exhausting than the religious right.

  2. Okay, I understand.

    I just don’t believe that it is good practice to use serious issues somewhat flippantly to prove one’s point.

    Of course, I myself would actually become much more exhausted by hanging around/dealing with the emergent crowd, if not solely due to their lazy, liberal culture. I think that Trueman posted a great piece recently dealing with that source of irritation as it has crept into the church – soul patches, unwashed clothes, and all that.

  3. AJM,

    I hear you. RSC points out what was certainly one point I meant to make. But, also, I suppose my comment was less a way to trivialize certain issues than a way to perhaps express my own frustration that a skeptical hand is never raised against things like the two sacred cows of religio-cultural conservatism; it’s just allowed to press forward no questions asked and nothing but support lent. I find it odd that Calvinist-Protestants (protesters!) of all people just fall in line.

    And I do find it interesting that my comment was chastised as flippant, etc. while the implicit suggestion that quests usually associated with cultural progressivism are ill-conceived gets a pass. I can’t help but wonder if your comment implies that the problem with some social gospels is that they aren’t the right ones.

  4. Dear Zrim

    I would just add that there is a profound difference between the “social-gospel” of classical liberalism (which omitted orthodox doctrines of justification, the atonement, etc. altogether), and the applications made of the true Gospel to society as the latter comes into contact with Christianity.

    It is an historical fact, about which one can find articles even in the journals produced by secular Greco-Roman university studies, that Christianity radically changed the cultural face of the East for the better. As an application of its understanding of the Gospel, the early Church transformed the treatment of children, helped put a stop to infanticide, promoted fidelity in marital relations, and the like. They did not view this as a “social gospel” but as a Christian duty flowing out from their understanding of their redemption in Christ. This injunction is clearly found in portions of the apostolic writings as well.

    I am not arguing for an obscuration of the Gospel by way of political involvement – we do not want to lose our salt for influence in D.C! However, neither should we make the opposite mistake in rejecting any attempts at civic influence because of what may have obscured the Gospel and the spiritual nature of the Church in the past.

    I realize that this is all a bit more serious than that at which the article mentioned above was taking a jab, so I will probably stop here. Just remember that we must try to avoid swinging too far on the pendulum in reaction to some of our evangelical problems!

  5. AJM,

    I understand but take great, skeptical exception to the read on history you seem to have; it sure paints a nice picture for us and our intentions, but I suppose I am way too Calvinist to swallow it. That’s the thing about “historical facts,” they have to be interpreted, which is where it gets dicey.

    I also don’t accept the basic premise that the gospel has an obvious implication for and direct bearing on the cares of this world. It is not obvious to me, for example, why justification has more to do with a narrow band of human concerns over against others. If the gospel has a direct and obvious bearing on the cares of the world it seems to me one cannot draw the sort of narrow lines you are but instead it must be as wide as possible. (Indeed, when it comes to the so-called “culture of life” I find Catholicism a far batter program than confessional Protestantism, since the former seems a wide interpretation while the latter is extremely narrow.)

    And I understand the temptation to cry foul on the Liberals because they gutted historical religion. But one who hasn’t still has to justify the idea that true religion has an eye toward the cares of this world. If it does, I am not clear on why the inside-out transformationists or outside-in theonomists are wrong. More than that, I am not clear on why Jesus stayed on the Cross.

  6. Zrim,

    It’s not my take, it’s the take of scholarship that has been published in secular, academic journals. I would give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to interpreting the facts, especially knowing that they are not coming at them with a particularly “religious” bias.

    It’s been a number of years since my undergrad studies, so I couldn’t recall for you the exact titles and articles, but I used to go up to the journals stacks at a large, public university, and read this stuff as a break from my music studies. It’s there if you have the time to dig around for it.

    As for your second point, I don’t have time to conduct a Bible study in a comments box, and some of what you wrote was a little unclear, so I am not certain that my comments would be all that helpful. Suffice it to say, there are clear implications, and several direct instructions, given in the epistles that would have a bearing on the culture in which the church lives. If you are committed to your position, I am not going to take the effort to work against it, but if you are a thoughtful reader of Scripture, you may be able to some of these conclusions on your own.

    I must bow out for the weekend.

    Living in the Grace of the Gospel,


  7. It’s not my take, it’s the take of scholarship that has been published in secular, academic journals. I would give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to interpreting the facts, especially knowing that they are not coming at them with a particularly “religious” bias.

    AJM (I realize you’re gone and I am a clanging symbol),

    If the journal stacks at your large, public university were anything like mine they probably showed that those who presume religion to be useful to the world’s betterment have an equally pleasing track record. In other words, for every infant a Christian plucked off exposure heaps there were just as many pagans making sure others were fed and clothed.

    If history (religious or secular) can yield that Christianity “changed the world for the better” I don’t see why it the same couldn’t be said for any other religion, unless we should believe that modern Islam really hasn’t morally netted plenty of at-risk youth? And my Hindi and Mormon neighbors sure make my neighborhood a nice place to live, what with all their family values and such. (In fact, the Hindi around here sure give the Dutch Reformed a run for their transformationist money.) Part of my skepticism owes to the implied notion here that Christianity did/does something temporally nobody else can figure out. Not only is that clearly not true, and not only does maintaining that it does make Christianity a mere equal amongst many, but the only way Christianity can be distinct is if we maintain is does something eternally that nothing else does. I realize that is to ask folks to trust in what they cannot see, but I think that is precisely the point.

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