P. Diddy and The Kingdom of God: Your Evangelism is Too Small
Diddy’s “Coming Home,” describes his hope for redemption. The refrain says
I’m coming home, I’m coming home! Tell the world I’m coming home.
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday.
I know my kingdom awaits, and they’ve forgiven my mistakes.
The raps make it clear the narrator is ashamed of the way he has treated his kids and girlfriend/wife. In the refrain he longs for his painful memories, the devastating mistakes of his past, to be washed away. He imagines his family waiting, having forgiven his mistakes. The narrator is drowning in the awareness of his own sin.This makes it clear that Ray Comfort is out of touch with reality. The popular author and open-air preacher’s method begins by asking “are you a good person? Have you ever lied? Never? Never in your entire life? Ah! So you HAVE lied. So you’re a liar. Ok, have you ever looked on a woman with lust?” and so on and so forth. His premise, widely shared, is that people do not know they are sinners. This is obviously wrong: Diddy is DROWNING in awareness of his sins. So is everyone else: most people are painfully aware of their own sins, and to rub their faces in it is not being an Evangelist, it is just being a bastard.
Has Diddy come to realize his need for a Savior, and entered into repentence? Nope. He’s only aware of his own sin and guilt. However, I would remind the reader of Gabriel Biel, the author of a text Martin Luther used in Seminary that sparked Luther’s distressing awareness of his own sin. Biel taught that one must recognize their own errors, stop sinning, turn to God, and begin to love God with their whole heart to gain salvation. Luther realized he was incapable of this list, particularly the “stop sinning” part, and this detracted from his ability to love the Creator. In fact, Luther learned to hate God because he thought God oppressed him with a situation he could not overcome. He wrote “I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners and…I was angry with God…(29)” This is BECAUSE Luther was aware of his own sin!
Bad evangelism teaches people to hate God. Luther was aware of his own sin, but unaware of the grace God freely gives, and therefore hated God. Diddy is aware of his own sin, but (presumably) unaware of God’s grace. Tell me, then: what do you expect to happen if an evangelist reminds Diddy of his own sin? He is likely to hate God, just as Luther did.
People need to know there is a kind King who offers amnesty to rebels. Jesus continually proclaimed the arrival of the Kingdom of God. In fact, that’s what the word “gospel” means. We think of it as a summary of the message of Jesus, but that’s only sort of true. Before it was a church word, it was a common Greek word. It meant something like “the wonderful proclamation of the new reign of a king.” So it was common to talk about the gospel of Alexander, as he marched across the world (“the wonderful proclamation that Alexander is now king!”), and dozens of other rulers. THAT is what it means when Mark begins “the gospel of Jesus Christ, who came into the world…” If we would translate meaning instead of words, it would say “Announcement: The Reign of Jesus Christ, who has come into the world is described in this document.” Look up references to the word “gospel” now, and plug that meaning in. It totally fits with Jesus’ motif of “the Kingdom of God is here!”
Now, it is clear what Jesus meant when He discussed the forgiveness of sins: the Kingdom has recaptured this territory, and amnesty is offered to rebels. This is what Diddy needs, not to be reminded of his crimes. He knows he is a criminal, he does NOT know an amnesty has been issued.