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After a long hiatus the RevivalMag podcast is back! This episode we interview Bruxy Cavey, Teaching Pastor of The Meeting House, about his new book "Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Sinners & Saints."
RevivalMag: Today I have a very special guest. He is a guy that I've been following for quite a few years, his name is Bruxy Cavey. He is the Teaching Pastor of The Meeting House, which is one of Canada's largest and most dynamic churches. I have so many friends who go to the meeting House, in various different places around the Greater Toronto Area, and they love it. And Bruxy has a new book called Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Sinners & Saints. He was able to make time to chat with us about the book today. How are you doing Bruxy?
BC: Jonathan I'm doing well! Thanks for letting me hang out with you for a bit.
RevivalMag: Oh, my honour. So, talk to me about Reunion.
BC: Well, you know there are a lot of books out there for Christians to help them learn how to evangelize, or how to talk to their non-Christian friends. But there are precious few books out there that are just written to our non-Christian friends; that can kind of partner with us and help us start a conversation. And so, I wanted to have a book that walked through the basics of the Gospel, and the fullness of it, and the teaching of Jesus that a Christian could read and get a lot of. But it's kind of eavesdropping on a conversation with a non-Christian. So after a Christian reads this book I am hoping they'll think of a few friends they can pass it on to, and start a conversation.
RevivalMag: I think you've nailed it. Certainly I plan to eavesdrop on this conversation probably once a year. I felt like it was the best presentation of the Gospel I've ever read.
BC: Thanks man, that's cool. I think you're right on in that the gospel isn't just a message that we're saved by and then we leave it behind us; it's a message that we're saved by, and then we live by. At least we should. And so the idea that as Christians we should return to this regularly and be refreshed, I think you've really caught onto something great there. So we're always refreshing ourselves, plus we're inviting other people into the experience.
RevivalMag: That's it. One of the things you come back to fairly regularly throughout Reunion, is the subject of grace. And you paint grace as a person, as a gift, as a number of different things in a number of different places. I just want to read a little section here. You write on page 32 [48 was spoken in error]:
Grace means "gift." Grace says that God has already done for us everything we've been trying to accomplish for ourselves through our best behaviour and our boring religion. Grace means that God offers us salvation, life, and love as a gift, free of charge, no strings attached. Grace is God's great end run around religion - the rules, regulations, rituals, routines, the holy men and holy means, the holy places and holy spaces - in order to love us directly and intimately, in unmediated closeness.
I love it!
BC: That's a good passage.
RevivalMag: Some people pervert grace, and claim that grace becomes a license to live immoral lives. I don't think that's what you're saying.
BC: No, exactly. The Apostle Paul... this has been done since the first century. I mean, there were Christians who were personally discipled by the Apostle Paul who turned grace into a license to sin, and he had to write them back and revoke their license, and say "No... the grace of God, the kindness of God, should motivate you when you realize how much God has forgiven, and what he has sacrificed, and the lengths he has gone to in order to redeem you, to free you, the help you become the person you are designed to be... your eyes should open up and your heart should open up and you should want to work with, not against, what the Holy Spirit's doing in your life. So grace should really free us up, so that life becomes a "want to" instead of a "have to." The Christlike life is something we're privileged to be able to be led into living, rather than always resisting. And so Paul, when he writes for instance the Corinthians, he has to remind them of this. And what's interesting about it this is when someone abuses grace, Paul doesn't do what is a temptation I think for Christian leaders, and say "OK, obviously you guys can't ready for the message of grace. I'm going to start to teach you law. You need more rules, to keep you in line. It's tempting for pastors of churches, and for Christian leaders, when they see grace abused, to say well, alright, we've got to bring down the rules. The New Covenant is designed to teach us how to live life in partnership with the Holy Spirit, so that instead of rules that operate from the outside in, grace operates from the inside out, with the Spirit's guidance. We've learned how to make decisions in partnership with God. God doesn't want to take that away from us, he wants us to grow in that.
RevivalMag: That's beautiful. You talk about as well, about this relationship with God, and God coming to us. You talk about Heaven as less of a destination and more of a present relational reality that God is inviting us into even now. What does that mean, for God to come to us versus us coming to God?
BC: It's interesting. That is the thrust of scripture. There used to be a little diagram, in gospel sharing, that had a chasm between us and God, and the chasm was labeled sin. Jesus became the bridge, the cross, that we could use to get across to God. And while that has value, that kind of visual illustration, the arrow was always us getting across the chasm to God (and Christ helps us do that). And actually, I would just change the direction of the arrow, and say it's actually God crossing the chasm to us. And this has been the thrust of the Bible story from Genesis to Revelation. God is seeking us in the Garden, God pursuing us through Israel's narrative, God coming to us in Christ. And at the end of the Bible, in the book of Revelation, you have the New Jerusalem coming down to Earth, rather than just all of Earth being caught up into Heaven. Jesus taught his people to pray, not "Thy Kingdom stay there, and take me to it," but rather "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." And Christ's message as a good news message was branded "The Gospel of the Kingdom" and so the beautiful thing of the Kingdom is that it is here and now, it starts now, and the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom means it has an impact on my life now. It's not just about what happens when I die, I can begin my eternal life starting now, and that changes how I wake up in the morning. It changes the universe I find myself in. It changes everything about how I see myself and others, and gives me a purpose in how I live.
RevivalMag: Yeah, come on! Oh, it's good. It's beautiful. You don't talk a whole lot about the church, you do invite people to join church congregations and fellowship with other believers as they've come to meet Christ, absolutely. But my question for you then is, beyond this book you're very active in the church world, you're a leader in a number of different Christians circles across the nation of Canada, what is the one of the big challenges facing the church today?
BC: Hmmm. Wow. In some sense, the challenge of the church is the challenge that has been the challenge of the church since it's inception. And that is [when it] begins to live by a different message than the message that saved us. I think of Paul's message to the Galations, and he says to them, you know, you foolish Galations (in chapter 3), who has bewitched you?! That you think you are saved by grace, but then you have to move on to live by law? That you have to live by a different message than what you were saved by? No, you continue to live this way. And I think the church's challenge will to be tempted to have one foot in the Old Covenant, and one foot in the New Covenant, and to try and mix and mingle law and grace. We love the Old Testament as a revelation of how God has worked but the Old Testament scriptures are not our covenent. We're not 50/50 Old Covenant, New Covenant. We are a New Covenant people, Jesu came to institute it, and he says so at the last supper. This is a whole new way of living, with the promise of the Spirit, for all to guide us from the inside out. So I think whenever the church is failing or is looking for a new solution, we will retreat back to planting one foot in the Old Covenant and one in the New. And I think that actually waters down the Gospel, and it steals away from our dependance on the Holy Spirit day by day.
RevivalMag: Absolutely! So the Gospel is enough. Or we need to see it as enough.
(more to come...)
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