Suppose Christianity is not a religion but a way of life, a falling in love with God, and, through Him, a falling in love with our fellows. Of course, such a way is hard and costly, but it is also joyous and rewarding even in the here-and-now. People who follow that Way know beyond all possible argument that they are in harmony with the purpose of God, that Christ is with them and in them as they set about His work in our disordered world. If anyone thinks this is perilous and revolutionary teaching, so much the better. That is exactly what they thought of the teaching of Jesus Christ. The light He brought to bear upon human affairs is almost unbearably brilliant: but it is the light of Truth, and in that light human problems can be solved.
This astonishing sense of spiritual attack which, it seems to me, must inevitably follow the continual reading of the four Gospels, without preconception but with an alert mind, is not the sole privilege of the translator. It can happen to anyone who is prepared to abandon proof-texts and a closed attitude of mind, and allow not merely the stories but the quality of the Figure Who exists behind the stories to meet him afresh. Neat snippets of a few verses are of course useful in their way, but the overall sweep and much of the significance of the Gospel narratives are lost to us unless we are prepared to read the Gospels through, not once but several times.
In his enthusiasm, the evangelist often finds it difficult seriously to imagine that anyone could be called not to be an evangelist. The man of vision and imagination finds it difficult to see the value of those who do no more than plod on faithfully along a well-tried road. The man whose concern is in personal dealing with people and leading them to understand God better finds it difficult to be patient with the theologian or the Christian philosopher whose work is in the quiet of a book-lined study. Yet the truth is that the wholeness which God is working to achieve is never complete in an individual, but through individuals living together as one body, each supplying the deficiencies of the others.
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