This last weekend I was in Vancouver Canada participating in The Good News Tour. This is a traveling conference that celebrates, proclaims and defends the beautiful character of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Some of you might recall the controversial poster I talked a lot about last year which depicts Jesus washing the feet of world leaders, including Osama Bin Ladin. The poster was created by Lars Justinen and The Good News Tour is the ministry that sponsored it. (You can view and purchase the poster here. Incidentally, I feature the poster in chapter 7 of my new book The Myth of a Christian Religion which will be available in a couple of weeks).
Anyway, I had an absolute blast at this conference. The folks who sponsor The Good News Tour really get – I mean really get — the unfathomable beauty of God’s love. It’s the central passion of their life and it permeates the very fabric of their being. I’ve rarely heard the magnificence of God’s perfect love presented so profoundly. It’s always refreshing to be around folks like this.
I had fun presenting three messages focusing on Jesus as the definitive revelation of God and how replicating Christ’s self-sacrificial love is the distinguishing mark of a Jesus-follower. But I was especially blessed by the passionate and insightful messages delivered by others.
Brad Cole gave an outstanding talk entitled “Scary God or Scary People?” which attempted to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God revealed in Jesus. It was one of the most insightful explorations of this topic I’ve ever heard. Herb Montgomery, founder of Renewed Heart Ministries, gave several passionate talks on the character of God and how to reconcile God’s love with the problem of evil. This young man has a remarkable ability to communicate very complex concepts in a clear and compelling way. For example, he presented the complex variable theodicy I spend several hundred pages developing in Satan and the Problem of Evil in a five minute illustration, and it landed! I was blown away. And Marco Belmonte, founder of Heavenly Sanctuary which sponsors The Good News Tour, gave a passionate (and sometimes hilarious) testimony about how the revelation of God’s love transformed this former drug addict into a passionate disciple of Jesus. The entire conference was shrouded in God’s love and I was honored to be a part of it.
One last word: I have to confess that I have always tended to associate Seventh Day Adventists with legalism. Well, I hereby publicly repent of this assumption. Each of the presenters in this conference, along with the church that sponsored this conference (and the wonderful pastor of this church, Manuel Silva) are members of the Seventh Day Adventists Church, and believe me, these folks are as free of legalism as anyone could possibly be! In fact, one of the objectives of The Good News Tour is to bring the Good News of God’s transforming love to Seventh Day Adventists and everyone else who may be entrapped in legalism.
Which just goes to show how dumb our labels and stereotypes are.
I’d like to thank Brad Cole and The Good News Tour for inviting me to be part of the Vancouver conference and for blessing my sox off this weekend.