Christianity 201

April 24, 2021

Have You Heard The Call?

Earlier today I was looking at things I had posted 13 years ago at Thinking Out Loud (this was before C201 existed) and discovered the name John Rothra. I remembered reading his material at the time, and discovered that (as of last week) he is still writing. Later I realized that we’ve used his material three times previously here, twice as recent as 2019.

He has just started a series on “The Hero’s Journey.” He explains,

Depending on which hero’s journey structure you look at, it will contain various numbers of steps or stages. However, despite the differences, there are five core stages that exist within most (if not all) models, and it is those five that I’ll be using for this series.  Those stages are:

  1. The Call
  2. The Wise Mentor
  3. The Struggle
  4. The Growth
  5. The Victory

So what follows is an excerpt from the first part, dealing with “the call.” Click on the header which follows to read the whole article.

Using the Hero’s Journey to Understand the Christian Journey, Part 1: The Gospel Call

The Gospel Call: Two Types

Each Christian’s journey, like the hero’s, begins with a call.  That is, the person is invited to go on the journey.  For a Christian, this call is the gospel call, and it consists of two types of calls: the human call and the divine call.   These two calls – human and divine – often go by various names, but whatever they may be called, we do see each of them in Scripture.

The Human Call

What is the human call? The human call is when one person shares the gospel with another person and then invites them to respond to the gospel message.  This is evangelism, or sharing the gospel of Jesus, and we see this call in Scripture.  For example, in Luke 14, Jesus tells a parable about a master who is holding a banquet.  He wants many people to attend, so he sends his servant out with instructions to invite people to come to the banquet.  In verse 23, Jesus says,

23 And the master said to the servant, “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”

Luke 14:23

In this parable, Jesus (who is the master) is telling his servant (who is you and I), to invite people to come to the banquet.  In other words, you and I are commanded to share the gospel with others and invite them to put their faith in Jesus.

We see the human call mentioned later in Luke’s gospel:

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Luke 24:45-47

Jesus is telling his disciples – including you and I – that the gospel of Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of sins, his physical resurrection, and repentance is to be preached to everyone all over the world.  We later see the human call being issued by Peter in the book of Acts:

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:37-38

Here, Peter has just preached the gospel and now asks the listeners to respond to what they just heard.

Thus, we see from Scripture that there is a human call aspect of the gospel call, but what about the divine call?

The Divine Call

The divine call is when God himself invites a person to respond to the gospel message.  While God can issue this call at any time, according to Scripture, it occurs through the preaching of the gospel (Rom 10:14-17; Acts 2:14-41). Through the divine call, God not only calls people to respond to the gospel, but he also convicts them of their sin.  We see the divine call addressed at least twice in John’s gospels.

In John 6, Jesus is addressing some disbelieving Jews who are not accepting what he is telling them.  The apostle records Jesus’ response:

43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:43-44

Jesus makes it clear that God himself sends people to Jesus.  This is the divine call.  However, Jesus again references this call in John 16 where Jesus is teaching about the work of the Holy Spirit:

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

John 16:8-11

As you can see, Jesus tells us that part of the work of the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit, is convicting people of their sin.  This is, again, is a reference to the divine call in which the Holy Spirit convicts a sinner and invites him or her to respond by repenting of their sin in faith.

Thus, we see in Scripture that the gospel call consists of both a human call and a divine call.  The question is, how can people respond?

to learn how people can respond, continue reading by clicking this link. Don’t miss this.

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