Is there any verse of scripture more familiar in our culture than John 3:16? It may be that for many in our culture it is the only verse they know, or at least, the only verse they know the reference for. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Over the years, we’ve seen it displayed at athletic events; on bumper stickers or decals on cars, emblazoned on all matter of Christian kitsch.
For that very reason, many of us find its ubiquity and overuse problematic or even offensive. It’s as likely to divide or put people off as it is to attract people to Christianity, for not only does it seem to reduce the truth and beauty of Christianity to a slogan or formula, also, by the over-emphasis on belief, seems divide the world between believers and unbelievers, saved and unsaved, and those of us who struggle with doubt and uncertainty, wonder whether we are included among those who will inherit eternal life. Continue reading