Celebrating ten years of The Surprising God blog

It's hard to believe, but the first post here on The Surprising God blog appeared on September 8, 2007---just about ten years ago. It was written by GCI Pastor Timothy Brassell. Over the years, there have been 540 posts, 1350 comments and 855,000 pageviews.

I'm grateful for the many who have commented and posted, and especially for whatever contribution this blog has made in helping readers grow in understanding, appreciating and living into the stunning reality addressed by an incarnational Trinitarian theology. Here's to ten years more?

Praying for reconciliation in the face of racial hostility

Given recent events in the US, I feel it appropriate to pause from my regular posts on The Surprising God to address the shocking and divisive racial hostility erupting in many places and ways. This hostility flies in the face of all our Lord Jesus Christ stands for and, through the Spirit, is working toward in our world through his ongoing ministry of reconciliation.
Toward the goal of reconciliation (and the transformation of the heart it entails), I offer below a litany (responsive prayer) by Rich Villodas (8/2017) for the body of Christ to pray in worship. Oh Lord, you are making all things new. Please lead us to participate in what you are doing.
A Litany for Racial Hostility in our CountryLeader: Lord Jesus, your Kingdom is good news for a world caught in racial hostility. We ask that you would give us grace for the deep challenges facing our country.
Response: Oh Lord, only you can make all things new. 
Leader: Lord, we confess our anger and our deep sadness for the hatred in our…

Ray Anderson on theology and the practice of ministry

I've thought a lot about how incarnational Trinitarian theology informs and forms the practice of pastoral ministry. One of the primary theologians who has shaped my thinking in this area is Ray Anderson. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to hear Ray lecture several years ago. Sadly, he is no longer with us, but his books remain---click here for a review on this blog of one of his books. Here is a short video in which he adresses his perspective on theology and the practice of pastoral ministry (at

For more You're Included videos from GCI, go to

"All are included"---what it does and doesn't mean

In the last few posts here on The Surprising God I've been publishing the various parts of an essay by Dr. Gary Deddo being published serially in GCI Equipper (to read the full essay, click here). The goal of Gary's essay (as its title, Clarifying Our Theological Vision, implies) is to clarify some of the key terms and phrases used by GCI in communicating the wonderful truths of the incarnational Trinitarian faith. One of those phrases is all are included---a phrase GCI has used for several years to speak of the glorious truth concerning the nature of humankind on this side of the Christ event (Jesus' incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit).

In saying that all are included, the word all refers to believers and non-believers, and the word included means being counted among those who God, in and through Jesus, has reconciled to himself. With that background in mind, I'll now share the text of Part 1 of Gary's essay.

The theo…

Addressing the Christian life

Here is part 4 of "Clarifying Our Theological Vision," an essay by Dr. Gary Deddo being published serially in GCI Equipper. To read the full essay click here.
How does incarnational Trinitarian theology inform our understanding of the Christian life? In this part of the essay, we'll seek to answer that question in a biblically faithful way that aligns with and clarifies our incarnational Trinitarian vision. In doing so, we'll address a related question: Why do believers often struggle with temptation and sometimes fall into sin?It's about relationship and becoming We begin with the reminder that all humanity was created for a relationship of union and communion with God, through Christ, by the Spirit. Rather than fixed, determined beings, we humans are becoming beings, created to become primarily in and through relationship with the Triune God. We thus understand that the Christian life is a becoming life—becoming, in Christ and by the Spirit, who we truly are in …