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Showing posts from April, 2009

If all are included, why final judgment and hell?

A question I'm frequently asked concerning trinitarian theology goes something like this:
If all humanity is reconciled to God through Jesus, then why is there a final judgment and hell? To answer this question, we must begin with the biblical answer to the question that takes us to the foundation of all truth, namely, Who is Jesus?  
Scripture declares Jesus to be fully God and fully human. As the unique God-man he is both the Judge and the one in whom all are judged; the Savior and the one in whom all are saved. Through his vicarious (representative and substitutionary) humanity, Jesus stood in, and still stands in for us all. When Jesus, who bore all our sin, was judged, we were all judged. When he died to pay for all our sin, we all died. When he rose victorious from death, we all rose. And when he ascended to the Father's side, we all ascended with him and in him (2Cor. 5:14, Eph. 2:4-10).
In his dual role as both our Savior and our Judge, Jesus does not come to us with…

From influence to incarnation

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Ministries grounded in a theology of separation tend to conceptualize ministry as a means to influence people toward a particular goal. For example, youth ministry is seen as developing relationships with teens in order to influence them toward Jesus and his lifestyle. Ministry strategies and programs are means to develop and leverage such relationships. Thus youth ministry is often referred to as "relational youth ministry."

The same can be said about all sorts of ministries.

While I applaud the move to ministries that are more relational than the ones they replaced, I suggest that there is a better way - ministry that is grounded in and flows from a trinitarian theology of incarnation. Call it incarnational ministry. 
At first blush, this may seem no different than relational ministry (isn't the incarnation about relationship?). But if we look deeper, we see that the relational ministry model is about using relationships as means to other ends.  In contrast, an incarn…

A trinitarian view of Jesus' death and resurrection

You may find interesting two recent posts from Tony Jones on The New Christians blog (at Beliefnet).  Tony presents a trinitarian perspective on Jesus' death (click here) and resurrection (click here). This perspective is presented in contrast to a view of these events seen through the the lens of the "penal substitution" theory of the atonement.  I think Jones' arguments are worth considering.

Trinitarian theology and theistic evolution

On its website, Grace Communion International addresses the topic of creation and evolution. The article explores alternative ways for harmonizing the Biblical creation accounts with the evidence of science.

The primary option addressed in the article is theistic evolution. It notes that Scripture (as we understand it) allows for the idea that God created the cosmos a very long time ago, and thus does not demand a young earth - young universe view of creation.  Moreover, it notes that Scripture does not specify the method by which God created, and thus allows that God may have used evolutionary processes as a "tool" in his creating. The article also notes that there is a big difference between evolution as a worldview/philosophy and evolution as a scientific explanation of the development of life as we know it. For many years, GCI has noted these things in its literature. These are not new ideas to us, though they are helpfully articulated in the referenced article.

I'v…