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Showing posts from May, 2009

A trinitarian perspective on Christian discipleship

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In "The Call to Discipleship," trinitarian theologian Karl Barth (pictured at left) discusses Christian discipleship. In doing so, he interacts with Scripture (particularly Jesus' Sermon on the Mount) and related views set forth by his friend and colleague Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Bonhoeffer's classic book, "The Cost of Discipleship" (published originally as "Discipleship"). 

Following are selected quotes from Barth's short, but helpful book (Fortress Press edition, 2003). 'Follow me' is [Jesus' call] to discipleship... Easily the best that has been written on this subject is to be found in 'Discipleship,' by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (pp. 1-2).Following [Jesus] as [his first disciples] practiced it... had both an inward and an outward limit... They [accompanied] him wholeheartedly and constantly, sharing his life and destiny at the expense of all other engagements and commitments, attaching themselves to him, placing themselves in …

He is ascended!

Though often minimized, the doctrine of Jesus' bodily ascension is of great importance. It proclaims that the ascended Jesus remains fully God and fully human (now glorified human). When Jesus ascended, he did not shed his humanity, but ascended bodily into heaven (where he remains until he returns bodily at the end of the age). 
In his ongoing humanity, Jesus continues to be our representative and substitute (the One for the many; the many in the One). Thus Paul can declare that when Jesus ascended, all humanity ascended with and in him: "It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus..." (Eph. 2:5b-6). 
You may be asking, Where does Scripture say that Jesus remains human? Note the following verses: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1Tim. 2:5, emphasis added).
"For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by…

Trinitarian family relations

The topic of family relations is vital in life (including Christian ministry). Our calling in the Spirit is to think and act out of the truth of the gospel, which is that all humanity is united to God (and one another) in the person of the incarnate, crucified, risen and ascended God-man Jesus.


To inform our thinking along these lines, I recommend the following biblically-based resources:

Gary Deddo on trinitarian family relations (click here)
Gary Deddo on why we're gendered beings (click here)
Gary Deddo on sexual identity (click here)
Tom Smail on "Perichoretic Parenting" (click here)
Andrew Root on "Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry" (click here)

Salvation: re-creation not transaction

Sadly, salvation is often viewed as a mere transaction by which we exchange our repentance and faith for God's gift of salvation. Though bearing some truth, this truncated view of salvation is quite incomplete and thus full of potential for error. 
Rather than a transaction, Scripture presents salvation as re-creation. 
In Jesus, who is fully God and fully human (and in his humanity the representative and substitute for all humanity), ALL humanity is re-created—reconciled, redeemed, justified and saved because Jesus has included ALL humanity in who he is and what he has done through his incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension. 
Jesus did all this FOR us and TO us by doing it WITH us and IN us (as one of us). Jesus is the One for the many—the many in the One.  Thus, we understand from Scripture that… When Jesus died, all humanity died with him
When Jesus rose, all humanity rose to new life with himWhen Jesus ascended, all humanity ascended and is seated with him at the …