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)
In a previous post titled, Will all be saved?, I noted a question raised by Rob Bell in his controversial book, Love Wins. That question is this: Can people get out of hell? To answer this question, we must consider two others: Is a person's fate determined permanently at death?If not, on what basis might those in hell get out?
Many Christians answer "yes" to question number one. In support of their position they frequently cite Hebrews 9:27, understanding this scripture to assert that upon death, a person is judged and the decision rendered is irreversible.
However, using this passage to make this point is, in my view, questionable. Note that the context is the universal scope of Jesus' substitutionary, atoning work, which he did "once for all" (Hebrews 9:26). He does not accomplish this work at some future time (such as some point prior to or including the moment of our death). Also, note that Hebrews 9:27-28 points forward to a future time when Jesus wil…
A key understanding of incarnational Trinitarian theology is that God has included everyone in his love and life through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and through what Jesus did at Pentecost in pouring out the Holy Spirit on all humanity. Are we then saying that all people have the Holy Spirit? There are several issues at work here, which I'll briefly address in this post.
First, there is the nature and the timing of God’s call. Paul writes in Romans 8:30 that, "...those he [God] predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." Here Paul addresses believers, locating their call in the broad sweep of salvation history, which sees all humanity as included in Christ---in what he accomplished for all humanity through his life, death and resurrection. This is the objective or universal reality of salvation history. And it is stunning good news!
Purves now addresses the essential missional character of the church, noting that by our union with Christ, we have both opportunity and the calling as members of the body of Christ (the church), to participate with Jesus our one High Priest, in what he is now doing, by the Spirit, to fulfill the Father's mission to the world.
The broad scope of Christ's mission
That calling, which is for the whole church, involves sharing in what our Lord is doing to redeem every aspect of human existence: spiritual, social, economic, etc. Purves comments on this broad scope of mission:
There are no limits to the compassion God has shown toward the human race in Jesus Christ [thus] there can be no limits upon the scope of the church's mission in union with Christ to the who…
Are theology and biblical studies the same thing? If not, how do they relate? How are they different? Are they in conflict? This article by Michael Morrison of Grace Communion Seminary addresses these and related questions. For another post on this topic, click here.
In most seminaries and Bible schools, theology and biblical studies are in separate categories. Yet most lay Christians assume they are the same. In this article we will explain why there is a difference, problems that can arise because of the difference, and how biblical studies and theology can both be better if they work together. A brief history of biblical studies
The early church taught the gospel, and educated pagans said, “Oh really? How does that work?” Some of the pagans wanted to ridicule people who believed the gospel about a crucified hero; others were genuinely interested.
So the early church leaders began to answer some of the philosophical and logical questions about salvation through Christ – often using …
This post excerpts Gary Deddo's essay, "The Christian Life and Our Participation in Christ’s Continuing Ministry" (to read the full essay, click here). The portion excerpted here relates to clarifying the meaning of the important New Testament concept of "union with Christ."
The New Testament message is that we are so united to Christ that the core of our very being is changed because it has become spiritually joined to the perfected humanity of Jesus. The apostle Paul writes that we are one in Spirit with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17). In his letter to the Ephesians he writes that we are presently—right now—seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). We are so joined that what happened to Christ 2,000 years ago has actually included us. So in Paul’s letter to the Colossians we read that we have co-died with Christ and have been co-raised with Christ (Colossians 2:12-3; 3:1). Paul announces this fact as a completed action that is true of all the members…
Previously in this series we've noted Anderson's emphasis on the unity of theology and mission. When fully Christian, both are grounded in the person (being) and work (doing) of Jesus, the incarnate, resurrected, ascended Son of God. There is no separation between Jesus' being (from which flows Christian theology) and his doing (from which flows Christian mission). In Jesus, by the Spirit, Christian mission (ministry) is actual participation in what Jesus is doing in the world to fulfill the Father's mission.
It is thus vital that the church keep at the forefront of its thinking the truth that it is Jesus (the living Word) and not someone or something else, that constitutes the interpretive key (hermeneutic) by which the church is able to rightly understand Hol…
This post continues a review of Alexandra Radcliff's book, The Claim of Humanity in Christ, Salvation and Sanctification in the Theology of T. F. and J. B. Torrance. For previous posts in this series, click a number: 1, 2, 3, 5. Last time we saw what Torrance theology says concerning how the vicarious (substitutionary, representative) humanity of Jesus Christ is central to a biblical understanding of salvation and the atonement. We saw how the Torrance brothers emphasize that Jesus' resurrection not only confirms that by his death we have been forgiven, it also points to the new birth of a righteous humanity in Christ. The Torrances then note that in Jesus' ascension this new humanity "is raised up in Christ to share by the Spirit in his perfect relationship with the Father" (p. 61). JB Torrance puts it this way:
The Son of God takes our humanity, sanctifies it by his vicarious life in the Spirit (John 17:17-18), carries it to the grave to be crucified and buried…
As the book's title suggests, it summarizes the incarnational Trinitarian theology of Thomas F. (TF) and James B. (JB) Torrance, particularly in the areas of soteriology (salvation) and sanctification (holiness and Christian living). It also offers suggestions for how Torrance theology might be clarified and expanded, particularly related to the outworking, through the ministry of the Spirit, of our san…
In about A.D. 180, Irenaeus (pictured at right) wrote the statement below concerning the triune nature of God. Here we find the basic elements of the doctrine of the Trinity. Note, in particular, the distinct role of each member of the Godhead and its relationship to all of humanity.
This is the rule of our faith, the foundation of the building, and what gives support to our behavior. God the Fatheruncreated,who is uncontained, invisible, one God, creator of the universe; this is the first article of our faith.
And the second is: The Word of God, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared to the prophets according to their way of prophesying and according to the dispensation of the Father. Through him all things were created. Furthermore, in the fullness of time, in order to gather all things to himself, he became a human being amongst human beings, capable of being seen and touched, to destroy death, bring life, and restore fellowship between God and humanity.
And the thir…
We now continue our review of Communion with the Triune God where Dick Eugenio examines TF Torrance's trinitarian understanding of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). Last time we looked at TF's understanding of the role of the Spirit in salvation. Now we'll look at his view of the Spirit's work related to the church and its mission. For the other posts in this series, click on a number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11.
TF often noted that the goal of salvation is participation in the life and love of the Trinity. The Spirit's distinctive role is to facilitate this participation (Gk. koinonia, also meaning sharing, fellowship and communion). The Spirit does this work by coming into us, then opening us out to God, thus enabling us to commune with the triune God. TF elaborates:
As the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwell in one another, so God is in us by the indwelling of the Spirit and by participation of the Spirit we are in God, and thus our being in the Father i…