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Showing posts from September, 2009

A trinitarian perspective on evangelism

If all people are included already in Jesus, why be involved in evangelism? The GCI Ministry Development Team addresses this question in a seminar titled, Relational Evangelism. The subtitle speaks to our trinitarian focus: "Sharing with Jesus in relating with non-believers."
Evangelism from this perspective is not about bringing Jesus to people as though he were absent. Rather it sees evangelism in light of the truth that Jesus is present - including non-believers in his life, and relating to them in the Spirit, expressing the Father's love and grace.
Evangelism is about participating with Jesus in that relating. By doing so we declarethe good news (which is the biblical definition of evangelism), by being the good news and then verbally sharing our own experience of Jesus (who is the good news). In short, we help people identify and come to know the Jesus who is already present in their lives. And we invite them to participate actively in Jesus' life - which inclu…

What is our part in a face-to-face relationship with Jesus?

Craig Kuhlman submitted the following questions related to our personal participation in the salvation we have in Jesus. I encourage your reply to his questions via "comments."
How can we maintain engagement (in face-to-face relationship with Jesus) without ebb and flow? How do we continue to live in that relationship and bear spiritual fruit without becoming formulaic, or something "that must be done" by ourselves, when all was done by Him? How can we maintain the Spirit's active regeneration that comes from face-to-face relationship with Jesus and yet avoid the impression we must "do" the spiritual disciplines, when Jesus has already done it all? What is "our part," if any? And is it fair to say, that if there is any "our part," isn't that part initiated by Him to begin with? If we have a part now, why didn't we have it from the beginning when we were dead in sin?

What does trinitarian theology say about ministry?

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Some wonder if trinitarian theology leads to inactivity (if all are included already, why bother with ministry?).  I address this question in a recently posted You're Included interview with Mike Feazell. Click here to watch online.

The Trinity Imaged in Our Humanity

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I'm reading Like, Father, Like Son, the Trinity Imaged in Our Humanity by Tom Smail (pictured left) who presently serves as senior visiting research fellow at Kings College in London. I think Smail does an excellent job of exegeting from a trinitarian perspective the scriptural teaching concerning humankind created in God's image. In short, his thesis is this: the image that humankind is given in creation and that is restored in redemption is the image of the Father, Son and Spirit - the tri-personal God revealed to us in Jesus.

He notes that we image God in two ways: in God's oneness (which is his three in oneness in perichoretic relatedness); and in God's threeness (the distinctive qualities and roles of each person of the triune God).
Smail then explores the implications of this triune image of God as it is expressed in and through various aspects of our humanity. Concerning the imaging of the Holy Spirit in our humanity (inclusive of human culture) he says the follow…

launching the trinitarian worship blog

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Over the last several years, Grace Communion International (GCI) has travelled a journey of reformation that has led us to embrace a biblically-based theology that is Christ-centered, incarnational and trinitarian(in this blog we refer to it as trinitarian theology). With this post, GCI launches this blog as a place to discuss how this theology undergirds and shapes the worship ministries of the church - thus this blog's name is trinitarian worship.
My name is Mike Hale (fifth from left in the picture of Higher Ground, the worship band of which I am a part). I will be serving as the primary moderator for this blog, working in conjuction with others in GCI-USA ministry development. I invite your participation in this discussion as we seek to follow the Spirit in our continuing journey. Our discussion will be of particular interest to worship directors, pastors, worship leaders, musicians, technicians, small group leaders, etc. Note instructions posted in the right-hand column of th…

A trinitarian critique of "Walking with God" by John Eldredge

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John Eldredge (pictured right) of Ransomed Heart Ministries, is a popular evangelical Christian author of such books at "Sacred Romance" and "Wild at Heart." A reader of this blog offers in this post a critique of Eldredge's book "Walking With God." Though this critique is not intended to discount the positive benefits some have derived from Eldredge's books, it does object to some of the premises of "Walking with God" that seem in conflict with a trinitarian/incarnational understanding of the gospel. See what you think. And feel free to send to The Surprising God critiques (positive and negative) of this or other books as we reason together in the light of Jesus.

-Ted Johnston
moderator, The Surprising God

It seems to me that "Walking with God" [WWG] espouses a form of magical thinking by implying that God can be manipulated by human activity. Through a highly individualistic approach to Scripture (where every verse is constru…

The incarnation includes all creation

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A key concept of trinitarian Christ-centered theology is that the incarnation encompasses all the created order. In the incarnation of the Son of God, the agent of creation, all the cosmos (not just humanity) is included in God's work of redemption - re-creation.

This view of the incarnation is expressed by Robert Webber (pictured right) in his book Who Gets to Narrate the World?

The book is cited in the September 1 issue of Preaching Now, noting that Webber (now deceased) attributes much of the secularization of Western culture to the church's shift away from this comprehensive view of the incarnation. According to Webber...

"God, in the incarnation, took up unto himself the entire creation, so that the creation redeemed by God himself is now to be once again, as in the Garden, the theater of his glory. The ancient church understood the impact of creation, incarnation and re-creation on all of creation, and that is why Christians were the leaders in the arts, in learning…