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Showing posts from January, 2011

The vicarious humanity of Jesus

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In a recent essay David Torrance notes that a knowledge of the vicarious humanityof Jesus, "is crucial to our understanding of Christ and of Scripture" (p.1). He shows that the eternal Son of God, through whom all things were created and have their being, became human in the person of Jesus Christ. In his humanity (while remaining divine), Jesus is the representative and substitute for all humanity. Thus what happened (and continues to happen) to Jesus, applies to us all.

This stunning truth tells us that our salvation is not merely something that Jesus did for us, but who Jesus is for us, as one of us (the Incarnation continues!). Our salvation is thus far more than a legal (forensic) transaction that was accomplished by Jesus's death to pay for our sin. His death did accomplish that necessary payment (praise God!), however, it is the total scope of Jesus' continuing vicarious humanity that accomplishes and secures our salvation.

Our salvation truly is "in Chr…

“He who sings prays twice.”

Some will recognize that statement as a reminder from St. Augustine of the rich blessing and importance of singing to God. Or in light of a Christ-centered incarnational theology, we might even say the blessing and importance of singing with God—being included in the prayers and praises of the risen and ascended Jesus in the heavenlies.

Yet when it comes to congregational singing, some folks are (or at least seem to be) reluctant to participate. My old friend joked recently that he doesn’t have ‘the gift of worship’—said he’s ‘worship challenged.’ Well, at least he’s joking. He’s fully supportive of church worship, but when the music starts, he’s just not the most boisterous worshipper among us. We get it.

I’m not personally a fan of worship leaders pleading with those in attendance in an attempt to coerce more participation, more volume, more smiles, more intensity, more this and more that, during a worship service. (For one thing, I kinda like what Joseph Garlington said to me on…

A Trinitarian view of the mission of God

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We are seeing in many places a resurgence of interest in the mission of God. Wonderful! But, as with all things pertaining to God, the mission of God is seen in the fullness of its grace and truth when viewed through the lens of a Trinitarian, incarnational theology. I'm impressed with how Mike King and Scot McKnight do this in a recent Slant 33 blog post (click here to read the full post).

Here is part of Mike's comment:
What is God’s mission? The term missio Dei (mission of God) implies that God has a purposeful plan. Karl Barth emphasized the reality that God is at work, actio dei (the action of God). We often think of mission when we discuss the mission and activity of God, which, unfortunately, is so enmeshed in a Western mindset of saving the heathen... We must recover the Eastern Church Trinitarian emphasis on God’s radical communality and the movement toward restoration and shalom. We are being invited to participate in God’s mission and activity through our triune God’…

A Trinitarian understanding of the Atonement

In Faith Seeking Understanding, Daniel Migliore summarizes and critiques the three primary theories of the Atonement in classical Western theology. Why more than one? Largely because the New Testament uses several metaphors to describe the Atonement, and each theory tends to focus on one, sometimes at the expense of the others. Here is a summary of each theory:

1. Christ the Victor theory, which develops the NT's battle metaphor (e.g. Col 2:15). Migliore comments:
According to this view, the work of atonement is a dramatic struggle between God and the forces of evil in the world....Under the veil of his humanity, Christ triumphs over the demons, the devil, and all the principalities and powers that hold human beings captive. By his cross and resurrection, Christ decisively defeats these powers an thus frees their captives (pp. 182-3).  2. Anselm's Satisfaction theory, which arose in the medieval period. It emphasizes scriptures that suggest that humankind is redeemed by Jesus…

Victory, let’s hear It! V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! But what about worship with the ‘suffering servant’?

“Season’s Greetings Dear Friends and Family. Wanted to let you know we won the Mega Millions Lottery and are now millionaires many time over!”

Sure, Christmas and the end of the year is a great time to catch up with friends and family from around the globe, but have you ever felt a wee bit unsettled upon receiving a letter mentioning nothing but the greatest accomplishments, glories and good fortune? You know, a letter that goes something like this….
“What an AWESOME year! Wilbur was promoted to Manager with a huge raise, but then accepted an offer to be Vice President at Acme Inc. with a HUMONGOUS signing bonus, and a company car! (Starts right after we get back from our one month European vacation.) Sally won the Miss America contest and will receive a full college scholarship, and next month she leaves on her book signing tour, and her latest recording will be released then too!”

“Our quadruplets are the youngest players and the only multiples ever to be brought onto the national…

A Trinitarian doctrine of God's attributes

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This is the concluding post in a series reviewing Daniel Migliore's book, Faith Seeking Understanding, An Introduction to Christian Theology. For other posts in this series, click a number: 1, 2, 3, 4.

In this concluding post, we look at Migliore's Trinitarian perspective on God's attributes. He takes exception to what he sees as a common error in many contemporary systematic theologies, namely grounding the doctrine of God's attributes not in the revelation through Jesus of God's attributes as a triune communion of divine persons, but in speculative, metaphysical, philosophical concepts that dominated the Western theology of the church in the middle ages.

As examples of this error, Migliore cites Augustine's view of God's impassibility (that God does not suffer emotionally). Augustine taught that, "God does not truly grieve over the suffering of the world." He then cites Anselm (considered the father of the Scholastic movement in Christian theolo…