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Showing posts from February, 2012

Ash Wednesday

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I'm writing this on Ash Wednesday - the first day of Lent. I'm reminded today of Job's words to God:
"I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42: 5-6, NRSV).Job's experience is typical - when God reveals himself to a person, a crisis inevitably results. Why? Because to be shown God in the fullness of his goodness and grace is to come to the crisis of decision - will we embrace the revelation and be transformed (as was Job), or will we turn away in self-imposed ignorance?

In this season of Lent - a time of reflection leading up to Easter Sunday - may we receive with open and tender hearts God's revelation to us of himself.

Of course, that revelation comes not merely as a book, a set of doctrines, or a theological treatise. Rather it comes to us as a living person - the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. Indeed, in the person of Jesus, God is revealed to be who he …

Presenting the Gospel evangelically

Unfortunately, the Gospel is often presented as though God keeps himself separate from us, waiting for our expressions of faith and repentance before he will move to forgive, accept and thus make us his children.

However, the stunning truth of the Gospel is that God, through Jesus' continuing vicarious humanity, already has reconciled himself to all humanity. Because of who Jesus is and what he has done (and does), God accepts, loves and forgives everyone. Therefore the Gospel is the truly good news of an accomplished fact.

This being so, Trinitarian, Christ-centered presentations of the Gospel urge people to believe and then live into what is already true, rather than offering them a transaction by which God will act to forgive them if, first, they offer God their faith and repentance.

In The Mediation of Christ, Thomas F. Torrance notes that the Gospel, when preached and taught in this truly evangelical way, will be presented something like this:
God loves you so utterly and co…

The practice of Trinitarian theology: place-sharing

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This blog often discusses theological theory. In doing so, there is the risk of succumbing to "ivory tower" thinking that is disconnected from real life. However, for me, Trinitarian, incarnational theology rings true precisely because of its inseparable connection to real life and ministry.

This connection is often noted and explored in the discussions that are a key part of the online course I teach at Grace Communion Seminary in Trinitarian Youth Ministry. My students wrestle together with the teachings of Trinitarian theologians Andrew Root, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas F. Torrance and others. What they find is not "ivory tower" stuff that makes no difference in real life, but stunning truth that speaks directly to real life and ministry.

Finding this connection is not forced, for the very basis of Trinitarian, incarnational theology is the reality of the presence and ministry of the incarnate Son of God in our world through the Holy Spirit. This theology thus …

Resurrection and life to come (Nicene Creed #13 - conclusion)

This post concludes our series examining the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed(commonly referred to as the Nicene Creed). For other posts in the series, click a number: 123456789101112. Also click here to read this series condensed into one article.

We are examining the Creed's final clause:

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Last time we addressed one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Now we'll address the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Note that the Creed links the resurrection with forgiveness of sins. As noted byThomas F. (T.F.) Torrance (in The Trinitarian Faith), this linkage was of particular importance to the Creed's framers, "for it meant that forgiveness was not in word only but enacted in the concrete reality of human physical existence" (p298).

This linkage also served to expose certain heresies that …