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Showing posts from August, 2012

Ethics and the presence of God

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Fundamental to any discussion about Christian ethics is the sure knowledge that the triune God has united humanity to himself in and through the vicarious humanity of the incarnate, crucified, risen and ascended Son of God, Jesus Christ.

When our reasoning is grounded in and directed by this central truth, we will approach ethics not as what we might do to bring God near or to keep him near, but as our grateful response to the reality of God's presence with us, in the person of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. This incarnational and Trinitarian understanding of Christian ethics is unpacked in several Surprising God posts:
We were made for Communion with GodTrinitarian ethics: How then shall we live?Barth's Theology of RelationsGod, Freedom and Human DignityEthics and the Holy Spirit as CreatorEthics and the Holy Spirit as ReconcilerEthics and the Holy Spirit as RedeemerEthics and cultural contextEthics--getting realEthics and dualismTrinitarian ethics: Why are we gendered being…

Words for worship: He is closer to us than we are to ourselves!

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Ever feel a gazillion miles away from God?As worshippers of a God that we do not presently see (or that we see dimly and with ‘spirit eyes’—which is another subject in itself), we can feel as though the living, risen and ascended Lord Jesus is light years away from where we are, and awfully hard to reach—especially if we feel guilty and captive to our wrongs or the situation around us.‘But remember this’, said my theologian friend John Emmory McKenna (or Dr. John, as I affectionately call him), ‘he is closer to us than we are to ourselves!’
It was a catchy, comforting line, and McKenna has reminded me of it often.First time was 1997 and Dr. John and I were having a much-needed talk about prayer and worship.I was the one that needing the talk, and asking all the questions, generally summed up as, ‘what is God doing when we worship?’
Long-time readers of this blog may recall mention of that conversation with McKenna, and that he recommended the reading of “Royal Priesthood”, by Thomas F.…

Trinitarian ethics: Why are we gendered beings?

Last time we began an examination of Christian ethics from a trinitarian, incarnational perspective. We concluded that from this biblical viewpoint, ethics is fundamentally about sharing, through the Holy Spirit, in Jesus' own loving and living in our world.

This time we look at a related topic - God's good design for humanity. Once again, we begin by asking, Who is Jesus? The answer is that as the second person of the Trinity, he is fully God; and through the Incarnation (which continues), he is fully human. Thus in Jesus we find not only the full reality of God, but also the full and perfect expression of God's design for humanity.

Scripture speaks of this design in many ways, including telling us that God created humanity to be his image-bearer (Gen. 1:27). But in what way? For the answer, we look not to ourselves (for we are fallen), but to Jesus, who, in his humanity, perfectly and fully bears the image of the triune God. [Click here and here for related Surprising Go…