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Showing posts from August, 2013

On mission with God: Living Sent

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Recently on The Exchange blog, missiologist Ed Stetzer summarized a Trinitarian theological perspective on mission. His post was titled "What Mission is and Why it Matters." Here are excerpts (and click here for a similar previous Surprising God post):
During the past half-century, there has been significant shift from understanding mission as simply the geographical expansion of the Christian faith from the West to the non-Christian world towards a more expansive understanding of mission as God's mission--particularly within a Trinitarian theological framework. This tenant has become known as the missio Dei... In short, "mission" refers back to its fixed basis - to the movement of the Father in sending His Son and Spirit. God, who is ontologically "missionary" and, as God is the acting subject in His self-revelation, He maintains the initiative in this activity. This divine missionary activity includes yet another noteworthy shift in thought: the Fa…

Concerning dialectic theology

The Trinitarian theology of Karl Barth, T.F. Torrance and others is sometimes referred to as "dialectic" or "dialectical" theology, meaning that it seeks to integrate the tensions, paradoxes and ambiguities that are inherent in Christian theology.

Though Barth objected to using this term (it has a wide array of meanings), it might be helpful for Surprising God readers to understand the concept, since incarnational Trinitarian theology does teach that inherent in the revelation of Jesus Christ are viewpoints that, to our limited human understanding, do seem irreconcilable. This is particularly so with respect to the "dialectic tension" between the objective (universal) and subjective (personal) aspects of the union that God has forged with all humanity in and through the God-man, Jesus Christ.

From an objective/universal viewpoint, Scripture declares that God has reconciled (past tense) all humanity to himself through one one God-man Jesus Christ (2Cor 5:…

Ray Anderson on the two narratives

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Check out this short GCI video with Ray Anderson discussing how a narrative/trinitarian theology helpfully frames pastoral ministry.



For an earlier Surprising God post that quotes Anderson, click here. I highly recommend Anderson's book The Soul of Ministry.

Participation not imitation

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In Bone of His Bone, Going Beyond the Imitation of Christ, missionary F.J. Huegel notes that our calling as Christians is not to imitate Christ but to participate in Christ. Rather than merely semantic, this distinction between "imitation" and "participation" is fundamental to understanding our calling as Christians. It also is a corrective to viewing Christian living (ethics) in a way that tends toward legalism, which then can lead to despair and burnout. Huegel begins his analysis by noting some of the "oughts" in Scripture often cited in addressing Christian behavior:
We are to walk as Jesus walked (I John 2:6). We are to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). We are to forgive as Jesus forgave - even as He who in the shame and anguish of the Cross looked down upon those who blasphemed Him, while they murdered Him, and forgave (Col. 3:13). We are to be aggressively kind towards those who hate us, yes, we are actually to pray for those who despitefully use us …