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Showing posts from May, 2014

What about salvation?

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The Relational Pastor, part 13For other posts in this series, click on a number: 12345678, 9101112, 1415.

Last time in this series in Andrew Root's book, The Relational Pastor, we saw that Christian ministry is fundamentally about joining Jesus in sharing the lives of other persons. "But," some might object, "isn't our job as pastors to get people saved?" Root answers by pointing out that rather than a transaction (based on a forensic model of the atonement), salvation should be understood as an enduring relationship with God, for "in union with God we are saved" (p148).


This Trinitarian incarnational, relational view of salvation holds Christology and soteriology (the theology of salvation) closely together. It acknowledges that Jesus, in his divine-human person, is our salvation. Jesus is the atonement. Thus our calling as Christian ministers is to point people to Jesus, inviting them to live into the union that they have w…

What about regeneration and evangelism?

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We take a short break here in our ongoing series on The Relational Pastor to consider a different, though certainly related topic.

Given that all are included in Christ through his incarnation, life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension, how are we to understand what happens when a person turns to God in faith (the moment often referred to as "regeneration" or being "born again")? And what about evangelism: How are we to present the gospel in a truly Christ-centered way, including inviting a person to a response of faith?

Regeneration  As with evangelism (see below), the key to a thoroughly biblical, Christ-centered understanding of regeneration is to focus one's attention first not on personal (subjective) experience, but on the objective (albeit mysterious) reality of Jesus Christ as the permanent union of God and humanity in one divine-human person. This key is helpfully addressed by Thomas F. Torrance in his book The Mediation of Christ:
It is signi…

Christian ministry is personal and spiritual

The Relational Pastor, part 12For other posts in this series, click on a number: 12345678, 9, 10, 11, 131415.

Last time in this series exploring Andrew Root's book, The Relational Pastor, we looked at the stunning truth that Jesus, by virtue of the hypostatic union, is God and man united inseparably in one person. Now Root considers the implications, noting that because ministry is about participation with Jesus in his ministry, truly Christian ministry is both personal and spiritual.

Ministry is personal Root asserts that "personhood" is the "location" where "God most fully reveals Godself" (p139). The point of this assertion is not to suggest that God is limited to a location (he is omnipresent), but that, because of the Incarnation (John 1:14), God is encountered most fully in Jesus--the Son of God who became (and remains) human person so that we might know and relate to God as the human persons we are created to be:
Too often in…

Relational ministry and the hypostatic union

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The Relational Pastor, part 11For other posts in this series, click on a number: 12345678, 9, 10, 12131415.

Last time in this series exploring The Relational Pastor, we looked at how Andrew Root exhorts us to move beyond ministry models to flexible, responsive sharing in the actual continuing ministry of Jesus. Now Root unpacks the nature of that sharing by examining the nature of Jesus himself, understanding that as ministers we are called...
...to encounter Jesus as the incarnate person Jesus is, to share in God's life by sharing in Jesus' person. And I think what the incarnation does is give me the gift of sharing in God's life by sharing in the personhood of others. I think that the incarnation, the revealing of God's person in Jesus, makes personhood the very structure within which we encounter God. So to claim the incarnation for ministry is to claim that we share in God's life, that we have union with God, through sharing in the personhoo…