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Showing posts from September, 2014

Examining the origins debate, part 2

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This is part 2 in a series exploring Gerald Rau's book Mapping the Origins Debate. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 345678.

Six origins models In this post we'll overview Rau's six origins models. They fall into two groups: evolutionary models (of which there are four) and creationary models (of which there are two). We'll note points of agreement and disagreement, due to multiple factors that will become more evident as we proceed through the series.

Evolutionary models If the origins debate is to be productive, a key issue has to do with agreeing on what is meant by key terms. One such term is "evolution," which is used in various ways, sometimes referring to a philosophy as much as a process. That philosophy is naturalism, "the conviction that everything can be explained by natural causes" alone, an idea closely related to materialism, "the idea that there is no reality apart from the material world" (p42).

Ra…

Examining the origins debate, part 1

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This is part 1 in a series exploring Gerald Rau's book Mapping the Origins Debate. For other posts in the series, click a number: 2, 345678.

What does this topic have to do with incarnational, Trinitarian theology? Principally this: the Triune God, who created the cosmos, now sustains it moment by moment. As noted in Scripture, "In him [God], we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). There is no distant, uninvolved, deistic God here.

The Triune God revealed to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ is one who has been and continues to be involved with his creation in the most intimate, personal way. However, in his grace, God does not, through his involvement, dictate all that happens to his creation as though he was a puppeteer manipulating his marionette. Rather, in love and for love (real relationship), God grants his creation (humankind included) freedom to develop--or in the words of science (which need unpacking), freedom to evolve. This freed…

The practice of confession

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For other posts in this series on the book Life Together, click a number: 1234567, 8.
This is the ninth and concluding post in a series examining Dietrich Bonhoeffer's classic book on Christian community. His focus in the last chapter is the practice of confession within the church.

Scripture admonishes followers of Christ to "Confess your faults one to another" (James 5:16 KJV). But as Bonhoeffer notes, many Christians neglect this instruction to their detriment: "He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone," and this despite being together with others in worship, prayer and fellowship. Without confession as part of the practice of the community, its fellowship "permits no one to be a sinner... everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship." The result is people gathered together, yet living alone "in lies and hypocrisy" (p110).

Confession leads to truth and liberation This unfortunate situation compromise…

Ministries of the Word and Authority

For other posts in this series on the book Life Together, click a number: 123456, 7, 9.
The previous post in this series noted Bonhoeffer's call for the practice of meekness as essential to the health of a faith community. He goes on to discuss the related practices of listening to one another (Christians, particularly Christian leaders, too often speak before listening, p97), helping one another, and bearing one another's burdens--including one another's sins though the practice of unconditional forgiveness (p102).

The Ministry of the Word When these ministries of grace are in place, "the ultimate and highest service can also be rendered, namely, the ministry of the Word of God to others." Because this ministry is often abused within the church, Bonhoeffer gives this warning:
[Speaking the Word is] that unique situation in which one person bears witness in human words to another person, bespeaking the whole consolation of God, the admonition, the kindn…

Preparing for Advent and Christmas

It's now September, which means that Advent, followed by Christmas, is not far away. It's likely that those who lead the church in worship are already preparing. This post may be of help. 
The Advent/Christmas season celebrates (in this order), the future, present and past "comings" of the incarnate Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ ("advent" from Latin "adventus," means "coming"). These celebrations begin a new cycle in the church's annual worship calendar in much of Western Christianity.
For an incarnational, Trinitarian perspective on the meaning of this important season, together with other resources to help with preparation, click here. (Note: the first Sunday of Advent in 2014 is November 30).