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Showing posts from August, 2015

God's commands: threats or promises?

How are we to understand the commands of God recorded in the Bible? Some view them as threats ("Do this or else!"), others as promises ("In me, you shall do this"). Here we find a key distinction between a legalistic and a grace-based view of obedience to God. While legalists view obedience as what must be done to avoid condemnation (or to earn rewards), those living by grace view obedience as the outflow of the relationship they have been given with God in Christ through the Spirit. While legalists obey God out of obligation, those living by grace obey God because they are part of his family.

As noted in the helpful sermon below from Peter Heitt (lead pastor at The Sanctuary in Denver), this difference of viewpoint is seen clearly in how people interpret Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount.

Christian ethics: it's about being neighbor

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This post continues a series in The Shape of Practical Theology by Trinitarian theologian Ray S. Anderson. For other posts in the series, click on a number: 123456, 7, 910,11,12131415.

In a chapter on ethics grounded in Trinitarian, Christ-centered practical theology (Christopraxis), Anderson offers this summary statement:
The criterion by which we measure... the "ethical event" between humans is the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ by which humanity is liberated from the inhumanity of sin and restored and morally empowered through grace. Christopraxis is a form of moral empowerment rather than merely moral judgment. (p160) Following the teaching of Karl Barth, Anderson asserts that Christian ethics is not about impersonal rules and ideals, but about true humanity found in Jesus. As our representative and on our behalf, the Son of God united all people to himself by assuming our fallen humanity, and then through his life, death, resurrection and…

The church: it's about incarnational, ministering community

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This post continues a series looking at The Shape of Practical Theology by Trinitarian theologian Ray S. Anderson. For other posts in the series, click on a number: 123456, 8910,11,12131415.
These days we're often told that churches must become more "missional." Various models are offered for doing so (including the one at right). Ray Anderson helpfully adds to this discussion with a Christ-centered ecclesiology and missiology grounded in incarnational, Trinitarian theology:
[The] mission of the church is grounded in its nature as the community of the children of God whose lives have ontological grounding in the very being of Christ.... As the inner life of Jesus in his relation to the Father is constitutive of Christology, so the inner life of the church in its experience of Jesus Christ is constitutive of ecclesiology (p113). Anderson then shows that the church does not need to add something in order to be missional. Instead it needs to live into th…

What is Jesus doing? (LGBT issues)

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This post continues a series looking at The Shape of Practical Theology by Trinitarian theologian Ray S. Anderson. For other posts in the series, click on a number: 1234, 5, 7891011,12131415.

Last time we saw how Anderson addresses the calling Christians have to discern what Jesus is now doing so that they may participate with him in serving the Father, through the Spirit, for the sake of the world. An essential part of the discernment process involves carefully exegeting Scripture in order to understand God's will. Part of that exegesis involves looking for what Anderson refers to as a biblical antecedent related to the issue under examination. Last time we saw how Anderson applies this hermeneutical method in addressing the issue of female ordination. This time we'll see how he applies it to the issue of homosexual relations.

As we begin, it's vital to remind ourselves that anything we conclude concerning this controversial topic must not overshadow wh…