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Showing posts from May, 2016

The creation vs evolution debate

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How should Christians approach the ongoing creation vs. evolution debate, which involves the place of biblical revelation and scientific investigation in informing one's understanding of the origin and development of the cosmos, including the human race. The post below by Dr. Gary Deddo of GCI provides helpful perspective on this controversial topic. This post is a modified version of a comment to the cover letter of the 2/26/2014 issue of GCI Weekly Update.

While it is certainly legitimate for Christians to probe questions regarding the definition of evolution and the related understanding of micro and macro evolution, these are, strictly speaking, scientific questions and not theological ones. The point here is that the church is equipped to authoritatively answer theological questions and we seek to do so on the basis of biblical revelation. We are not authorized on the basis of biblical revelation to answer strictly scientific questions. One such question would concern the mec…

Ministry: sharing in God's being and doing

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This post continues a series examining key points of Andrew Purves' book Reconstructing Pastoral Theology: A Christological Foundation. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 34567891011.

For Purves, a truly incarnational, Trinitarian understanding of Christian ministry is grounded in two great theological precepts:
The dual mediation of Christ:Jesus is both God's Word and act addressing humanity, and humanity's word and act addressing God. Athanasius was an early champion of this truth.Union with Christ: by the Spirit we are joined to Christ and thus to his mission from and to the Father. Calvin emphasized this truth in the Protestant reformation.
Given these foundational truths, Purves makes several key assertions: The ministry of God in, through, and as Jesus Christ is the proper foundation for the understanding and practice of ministry.The focus is on God's ministry, which was and is and ever will be actual, and therefore relevant and appro…

What makes pastoral work Christian?

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This post begins a series examining key points of Andrew Purves' book Reconstructing Pastoral Theology: A Christological Foundation. For other posts in this series, click a number: 2, 34567891011.

A concern of many Surprising God readers is how incarnational Trinitarian theology relates to the everyday challenges of pastoral ministry. It is to this concern that theologian Andrew Purves addresses himself in his insightful book, Reconstructing Pastoral Theology. He offers a fully incarnational and Trinitarian perspective on pastoral theology (or what some term practical theology).

Theologian Ray Anderson (now deceased) endorsed the book, commending Purves for grounding "pastoral care in Christ's continuing ministry of revelation and reconciliation in the world on behalf of God the Father through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit" (back cover---and click here for an earlier Surprising God series on Anderson's book The Shape of Practical Theol…

True freedom and dignity in Christ

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This post concludes a review of key points in Ron Highfield's book, God, Freedom & Human Dignity: Embracing a God-Centered Identity in a Me-Centered Culture. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Highfield begins his concluding chapter asking, "Does the Christian way of viewing God and humanity overcome the idea that God is a threat to our genuine freedom and dignity?" (p. 207). As we have seen throughout the book, his answer is "yes" and the reason is not fundamentally about a how, but about a who---about Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. It is in and through Jesus that we see the definitive truth (reality) concerning both God and humanity.

The reality of the God-man Jesus The biblical, Nicene faith declares that Jesus is fully God and fully human---two natures in one person. Moreover, it declares that in and through the humanity of Jesus, by the Spirit, the God of love and grace has permanently united …