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Showing posts from June, 2016

What is the ministry of the church?

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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, 2, 3, 467891011.

Having noted that authentic (fully Christian) pastoral ministry is gospel- and trinitarian-shaped, Purves examines what that ministry looks like in "practical" terms. He begins by reminding us that pastoral ministry is "empowerment for faithfulness," which God does in and through us by "joining us to the faithfulness of Jesus"(p. 43). He also reminds us that our obedience to God, expressed as ministry, involves "sharing by the Holy Spirit in Christ's [own] obedience" as our High Priest (p. 44). In making these points, Purves wants us to understand that ministry is not something that is up to us, for "Jesus Christ is the primary minister (Hebrews 8:2), and our ministry, [being] derivative, [is] participation in the apostol…

Trinitarian-shaped pastoral ministry

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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, 2, 3. 567891011.

Purves views the doctrine of the Trinity as "the basic framework of meaning within which we live our lives as Christians" (p. 30). Many readers of this blog devote their lives to pastoral ministry, a calling Purves addresses in noting that "the doctrine of the Trinity is the grammar of all talk of God [including] every theological understanding of Christian ministry" (p. 31).

Rather than mere theory with little practical relevance, Purves views the doctrine of the Trinity as the principle means of understanding all of life (ministry included) in the context of the reality of 1) who God is (in his being and doing), 2) who we are as beings created in God's image, and 3) how we may live (including pastoral ministry) in ways aligned with who God is a…

Gospel-shaped pastoral ministry

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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, 2, 4567891011.

For Purves, pastoral ministry is fully Christian when it flows from a pastoral theology that is understood as a hermeneutical discipline formulated in reference to the being and acts of God who, in Christ, and by the Spirit, is actively ministering in our world. But how is the ongoing ministry of the triune God identified so that we may participate? According to Purves, the all-important hermeneutical (interpretive) key is the gospel of Jesus Christ:
[The gospel]reveals and interprets the reality of the human situation and heals, sustains, reconciles and guides. It is the actuality of the gospel, the presence of the living Christ clothed with his saving works, that defines and enables the pastoral ministry of the church, giving it a power from beyond itself.... Insofar a…