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Showing posts from November, 2020

Advent: God breaks in

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This post looks at Advent, the season of four Sundays that begins the Western-Christian liturgical year. In 2020, the first Sunday of Advent is November 29.  The meaning of Advent    In his book  Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year ,  Robert E. Webber shares this concerning the meaning of the season of Advent:  Advent is the time when God breaks in on us with new surprises and touches us with a renewing and restoring power. In Christian-year worship and spirituality we call upon God for a new breaking in, a fresh outpouring of his Spirit. (p. 38)   Advent Season is a profound reminder to us that God is not remote, aloof or uninvolved. Advent tells us that God has come, is coming, and will come again ("advent" means "coming" or "arrival"). This glorious truth helps offset a message that is prevalent in our me-centered, self-sufficient, individualistic culture: I can do it on my own, thank you! The forthcoming season of Adve

The Christ-centered ethic of J.B. Torrance

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What is the basis for an approach to ethics that is fully Christian? This is a vital question, given the many, often complex ethical issues faced by the church in our world. Dr. Gary Deddo addresses this question in " A Theological Tribute to James B. Torrance" ( click here  to download), an essay in Supplemental vol. 3 of "Participatio: The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Society." Gary's essay includes the section quoted below, which summarizes JB's teaching concerning the ethical implications and obligations defined by Jesus Christ's all-inclusive humanity . James Torrance [JB] was well known for introducing certain topics by saying, “Have I told you about the time I was in . . .?” He would often then relate to us a particularly poignant interaction he had when in Northern Ireland, South Africa, or in the South of the United States, all places that at the time were experiencing social upheaval involving tremendous violence. JB felt a sp

Dealing with partiality and lording it over others

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Dr. Gary Deddo offers a biblically-grounded theological framework to assist churches in understanding and dealing with two sins at the root of racism: partiality and lording it over others.    One story, one purpose    The Bible gives us an  overall story  inclusive of all history. It's a  meta-narrative  that tells of the relationship God has with all humanity. In the unfolding of the story's four scenes (Creation, Fall, Reconciliation, and Consummation), we learn that the Creator, Redeemer God has made us  one  humanity,  one  race -- the human race. All persons, we learn, are of  one  blood .  Creation, Fall, Reconciliation, Consummation This four-scene story forms a Christian  worldview  by which those who follow Jesus view reality and critique all other worldviews. This story is God’s first and final word. It alone provides direction for living out the faith, hope and love we have as Christians for the Triune God who we worship. It alone upholds the true cosmic Lordship o

The impassible, passible God

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This post by Dr. Joseph Tkach (chair of the boards of Grace Communion International and Grace Communion Seminary) was published originally in the 11/20/2016 issue of GCI Update.    Down through the centuries, the church has taught that God, being impassible , is not subject to suffering, pain, or the ebb and flow of involuntary passions. God is seen as not being controlled, conditioned, manipulated or otherwise affected by anything external to himself. The impassible God is constant and faithful, exercising sovereignty over all. His impassibility is an expression of his immutable (unchanging) eternal nature, character and purposes. The church has also taught that the Eternal Son of God, through the incarnation, took on a real and complete human nature, becoming one of us. Not being impassible, we humans affected by all kinds of things external to ourselves; we are not constant in our emotional states and in how we voluntarily carry out our wills, purposes and ends; we also change our