Showing posts from February, 2008

Trinitarian theology widespread

The more I learn about the Triune God, the more I am finding that this "rediscovery" of the Trinity is being experienced all over the Christian world. The Worldwide Church of God is not alone in coming to greater understanding of Trinitarian theology. And it's not just Baxter Kruger or the Torrance brothers. It's kind of like when you buy a new car; you start seeing that model everywhere. I've noticed many in the Christian world are reexamining our faith from the viewpoint of the Trinity, and it excites me! I just found an interview with Larry Crabb on Christianity Today's website that is wonderful. Regarding his vision for the formation of caring congregations, Mr. Crabb was asked whether his idea can be taught. He replied: "It starts with a recognition of impoverished theology. Eugene Peterson was scheduled to appear at a conference on spiritual formation. I phoned him to ask what he would speak on. 'Our Trinitarian theology in the evangelical

The gospel in a nutshell

There are many ways to summarize the good news of our inclusion in God's life through our union with Jesus. Here is one from Paul: "Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right " (Romans 5:18-19, The Message , Eugene H. Peterson). The good news is that all humanity has been "put right" with God. Though once condemned because of the disobedience of Adam (Romans 5:18a) "all men" now have "justification that brings life" (5:18b, NIV) through the obedience of the second Adam, Jesus. And now the call goes out to all to repent (change their thinking about God and themselves), embrace Jesus (join their faith to the faith of Jesus) and live the life that is t

Our participation in God's life and love

As we discuss Christ-centered (trinitaian) theology, a key issue is how we live out individually and together our inclusion with Jesus in God's triune life and love. This inclusion is not a concept - it's real life shared with a real person - Jesus! Unfortunately, Christian living and ministry is often reduced to mere programs and strategies. And while these have their place, they are of value only as they assist and enhance Spirit-led participation with Jesus in his living and loving in our world. Ministry as relational participation places the emphasis where I think it rightfully belongs: relationships that embrace and reflect the life of the Trinity. Consider our participation with Jesus in family relationships (an appropriate ministry concern). This topic is helpfully addressed in the book “Ecstasy and Intimacy” by Edith M. Humphrey. On page 157 she makes what I think is an essential point: through human fellowship (marriage, family and friendship), we experience “echoe

A trinitarian - relational view of holiness

God's holiness is often expressed as "moral perfection" (i.e. separation from "worldliness" and sin). But this moral view of holiness fails to apprehend the ultimate ground of holiness which is God's triune relationship of love as Father, Son and Spirit. This trinitarian - relational basis of God's holiness (we might speak of his "wholeness") is from all eternity, precedes creation, and thus precedes the presence of sin and evil. L.T. Jeyachandran expounds a trinitarian view of holiness in one of the chapters in Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend, edited by Ravi Zacharias (Thomas Nelson, 2007). Here's an excerpt (and thanks to Jerome Ellard for telling me about this book): If I were awakened suddenly in the middle of the night and asked this question, “What is holiness?” my instinctive answer would be “Absence of sin!” Although that may be enough of an answer for our understanding of holiness because of our fallenness a

Presenting a Trinitarian gospel

Jeff McSwain The Jan./Feb. 2008 issue of The Journal of Student Ministries includes the article "Reconsidering the 'Non-Negotiables'" by Christian Smith (Notre Dame) and Douglas Campbell (Duke Divinity School). The article is written in defense of Jeff McSwain and other staffers recently fired from Young Life (YL) for advocating a Trinitarian view of the gospel - one grounded fully in God's triune nature and Jesus' incarnation. Though Smith and Campbell acknowledge that Young Life has a valuable ministry and that their teachings are, in balance, fully orthodox, they believe that YLs position on how the gospel should be presented to teens is "defective" in that it espouses a "conditional and sequential understanding of salvation" that is dependent upon our own "human repentance and faith." They note that "the theological commitment entailed in [YL's] position is a belief that God saves us because we repent - that