Showing posts from December, 2013

Beware mythological projections

This post is adapted, with permission, from material written by Dr. Gary Deddo .  For a related earlier post,  click here . In proclaiming that "God loves, forgives and includes all people in Christ," is Trinitarian, Incarnational theology ignoring the difference between believers and non-believers? Some who disagree with the theology advanced here think so. Though I respect their concerns, in framing their objections they may be using a form of  mythological projection. This is   the error of projecting back onto God what is observed about humans. Here's an example: "Since some people believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and some do not, it follows that God must regard believers and non-believers differently." It is then a short hop to concluding that God loves, forgives and includes only believers. Trinitarian, Incarnational theology seeks to avoid mythological projections, using instead a theo-logic  that is grounded in the truth that only God reveals Go

The Meaning of Incarnation

In this season of Christmas, I thought it fitting to reproduce below the text of a "Speaking of Life" program with GCI President Joseph Tkach ( click here to watch it on YouTube). Merry Christmas to the readers of this blog.  --Ted Johnston The Meaning of Incarnation   by Joseph Tkach As we celebrate our Savior’s birth, I wonder if we ever stop to consider what a great sacrifice Jesus made by becoming one of us? Here is how Paul describes it in his letter to the church at Ephesus: Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became  human ! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a se

Participation in Christ, part 10 (experiencing our new humanity)

This post concludes a ten part series looking at Adam Neder's excellent  book, " Participation in Christ (An Entry into Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics) ." To read other posts in the series, click on a number:  1 ,  2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 ,  8 ,  9 . We come now to the last post in this series. We'll look at Neder's analysis of Barth's understanding that, through participation in Christ, we experience the new humanity that is ours in the resurrected, glorified humanity of Jesus Christ. In that regard, what is true for all people already in Christ in a de jure  (objective/universal) sense, is experienced by individuals progressively in a de facto (subjective/personal) sense through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Thus Barth embraced a "Christocentric pneumatology " (a Christ-centered doctrine of the Holy Spirit), alongside his " theology of the resurrection of Christ" (p83, emphasis added). For Barth, this personal experience of ou

Disciple-making as spiritual parenting

Unfortunately, disciple-making in our culture often is equated with conveying information: insert information, out pops Christian maturity . But for Jesus and his early followers, making disciples was a highly relational, life-on-life process that led to growth in maturity. When Jesus called his followers "disciples" ( mathētēs  is the Greek word used in the Gospels and in Acts), he was using the word as it was understood in his first century Jewish cultural setting (for a helpful discussion about this, click here ). In that setting, disciple-making involved a relationship between a mentor (typically a Rabbi), the disciple-maker; and a protege, known as the "disciple." This relationship was not about mere information transfer. Rather the Rabbi shared his whole life with his disciple and in so doing, imparted his character ( who he was ), his knowledge ( what he knew ) and his skills ( what he could do ). You might say that the Rabbi gave his disciple his  hear