Showing posts from December, 2016

Stay focused on Jesus

The post below is adapted from an article by Joseph Tkach. It provides food for thought as we enter the season of Epiphany , which celebrates the revealing of Jesus Christ to the world. [Revised 1/9/17] Given that he is the final and ultimate revelation of who God is (Hebrews 1:3), Jesus must remain our focus throughout the year. Knowing who Jesus is and what he has done for us helps us grow in understanding the reconciliation we have with God and each other. In Christ, through the Holy Spirit, we are set free to love. Let's look at some related concepts. Come Follow Me by Liz Lemon Swindle (used with artist's permission) Jesus' two natures and his vicarious humanity Jesus is both divine and human--- two natures united permanently in one person,  through what theologians refer to as the hypostatic union ,  a term utilized in the early church to apprehend the truth revealed in Scripture that Jesus is the  complete, personal sharing of God in humanity's lif

Theology matters (the Nicene faith)

This post concludes a seven-part review of James B. (JB) Torrance's book, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace . For the other posts in the series, click a number:  1 ,  2 ,  3 ,  4 ,  5 , 6 . [Updated 12/28/2016] JB (pictured at right) sums up his purposes for writing with this important statement: I have been concerned to stress the need to recover the centrality of the doctrine of the Trinity in the life of our churches today for a number of reasons---for a better doctrine of God as a covenant God, not a contract-God; for a more biblical understanding of worship; and for a less individualist anthropology---an understanding of our humanity and our destiny in the purposes of the God of grace, to be a community of persons enjoying communion with God and with one another. (p. 95) In his final chapter, which I'll touch on only briefly here, JB confronts objections to his incarnational, Trinitarian vision. I've personally encountered some of these, includ

Christ and the wonderful exchange

This post continues a review of James B. (JB) Torrance's book, "Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace." For additional posts in the series, click a number:  1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 7 . [Updated 12/19/2016] As noted in our last post , JB is adamant in his assertion that in approaching worship (and all aspects of theology), before we ask any  how  or why  questions, we must first ask the essential Who question: " Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? " JB illustrates this principle by discussing the two sacraments of the church. Last time we noted what he says about baptism; now we'll look at his comments about the Lord's Supper. At the Lord's Table we encounter Jesus Christ, who through his life of communion with the Father, in the Spirit, gives himself to the Father on behalf of all people in all times (Hebrews 10:4). This self-giving, which culminated at the Cross, continues with Jesus' ministry as High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), making cont

The key question: Who is Jesus?

This post continues a review of James B. (JB) Torrance's book, "Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace." For additional posts in the series, click a number:  1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,  6 ,   7 . [Updated 12/11/2016] Last time we looked at the wonder of God's grace  seen in the dual mediatorial role of Jesus. JB continues this discussion in chapter three with the vital observation that in theology, our "dogmatic starting point" must be the question, "Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ?" Unfortunately, that often is not where we begin, focusing instead on the "utilitarian questions of 'how.'" JB elaborates: In our pragmatic Western society in this technological age, our starting point so often is the problems of the world, of church and society---problems of race, the inner city, unemployment, poverty, violence, injustice. These are issues of such urgent importance that we give primacy to the question of how to solve them. We ca

The Christmas story

During the Advent-Christmas season, we look forward to Jesus' second advent (coming), then back to his first (his incarnation and birth). Concerning his birth, I've reproduced below a sermon recently published on GCI's  Trinitarian Preaching  page on Facebook. Enjoy! Jesus Shares our Humanity by Ted Johnston Introduction In Luke chapter two, the beloved physician gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ early life as newborn baby, infant, and youth. Luke shows how Jesus, sharing our humanity at each stage of human development, beat back our fallen nature with the temptations it brings. At every point on this journey, Jesus (in his vicarious humanity and by the power of the Spirit) was at work re-creating our humanity. As God incarnate (sharing our flesh), Jesus not only is  with us , but as one of us, he is radically for us .  Joy to the world---the Lord is come! 1. Jesus, the newborn baby (Luke 2:1–20) Luke shows how the eternal Son of God came into the world of his cr