Showing posts from April, 2017

The line from Christmas to Easter

Growing up, our family photo album wasn’t complete each year without picturing the joy of both Christmas and Easter. From toddler to teen years, there were pictures of us kids grinning from ear to ear by the Christmas tree in the living room, and a few pages later we were outdoors, dressed in Easter outfits and squinting in the sunlight of Spring. As the years passed, each combination of pictures help show who we were and who we were becoming. Incarnation (public domain) Of course we were not theologians—just a typical church-going family in the 1950’s and 60’s. But Christmas (which is about the Incarnation of the Son of God ) and Easter (which is about his resurrection) really are inseparable. T.F. Torrance makes this plain in Atonement, the Person and Work of Christ : The teaching of the New Testament makes it clear that we cannot isolate the resurrection from the whole redeeming purpose of God, or from the decisive deed of God in the incarnation of his Son that ran its f

Why be concerned about mission?

Given the biblical revelation that God has reconciled all humanity to himself in and through Jesus Christ (2Cor 5:17-19), why should the church be concerned about reaching out to the world in mission? And if it is to be concerned, what does that mission look like? In order to answer these questions, we first must answer this one: Who is God? The Bible's answer is that the one God exists eternally as a tri-personal communion of love. In his being (nature), God is love (1John 4:8), and God does what God is. The triune God of love is a God who, in love, reaches out to others. Missional God In love, God created the cosmos as a time/place in which to share his triune love and life with his creation. And because his love never ceases or diminishes, he became Redeemer to rescue his creation from its inability, due to the fall, to live in communion with him. As Creator and Redeemer, God has, from before time, been on mission. The mission of God (missio Dei) in creation and redemp

Belong, believe, become

Several years ago I attended a conference in which a presenter asked this question: "How do we minister to the typically post-modern, post-Christian younger generations?" He went on to note that the typical evangelical presentation of the gospel is not connecting with this cohort---a presentation that goes something like this:     Behave: change the way you live---repent---act like you belong here  Believe: change the way you think---have faith---believe like one of us  Belong: because you have repented and now believe like we do, God forgives you and makes you his child---you are now reconciled/saved---you are now welcome here       (used with artist's permission) Another presenter suggested that we change the way we present the gospel to follow this pattern: Belong: you are accepted by God and by us, Jesus has included you in his life by grace---you are loved and accepted unconditionally---you belong Believe: now believe into (receive) this truth, which