Posts Tagged ‘Trinity’

“I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am He.”  (John 8:24 NRSV)

IamHe

ancient-faith

A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future

PROLOGUE

In every age the Holy Spirit calls the Church to examine its faithfulness to God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, authoritatively recorded in Scripture and handed down through the Church. Thus, while we affirm the global strength and vitality of worldwide Evangelicalism in our day, we believe the North American expression of Evangelicalism needs to be especially sensitive to the new external and internal challenges facing God’s people.

These external challenges include the current cultural milieu and the resurgence of religious and political ideologies. The internal challenges include Evangelical accommodation to civil religion, rationalism, privatism and pragmatism. In light of these challenges, we call Evangelicals to strengthen their witness through a recovery of the faith articulated by the consensus of the ancient Church and its guardians in the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation and the Evangelical awakenings. Ancient Christians faced a world of paganism, Gnosticism and political domination. In the face of heresy and persecution, they understood history through Israel’s story, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Today, as in the ancient era, the Church is confronted by a host of master narratives that contradict and compete with the gospel. The pressing question is: who gets to narrate the world? The Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future challenges Evangelical Christians to restore the priority of the divinely inspired biblical story of God’s acts in history. The narrative of God’s Kingdom holds eternal implications for the mission of the Church, its theological reflection, its public ministries of worship and spirituality and its life in the world. By engaging these themes, we believe the Church will be strengthened to address the issues of our day.

1. ON THE PRIMACY OF THE BIBLICAL NARRATIVE

We call for a return to the priority of the divinely authorized canonical story of the Triune God. This story-Creation, Incarnation, and Re-creation-was effected by Christ’s recapitulation of human history and summarized by the early Church in its Rules of Faith. The gospel-formed content of these Rules served as the key to the interpretation of Scripture and its critique of contemporary culture, and thus shaped the church’s pastoral ministry. Today, we call Evangelicals to turn away from modern theological methods that reduce the gospel to mere propositions, and from contemporary pastoral ministries so compatible with culture that they camouflage God’s story or empty it of its cosmic and redemptive meaning. In a world of competing stories, we call Evangelicals to recover the truth of God’s word as the story of the world, and to make it the centerpiece of Evangelical life.

2. ON THE CHURCH, THE CONTINUATION OF GOD’S NARRATIVE

We call Evangelicals to take seriously the visible character of the Church. We call for a commitment to its mission in the world in fidelity to God’s mission (Missio Dei), and for an exploration of the ecumenical implications this has for the unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity of the Church. Thus, we call Evangelicals to turn away from an individualism that makes the Church a mere addendum to God’s redemptive plan. Individualistic evangelicalism has contributed to the current problems of churchless Christianity, redefinitions of the Church according to business models, separatist ecclesiologies and judgmental attitudes toward the Church. Therefore, we call Evangelicals to recover their place in the community of the Church catholic.

3. ON THE CHURCH’S THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION ON GOD’S NARRATIVE

We call for the Church’s reflection to remain anchored in the Scriptures in continuity with the theological interpretation learned from the early Fathers. Thus, we call Evangelicals to turn away from methods that separate theological reflection from the common traditions of the Church. These modern methods compartmentalize God’s story by analyzing its separate parts, while ignoring God’s entire redemptive work as recapitulated in Christ. Anti-historical attitudes also disregard the common biblical and theological legacy of the ancient Church. Such disregard ignores the hermeneutical value of the Church’s ecumenical creeds. This reduces God’s story of the world to one of many competing theologies and impairs the unified witness of the Church to God’s plan for the history of the world. Therefore, we call Evangelicals to unity in “the tradition that has been believed everywhere, always and by all,” as well as to humility and charity in their various Protestant traditions.

4. ON THE CHURCH’S WORSHIP AS TELLING AND ENACTING GOD’S NARRATIVE

We call for public worship that sings, preaches and enacts God’s story. We call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers to us in baptism, Eucharist, confession, the laying on of hands, marriage, healing and through the charisma of the Spirit, for these actions shape our lives and signify the meaning of the world. Thus, we call Evangelicals to turn away from forms of worship that focus on God as a mere object of the intellect or that assert the self as the source of worship. Such worship has resulted in lecture-oriented, music-driven, performance-centered and program-controlled models that do not adequately proclaim God’s cosmic redemption. Therefore, we call Evangelicals to recover the historic substance of worship of Word and Table and to attend to the Christian year, which marks time according to God’s saving acts.

5. ON SPIRITUAL FORMATION IN THE CHURCH AS EMBODIMENT OF GOD’S NARRATIVE

We call for a catechetical spiritual formation of the people of God that is based firmly on a Trinitarian biblical narrative. We are concerned when spirituality is separated from the story of God and baptism into the life of Christ and his Body. Spirituality, made independent from God’s story, is often characterized by legalism, mere intellectual knowledge, an overly therapeutic culture, New Age Gnosticism, a dualistic rejection of this world and a narcissistic preoccupation with one’s own experience. These false spiritualities are inadequate for the challenges we face in today’s world. Therefore, we call Evangelicals to return to a historic spirituality like that taught and practiced in the ancient catechumenate.

6. ON THE CHURCH’S EMBODIED LIFE IN THE WORLD

We call for a cruciform holiness and commitment to God’s mission in the world. This embodied holiness affirms life, biblical morality and appropriate self-denial. It calls us to be faithful stewards of the created order and bold prophets to our contemporary culture. Thus, we call Evangelicals to intensify their prophetic voice against forms of indifference to God’s gift of life, economic and political injustice, ecological insensitivity and the failure to champion the poor and marginalized. Too often we have failed to stand prophetically against the culture’s captivity to racism, consumerism, political correctness, civil religion, sexism, ethical relativism, violence and the culture of death. These failures have muted the voice of Christ to the world through his Church and detract from God’s story of the world, which the Church is collectively to embody. Therefore, we call the Church to recover its counter-cultural mission to the world.

EPILOGUE

In sum, we call Evangelicals to recover the conviction that God’s story shapes the mission of the Church to bear witness to God’s Kingdom and to inform the spiritual foundations of civilization. We set forth this Call as an ongoing, open-ended conversation. We are aware that we have our blind spots and weaknesses. Therefore, we encourage Evangelicals to engage this Call within educational centers, denominations and local churches through publications and conferences.

We pray that we can move with intention to proclaim a loving, transcendent, triune God who has become involved in our history. In line with Scripture, creed and tradition, it is our deepest desire to embody God’s purposes in the mission of the Church through our theological reflection, our worship, our spirituality and our life in the world, all the while proclaiming that Jesus is Lord over all creation.

This Call is issued in the spirit of sic et non; therefore those who affix their names to this Call need not agree with all its content. Rather, its consensus is that these are issues to be discussed in the tradition of semper reformanda as the church faces the new challenges of our time. Over a period of seven months, more than 300 persons have participated via e-mail to write the Call. These men and women represent a broad diversity of ethnicity and denominational affiliation. The four theologians who most consistently interacted with the development of the Call have been named as Theological Editors. The Board of Reference was given the special assignment of overall approval.

Just before his death in 2007, Robert E. Webber (inset picture) spent a good portion of his time working collaboratively with over 300 theologians and other leaders to craft A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future. The Call continues some themes and expands upon the Chicago Call” of 1977, and sets forth a vision for an Ancient-Future faith in a postmodern world. That Webber helped to craft such a call is not unusual, for he spent the whole of his professional life calling the church to continual reform and, most especially, encouraging leaders and laity alike to drink from the refreshing well of ancient truth. That the Call came, as it did, at a time of great change in the world and in the church, and that it also came just before his passing, gives it a kind of weight that makes it especially compelling to examine.

Jesus

 

ViewTheStory.com/6999

To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love….

Jesus is reaching out to you!

God bless you!

What-Do-You-Believe

Doctrine matters…really. There are two important things to keep in mind. Matters of doctrine or as John Piper calls them “theological trademarks” are not new, or distinctive to us, they are not a niche or eccentric. True apostolic doctrine all have wide foundations in the Bible and deep roots in the history of God’s people. What you and I read in the Apostles Creed or in the Nicene Creed, really matter. The true apostolic teaching revealed in Holy Scripture, and through the writings of the early Church fathers, and the Reformers are treasures for the Church today. These doctrines are fundamentally eternal truths that we must immerse ourselves in so that we can increase the vision of our awesome God so much that we will want to act on them. These teachings will make us want to build something, to start something, to dream big, and risk even more for the glory of God in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! I pray for nothing less.

Patrick_Ireland4

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

byGraceFaith

“Salvation is like a house built beside a broad and busy highway. Like everyone else, I was born on that highway and was spending my life following it to its destination. At first the trip had been exciting and almost effortless, the constant flow of the crowd carrying me along. However, the farther down the road I got, the more difficult things became; my original joy had dissipated and I noticed that my fellow travelers rarely laughed anymore and their occasional smiles seemed forced. The backpack I had been issued at the beginning of my journey had grown heavier every day, and I was now permanently stooped from its weight. Worst of all, I had been overtaken lately by an unexplainable fear of reaching the end of the highway’.

‘One day my attention was drawn suddenly to the side of the highway to a magnificently constructed house. Over its narrow front doors a sign silently announced in bold red letters: ‘Whosoever Will May Enter and Find Rest’. I do not know how I knew it, but I realized that if I could reach the inside of this beautiful house I would be saved from the highway and its destination. Pushing my way through the mass of indifferent travelers, I broke clear of the crowd and ran up the steps to the front door. But, it was locked. Perhaps it’s only stuck, I thought, and tried again. It refused to open. I was confused. Why would someone put up a sign inviting people in and then lock the door to keep them out? Not knowing what else to do (I refused to return to the highway), I pounded on the door, and shouted for someone on the inside to open it, and tried to pick the lock – but it was useless’.

‘Suddenly a voice spoke my name, and I spun around. It was the Builder of the House. He placed in my hand a key with one word carved on it: FAITH. Turning back to the door, I inserted the key in the lock, twisted it, and heard a reassuring click. The door swung open, and I stepped across the threshold. Immediately the backpack fell from off my shoulders, my back began to straighten like a wilting flower reaching for the sunlight, and from deep within me my soul breathed a sigh of relief as an extraordinary sense of peace and well-being wrapped itself around me. The Builder of the House welcomed me to my new home, explaining that everything in the house was now mine to enjoy. This was the house that grace had built, and faith was the key’.

‘Surveying my new surroundings, I saw that the House of Salvation was a house with many rooms and I was only in the foyer. Across the way was a door marked Answered Prayer. Next to it was another Daily Victory, and next to it, Every Need Supplied. The row of doors, each promising some spiritual blessing, stretched endlessly throughout the house. The discovery of these other rooms puzzled me, for I failed to mention that the foyer in which I stood was jammed with people. It seemed that everyone who entered the house stopped in the foyer, never advancing beyond it, as though the foyer were the entire building’ – remember that as well.

‘This was little better than the highway. Couldn’t they see that there was more to the House of Salvation than the foyer? Surely, the Builder intended every room to be occupied. Hadn’t he said that everything in the house was ours to enjoy? I, for one, had no desire to spend my life standing in a foyer. This was my Father’s house; I was his child, and all he possessed was mine. I went to the door marked Answered Prayer, grabbed the knob, and twisted. It was locked. I went to the next door, the next, and the next. All were locked. Nevertheless, this time I didn’t try to pick the lock or knock the door down. I remembered my encounter with the front door and knew I had a key for that. Although I had been in the house only a short time, I had somehow managed to accumulate a large number of other keys. Rummaging through my collection, I selected one tagged Doing Your Best, and tried it. It did not fit. Nor did the one tagged Religious Activity. The key of Sincerity proved useless. Next I tried the key of Tithing (I was getting desperate); but it was as powerless as the others. I was beginning to understand why the foyer was so crowded’.

‘And then I heard a familiar voice. It was the Builder of the House. ‘Child’, he said, ‘do you remember the key I gave you to enter my house?’. ‘Yes, I remember’. ‘What was it?’. ‘Why, it was the key of Faith’, I answered’. Now listen, the Builder said: ‘The key of Faith is the master key that unlocks every door in the house’. Faith is the master key of the Christian life. From start to finish, salvation is ‘by grace through faith’. Everything we get in the Christian life we get by grace through faith. Grace makes it available and faith accepts it. Grace is God’s hand giving; faith is man’s hand receiving. Faith possesses what grace provides. Grace is God’s part; faith is man’s part. It is our positive response to God’s gracious offer. Everything God demands of man can be summed up in one word: faith.”

~ by Ronald Dunn

“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” ~ Philippians 3:19

Our hearts are idol factories. We are always tempted to make temporal things into ultimate things. We must be on guard against idolatry in our lives. Shouldn’t we assess the state of our hearts to see what we may have turned into an idol? Anyone or any thing can become an idol in our life. That is because we love them or it more than God.