On the Resurrection

What Eugene Peterson has to say about the resurrection is so good I am reposting it from last year. 

On Recovering our Resurrection Center:

We live the Christian life out of a rich tradition of formation-by-resurrection.  Jesus’ resurrection provides the energy and conditions by which we “walk before the Lord in the land of the living” – the great Psalm phrase (116:9).  The resurrection of Jesus creates and then makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit.  The do-it-yourself, self-help culture of North America has so thoroughly permeated our imaginations that we ordinarily don’t give attention to the biggest thing of all – resurrection.  And the reason we don’t is because resurrection is not something we can use or control or manipulate or improve on.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the world has had very little success in commercializing Easter – turning it into a commodity – as it has Christmas?  If we can’t in our phrase, “get a handle on it” or use it, we soon loose interest.  But resurrection is not available for our use.  It’s exclusively God’s operation.

What I want to do is rediscover our resurrection center and embrace the formation traditions that develop out of it. I’m going to deal in turn with the three aspects of Jesus’ resurrection that define and energize us as we enter the practice of resurrection lives.  I will then set this resurrection life lived out of the reality and conditions of Jesus’ resurrection in contrast to what I consider the common cultural habits and assumptions that are either oblivious to or make detours around resurrection.  I will name this “the deconstruction of resurrection.”  Finally, I will suggest something of what is involved in cultivating the practice of resurrection: living appropriately and responsively in a world in which Christ is risen  (13-14).

from: Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life (NavPress, 2006).

I’ve been realizing this Easter just how much we evangelicals tend to focus on the cross and how little we spend time reflecting on the fact and reality of the resurrection life of Jesus in us.  Somehow, sermons on the cross come across as more powerful – they garner more response, especially a response of guilt and sorrow and repentance.   In contrast to Peterson – we prefer to live cross-centered lives.  We evangelicals, we like messages on the cross, we like to keep things centered on the cross because we see it as the heart of the gospel.

But what about the resurrection?  Is it a side dish?  A happenstance that is a side note?  A marginal note?  No, it’s none of these things.  Well, we wouldn’t readily admit that but what do our thinking and actions show?

I think Peterson is on to the correct view – our lives should be resurrection centered – centered on the new life we have in Christ not merely because of the cross but almost certainly because of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.  Without the resurrection nothing would matter (cf. 1 Cor 15:14, 17), not the death of Jesus on the cross, not forgiveness, not “pistis Christou” or “dikasone Theou” or imputation or any of that.  Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead there is no freedom from the power of sin and death; there is no forgiveness of sins; there is no newness of life; no future; no nothing.

In fact, it is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that we have all these things: forgiveness, freedom, new life, healing, redemption, righteousness, and so on.   How can there be anything more important?

Key Question:  Is it fair to say we should in some sense move beyond the cross and on into the resurrection life to which Jesus has called us?

Think about it.  What say you?

Have a Blessed Easter!

Have a Blessed Easter today!  

Luke 24:1-8

1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.  (TNIV)

Indeed, why do we go on looking for the living among the dead?  He is not there, he is RISEN!!

Palm Sunday!

Zion’s Coming King – Zech 9:9-10 (NLT)

triumphal entry photoRejoice, O people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.
I will remove the battle chariots from Israel
and the warhorses from Jerusalem.
I will destroy all the weapons used in battle,
and your king will bring peace to the nations.
His realm will stretch from sea to sea
and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.

Be Blessed this Palm Sunday!

QTOD: on PhD’s in the Pulpit

From Mike Birds blog:

country churchIn the latest issue of ExpT there is a very good article by Gerald Hiestand on A Taxonomy of the Pastor-Theologian: Why PhD Students Should Consider the Pastorate as the Context for Their Theological Scholarship. The blurb reads:

The bifurcation of theological scholarship from pastoral ministry has led to a twofold problem in contemporary church/academy relations: the theological anemia of the church, and the ecclesial anemia of theology. This essay explores these twin problems and suggests that the way forward in bridging the gap between academy and church is to reunite the pastoral vocation with the vocation of the theologian. Toward this end, the essay offers a taxonomy of three contemporary models of the pastor-theologian, examining the strengths and limitations of each. Ultimately, the paper calls for a resurrection of an all but extinct, yet historically rooted model of the pastorate—the pastor as ecclesial theologian, and challenges the emerging generations of theologians to consider the pastorate as a viable context for their future theological scholarship.

Now you know why I have been wanting to subscribe to the Expository TImes for a while now.  🙂

Bird goes on to say:

When theology moved out from the church to the academy, the result was that “the theological water level within the pastoral community … fell considerably.” But not only that, the church became theologically anemic and theology itself became ecclesially anemic.  Hiestand argues that we need more capable theologian-types in our churches. “More theologians in our pulpits will deepen the theological integrity of our churches, while at the same time add an ecclesial voice to evangelical theology.”  He maintains that the theological integrity of the gospel in the Christian community will never rise above the level of her pastors and ecclesial theologians are best situated to produce ecclesially sensible, field-tested, theological work that deepens the faith and depth of the church.

I think this is exactly right, and I think it is also sorely needed in Pentecostal churches – all too many Pentecostal churches are in dire need of “contextual pastoral theologians” (as the program at Northern Seminary describes it).  Our movement is still young and developing.  By way and support of the Holy Spirit we need the help of trained theologians to guide Pentecostalism along the way, to prevent “theological anemia” in Pentecostal theology and praxis.

Now, here is what I want to say – this obviously is not for everyone.  This is not saying all pastors need to do this, but there is need for more.  Not all would be able to anyways, nor should they feel obligated to it or be made to feel lessor for a lack of it.  Instead, we need to do better to recognize the giftings of all and the contributions all can bring to the church, the body of Christ.   In many a Pentecostal church, even a basic MA is WAY TOO MUCH education.  But as I see it, it shouldn’t matter.  There can be equality without having to have everyone at the same educational level.  This is where things get weird.   What might be normal in other circles is an oddity in Pentecostal circles.  But I think times are a changin’.  Younger folks see the value of theological education and are going for it.  I think we’ll start to see things mature and develop theologically in Pentecostalism as more young people are getting good theological education in preparation for ministry.

So this is not mean to say all need to do this, or many more should, but I do think there is need for it!

Blessings,

on promoting theological education

theological famineIF you need an example of how NOT to do it – read this.   I find this approach not one that I could recommend.  I think maybe it has noble intentions as there is great need in the world for better resources for pastors and teachers in less developed areas of the world and especially in the global south where the church is growing faster then it can keep up with.   At the same time I think it somewhat misrepresents what theological education and “training for the ministry” is supposed to be about.  And perhaps unwittingly devalues the staunch realities and problems AND pain of true famines from which real people suffer.  It basically turns its back on the poor, the suffering, the oppressed.

As I see it, it is based on false juxtapositon of physical hunger and spiritual hunger.  They are not mirrors of each other.  They are worlds apart.  Many in the Western world are a far cry from true physical hunger and yet ALL human beings, rich or poor, free or slave, white or non-white are spiritually depraved and in desperate need of a SAVIOR.  It trivializes real hunger, real poverty, real suffering.

I think it reveals some ignorance (either they just don’t understand don’t know or are just not paying attention to it) of larger missiological contextual issues that are face in cross-cultural work.  It is a imposition of Western values on to other cultures which is a big big no-no in cross-cultural missions.  It reveals ignorance of the changing role of Westerners in world missions and or evangelization.  While there are plenty of places where westerns can be and are quite effective in evangelizing the lost where the national might be less effective (for a whole host of issues and reasons) the increasing responsibility of the Western Missionary is that of PARTNERSHIP, a coming along side nationals to reach the lost and to teach, tran, equip men and women for teaching/preaching roles in their own contexts.  The end goal of mission is not transference of one set of cultural values to another, it is TRANSFORMATION of the target culture to the glory of God.  I think it is not a good way to go about it and in my personal opinion, it would be best not to support this movement either financially, emotionally or any other sort.

It is true, there is a DERTH of theological and or ministerial resources for pastors, teachers, and leaders in the now dominant Christian world.  They are really truly asking for and desiring materials for them to tach and train folks in the Word to be sure the Bible is being well understood and followed  and adhered to in their own contexts.  But see even that raises issues as to the idea that they are looking to us for resources because (and I happen to have just enough world experience to know) they see us as successful and good and blessed by God so they want to learn from us and to emulate us.

Instead I think it would be good to help the best we can but not from the point of view of “theological famine” necessarily but in partnership in obedience to the great co-mission.  Partnering with them to teach and train their own people and maybe even from their own cultural perspectives – seems to me like a kind of theological colonialism to think we should go there and train them from our view so we know they are getting it right.

This is why I am a HUGE advocate for promoting Inductive Bible Study and that in a community context much like what we see in Mike and Tim’s book: People of the Book: Inviting Communities into Biblical Interpretation (Wipf and Stock).  That way we are working best to not IMPOSE our theology on them, but instead EQUIPPING them to study the Bible and draw their own conclusions in a way that is faithful to the Bibilcal text.  That way, we could learn something too!  🙂

Well I think that is enough of that!

Blessings,

Pope Francis I on ‘the Cross of Christ’

via Pastor Dan’s blog:

From Pope Francis I’s first homily:

Pope Francis praying at Rome's Santa Maria Maggiore basilica“We must always walk in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, always trying to live in an irreprehensible way,” he said in a heartfelt homily of a parish priest, loaded with biblical references and simple imagery.

“When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we proclaim Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly,” he said.

“We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, all of this, but we are not disciples of the Lord,” he said.

He said those who build on worldly values instead of spiritual values were like children building sand castles on a beach. “Then everything comes crashing down,” he said.

More HERE.

Sounds like things are already off to a GREAT start!

5 year WP blogging anniversary!

sorry to be posting this so late in the day but this was on my dashboard!

anniversary-1x

Happy Anniversary!
You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

Wow!  It’s hard to believe I have been “blogging” with wordpress the last five years.  My journey in blogging started with the Xanga blog format (I think in 2005 maybe?) then I went to blogger, and, well 5 years ago I switched over to WordPress, I think because of interacting with Nick.

I have to admit I know I have grown a lot through blogging.  It has developed in me a skill for writing I didn’t know I had and it has helped me develop it better.  But I have learned to interact with other bloggers and so have made good friends, even have met a few of you all.  It’s been good fellowship and i have a strong sense of camaraderie with not a few of my fellow bloggers.  We’re a good bunch we are!  🙂  And I really appreciate that you all have stuck with me through my many trials and difficult times I and my family have been through.  It’s been a long hard road and honestly, it’s been this blog and blogging in general that has kept me.  Well, sure the Lord has been our strength but often we experience that strength from the Lord in and through community and koinonia with one another.  So, Thank you all for your readership and prayers and support!  You are deeply appreciated!

Blessings!

Fuller has a new President

being a fuller alum (somewhat) myself, (took my first year of seminary classes at the Fuller NW campus before following the Lord to AGTS) – I am glad to see they did well in selecting a new President (out of some 250 nominations):

Fuller Seminary Picks New President: http://t.co/WWEqOWgdcm

Here is part of the Official Press Release:

Labberton_MarkFuller Seminary Announces Mark Labberton as Its New President

The Fuller Theological Seminary Board of Trustees has announced that Dr. Mark Labberton has accepted the call to serve as the seminary’s fifth president, beginning July 1, 2013. Labberton has served at Fuller Seminary since 2009 as the Lloyd John Ogilvie Associate Professor of Preaching, and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching.

Here are some good articles he has written recently:

The Lima Bean Gospel via @CTMagazine http://t.co/3hf9MYBCjH

Better Ways to Deliver God’s Word via @CTMagazinehttp://t.co/MRBjTazQYL

The Hole In Our Holiness Goes Even Deeper via @CTMagazinehttp://t.co/4PoYkb6Vkr

on using Greek in sermons

here is a great tip from Dave Black:

March 10, 2013 8:12 AM When preachers use Greek from the pulpit, should someone be required to interpret (see 1 Cor. 14:26-32)? A preacher, for example, might etymologize. “The Greek word here [name the word] is composed of two roots [name them in Greek], the first meaning ____ and the second meaning ____; hence the word means ______.” The problem is that these definitions often do not comport with actual New Testament usage. The preacher has committed the root fallacy, exposed so long ago by Don Carson and others (including moi). Here’s the problem: Who in the congregation is able to check the accuracy of remarks like that? This is where Paul’s teaching about tongues in 1 Corinthians might have an application. You will recall that Paul requires the one who speaks in a tongue to provide an interpretation at the same time. Or else someone else would have to be present who could show the value (or non-value) of its worth for the edification of the Body. In this way Paul sought to rob the tongues-speaker of the subterfuge and mystery inherent in “unknown tongues” without discouraging initiative of the right kind.

Maybe this is a good reason to always have a Q & A session after we preach/teach. I’m told that even the Golden-Mouthed orator Chrysostom allowed questions during his sermons.

Just a thought.

Indeed.  🙂