27 April 2011

Land of the Lost, part 9

Homo Habilis
THE RUMBLINGS CONTINUE around the topic of the historicity of Adam and Eve. It so happens that today's Proposition from John Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One nudges up against that question. Suffice to say, not everyone associated with BioLogos can be accused of denying the actual existence of a single first pair (see, e.g., Tim Keller's somewhat recent paper).

25 April 2011

In the Service of the King

Haymaking, Julien Dupré (1880)
OUR STORY BEGINS in the thick of the action: a middle-aged Martin Luther is busy at work reforming the doctrine of the provincial German churches. He soon settles on issues surrounding the Christian life. In response to the medieval church’s insistence that the only truly Christian calling necessarily involved a withdrawal or retreat from society (by becoming a monk), Luther began arguing that calling can and ought to affirm the spiritual value of work in this world. In other words, ordinary, everyday work has significant religious value. It may seem silly to us, but this was a reinterpretation of calling in Luther’s day—and it was radical at that.

18 April 2011

Land of the Lost, part 8

SO, HERE WE GO, part 8 of my review of John Walton's Lost World of Genesis One. I can't remember why I took such a long hiatus from posting this material (I think I just got sick of the subject around the time of last year's hoopla revolving around Bruce Waltke). It was the good discussion / series going on over at Jesus Creed, however, that served as the impetus to finish what I started.

14 April 2011

Baptism: Death by Qualification?

And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet 3:21)

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (Rom 6:3–4)

A baptism at the Church of Debre
Sina Maryam in Ethiopia 
Yet I must maintain that it's a non-saving and loseable identification. When one is baptized, she shares in Christ's verdict pronounced over her by the Father at the resurrection. But this may be lost. I think this rightly emphasizes the promises to which baptism points, and, in a certain sense, confers, though not indissolubly. Luther states it plainly enough:
We are not found in a state of perfection as soon as we have been baptized into Jesus Christ and his death. Having been baptized into his death, we merely strive to obtain (the blessings of) this death and to reach our goal of glory. Just so, when we are baptized into everlasting life and the kingdom of heaven, we do not at once fully possess its full wealth (of blessings). We have merely taken the first steps to seek after eternal life. Baptism has been instituted that it should lead usto the blessings (of his death) and through such death to eternal life. Therefore it is necessary that we should be baptized into Jesus Christ and his death. (Commentary on Romans, p. 101, Kregel 1976)

12 April 2011

'He that Cometh' Maketh the Church (3)

SHALL WE NOT CLOSE THIS SERIES? It's well past time. In the first and second posts on this topic, I briefly covered Hans Boersma's three reasons for recapturing Henri de Lubac's views on Holy Communion: (1) help us recapture the pre-modern, sacramental view of the world (over against the rationalism of the High Middle Ages and the neo-scholastic theology of the early 20th century); (2) reappropriate a pre-modern "sacramental" hermeneutic with respect to Scripture (here Boersma has in mind St. Augustine's exegetical approach of literal meaning pointing beyond itself to spiritual meaning); and (3) apply the genuine ecumenical potential inherent in de Lubac's sacramental outlook.

In this (hopefully) final post, I want to look at the crux of de Lubac's objection against both mere sacramental symbolism and the complete identification between the sacramental symbol and the reality to which it points, which, according to Boersma, paves the way for authentic ecumenical action. As mentioned in part 2, de Lubac's church (not to mention the Protestants) had forgotten the very purpose of the Eucharistic body, thus suffering from a severly truncated ecclesiology.

05 April 2011

Perspectives on the Sabbath Interview

Today (Tuesday, 5 April 2011) at 1 p.m. on Knowing the Truth, I'm being interviewed about the book I've edited, Perspectives on the Sabbath (you can see a generous portion of it through the "Look Inside" feature at Amazon).

Update: Listen to or download the entire interview.

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