According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What We Believe about "Last Things"

White Poppy

I might refer the reader to Bruce Epperly's earlier articles (here and here) on "Kingdom Now Christianity" as the process-based version of seeing this holy life given to us by our gracious God as the one life that counts for the time that we now have. It is a vision of a life that becomes transformed by the grace of God through His atoning work on the cross of Christ Jesus our Lord. And in the transformation of the world in which we inhabit through the resurrection power of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is also the vision of an evangelic theology in its classical expression (as succinctly expressed by Michael Bird) but severely limited by a Christianity that would too easily condemn this world and give up on it - to await its death and destruction by God's future judgment (hence, Bird's emphasis on hell and Sheol). Which is in no sense the proper reading of the Apostle Paul as NT Wright has demonstrated time-and-again. What Paul argues for, and has ably demonstrated in Jesus' life, was the necessity of the believer to live transformed lives by the power and grace of our Redeemer/Creator God. To understand that in order for the Kingdom of God to come, it must come through our lips, hands, feet, minds, and hearts. To not abandon all so easily to hell but to uplift all to God's redeeming love and grace.

The essence of the Kingdom of God is that it is here, now. A Kingdom that lives in tension with this sinful world in which we live; but a good world when reconciled to its God, and committed to spiritual transformation in the grace and fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ. A Kingdom that changes and grows as we change and grow as individuals and as a society. Which magisterial power is made all the more visible through our own transformed lives seeking benevolence and goodwill with all men everywhere, and with God's good earth that we live upon. Thus it can be said that the Kingdom of God is present now, and will grow fully to fruition based upon our commitment to live it, envision it, seek it, and share it.

And lastly, as a relational theologian - part process, part evangelic (and mostly post-evangelic) - I see God's heavenly Kingdom in both its tenses, both here - now, and here - later, to come. But don't let the word "heavenly" Kingdom mislead you... it is heavenly in that it is the epitome of what God wants, obedience to His will. But it is now become an "earthly Kingdom" inaugurated by the Incarnation, death, and resurrection, of Jesus Christ; who has established a New Covenant with God, and with mankind/creation, by His own transforming atonement. Hence, this Kingdom doth now lie in tension between the "here, and not yet. Between "what is, and could be. What is, and what will be." Sanctified, yea, covenanted, by God's great goodness and love in Christ Jesus, His Son. Who is God of very God. King of Kings. And Lord of Lords.

Thus, it is my expectation to see Jesus live-and-rule within the diadems of earth's history - not only as my Incarnate/crucified Lord, but as my risen King seated upon the earthly thrones over all mankind. And with this vision I likewise realize the deep solemnity portrayed in the acts-and-speech of God's holy bride, His church - its egresses and failures, as well as its heights and vision - when beheld fully within our Lord's grace works. Which fails in hope and will, pretending all is lost, upon a world commended by its Creator Redeemer to salvation. Renewal. Rebirth. Reclamation. Revival. Content to live upon the tatters of God's holy being, clothed in the rags of its own torn communities, rather than living powerfully transformed, repentant lives, redeeming the time still at hand. Whose charter of Kingdom fellowship must become more than it now displays to this world, should we permit the Holy Spirit of God to weave around us the holy threads of God's majestic love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, hope, goodwill, and peace. "Even so dear Lord, Come. Let Thy Holy Will be done. On this earth, as it is in Heaven."

R.E. Slater
November 27, 2013
 
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What We Believe about “Last Things”

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