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
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kingdom Theology (Stay & Work) vs. Rapture Theology (Wait & Leave)

"If there was ever going to be a rapture (there won't be, but we can pretend for a minute)
this is how it would go: 'In the Old Testament, God consistently used those who were
willing to fight for their fellow man, even when it meant fighting with God himself.'" - Anon

"The desire of some Christians to be swept away while their fellow humans are
left behind to suffer is a complete repudiation of the way of Jesus." - Anon

"... Jesus came into the world to be the prototype of a new humanity,
to show us what it means to live out our human vocation in
this broken world as we wait for the dream of God to come
in its fullness." - Scott McKnight | Barry Jones

"The church must resurrect the incarnation of Jesus so that a new community of humanity
is borne by mission, ministry, message, and worship.' - R.E. Slater

Peter Rollins - The Rapture (Parable)

The Coming of the Lord

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with themin the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

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Theology of the Rapture 
Wikipedia link for Dispensational and Mainline views

Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology which refers to the "being caught up" discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, when the "dead in Christ" and "we who are alive and remain" will be "caught up in the clouds" to meet "the Lord in the air".[1]

The term "Rapture" is used in at least two senses. In the pre-tribulation view, a group of people will be left behind on earth after another group literally leaves "to meet the Lord in the air." This is now the most common use of the term, especially among fundamentalist Christians and in the United States.[2] The other, older use of the term "Rapture" is simply as a synonym for the final resurrection generally, without a belief that a group of people is left behind on earth for an extended Tribulation period after the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.[3][4][5] This distinction is important as some types of Christianity never refer to "the Rapture" in religious education, but might use the older and more general sense of the word "rapture" in referring to what happens during the final resurrection.[6]

There are many views among Christians regarding the timing of Christ's return (including whether it will occur in one event or two), and various views regarding the destination of the aerial gathering described in 1 Thessalonians 4. Denominations such as Roman Catholics,[7] Orthodox Christians,[8] Lutheran Christians,[9] and Reformed Christians[10] believe in a rapture only in the sense of a general final resurrection, when Christ returns a single time. They do not believe that a group of people is left behind on earth for an extended Tribulation period after the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.[11]

Authors generally maintain that the pre-tribulation Rapture doctrine originated in the eighteenth century, with the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather, and was then popularized in the 1830s by John Darby.[12][13] Others, including Grant Jeffrey, maintain that an earlier document called Ephraem or Pseudo-Ephraem already supported a pre-tribulation rapture.[14]

Regardless, pre-tribulation rapture theology was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren,[15] and further popularized in the United States in the early 20th century by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible.[16]

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Theology of the Rapture - Theopedia


The Rapture is the popular term used to describe one perceived view of the Lord's return based on the writings of the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The word "rapture" comes from the Latin rapere used by the Vulgate to translate the Greek word harpaz?, which is rendered by the phrase "caught up" in most English translations. See below:

"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thess. 4:16-17, ESV)

It is the term used primarily in Dispensationalism to refer to the "catching up" of believers who are alive at the Lord's return, which they see as an event preceding the Lord's "official" second coming, and the setting up of his millennial Kingdom on earth.

Dispensational premillennialists distinguish the rapture from Christ's second coming to earth. The degree to which the rapture is secret or public is a separate issue. The timing of the rapture is associated with a final period of Tribulation anticipated by Scripture.

Criticism of a separate "rapture"

The doctrine of the rapture as an event separate from the general resurrection is a fairly recent doctrinal development within the scope of the Church's historic body of belief. Prior to 1830, most of the 'rapture texts' were regarded as referring to the General Resurrection. This was especially the case with the 1 Thessalonians 4 passage which was primarily regarded as referring to the resurrection rather than a rapture.

Virtually no prominent theologians held to this theory before Darby's influence in the 1840’s. For example, none of the great reformers, e.g. Luther^[3]^ or Calvin^[4]^, believed in a "Secret Rapture" theory. Nor did the ancient church fathers such as John Chrysostom, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus expressly assert the theory of the pre-tribulation rapture, with the possible exception that The Shepherd of Hermas, 1.4.2 speaks of not going through the Tribulation.^[5]^

Some Reformed theologians are still favorable of using the term "rapture" but insist on making a very clear distinction between rapture as a synonym for resurrection and what Dispensationalists propose by the term, namely an escape from a yet-future tribulation period.

John Stott calls this idea "escapism" in his book Issues Facing Christians Today (2006, 4th ed.). He goes on to write that the Dispensational concept of a "secret rapture" is one of the most destructive doctrines gripping the Evangelical Church today. According to Stott, it thwarts planning, hinders social involvement, and gives Christians a gloomy outlook for the future.

Other texts used by proponents of a separate rapture, such as Matthew 24:40 - Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left., when taken in context (especially Christ's statement in Matthew 24:34) are seen by some Preterists as predictions of the Roman catapult bombardment of Jerusalem during the 42 month siege of Jerusalem from late 66-70 AD, not to a rapture. While Dispensationalists claim that the predictions in Matthew 24 are yet-future, centering on a secret-rapture, critics maintain that an exegesis of this passage reveals that this is at best unlikely, if not biblically and historically impossible (cf. The Most Embarrassing Verse In The Bible by Andrew Corbett).

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Amazon source link

Amazon Book Description

Popular notions of Christian spirituality today tend to focus on getting us out of the world or getting the world out of us. Many are looking to spirituality as a means of disengaging from this life—to experience the transcendent or discover personal wholeness. On the other hand, much of popular Christian thought seems to be about avoiding the corruption of the world by being pious and following the rules. But Jesus offers a radical model for living. As the Incarnate One who dwelt among us to accomplish the mission of God, he teaches us how to dwell in the world for the sake of the world.

If we are to become like [Jesus], we must learn what it means to live out this missional spirituality in the places we dwell. What does a Christian life deeply rooted in the logic of the Incarnation look like? Missional teacher and pastor Barry Jones shares his vision for authentic Christian spirituality focused on becoming more like Jesus. We dwell in a specific place and time in history, with unique bodies and in a world for which God has great purposes of redemption. This presence in the world should lead us to pattern our lives after the life of Jesus who was a boundary breaker, a shalom-maker, a people-keeper, and a wounded-healer.

"Jesus' life shows us what it looks like to be fully human, to be whole and holy . . . to be in the world and not of the world, to live passionately for the world and not protectively withdrawn from it," says Jones. "Allowing the logic of the Incarnation to inform our vision of the spiritual life corrects the tendency toward a self-oriented pursuit of transcendence or a negative spirituality of behavior modification and disengagement from the world." Including practical suggestions for real-life application and questions for discussion, Jones describes living a missional life from a place of deep connection with and dependence on God. Not only must we have a clear and compelling vision of the life we want to live, but we must also cultivate the spiritual disciplines necessary to live out our vision in the specific contexts of day-to-day life. We need a renewed vision of Christian spirituality that leads us to be conformed into the image of Christ who dwelt with us for us.

- Amazon

Kingdom Then, Kingdom Now

by Scot McKnight
October 9, 2014

If one keeps an ear close enough to the ground one might just hear a subtle shift at work in kingdom and heaven language. It works a bit like this: Heaven no longer matters that much but kingdom language is awesome. That language about the future kingdom has quietly become either a fictional, rhetorical utopia or not much more than a way of getting people to be more concerned about the Here and Now. And that kingdom language can get us to make this world and our country and the common good a better place.

Are you hearing this shift? If this is rhetorical only is it a trick? is it little more than projection? But if that kingdom future is real and will happen what does it say about spirituality? (Much in every way, one might mutter.)**

Barry Jones, in his new book Dwell, is out to shape a kind of spirituality that is missional and ecclesial and not just missional in the sense of justice or individualistic. So he opens with a study about the stories we live in and live into, the problem of our brokenness, and importance of the Spirit as we become the dwelling place of God but then he touches on “glimpses of the world to come.” It is there that I want to focus our conversation today.

In his section on story he speaks not about the missio Dei (the mission of God) but the visio Dei (the vision of God), and here he sees these themes: it is about God’s presence and God’s just reign and God’s peace.

Barry contends Jesus sets before us a model, a model of what a missional, incaranational spirituality looks like — and it looks like a new kind of community — and, I would add, if it looks like a new kind of community, what kind of disciplines do we need to work toward that kind of community and what kind of virtues do we need to be at the forefront if this is what it looks like?

  • Jesus was a boundary breaker. Boundary breaking is about opening the door to others.
  • Jesus was a shalom maker. Peace requires more than one person.
  • Jesus was a people keeper (not sabbath keeping but people keeping).
  • Jesus was a wounded healer.

If the kingdom is a society marked by these kinds of behaviors (seen in Jesus in how he lived), what happens to spiritual disciplines? The first thing that happens is that we realize they are not just for personal transformation but for community formation!

Jesus Christ came into the world to save the world—to secure, by his death and resurrection, the dream of God, the dream of shalom. But he also came into the world to be the prototype of a new humanity, to show us what it means to live out our human vocation in this broken world as we wait for the dream of God to come in its fullness. For us to live out a spirituality deeply informed by the logic of the incarnation—life with God for the world—is for us to pattern our lives after the life of Jesus who was a boundary breaker, a shalom maker, a people keeper, and a wounded healer. In order to pursue this repatterning of our lives, God has given us a set of embodied practices—the spiritual disciplines—through which the Spirit does his work of making us more like Jesus (99).

[I used C-Pen 3.5 to enter this quotation. Amazing new tool.]

- Scott

* note - C.Pen works by scanning non-digitized sources (library books, invoices, class notes) onto your computerized document

**Comments to Scott:

"Yes I have noticed this trend for some time now (decades actually). More recently Rob Bell picked up on this conversation some dozen years ago (Kingdom as here and now, not later) without losing sight of its hope both in this life as in the next. End Times rhetoric and Eschatological doctrines have been diminishing as the church in corollary step has been placing more emphasis on "getting out into the world and doing the work of Jesus" in Jesus' behalf. That is, the church is to daily resurrect Jesus' incarnational ministries so that they are Christianity's missiology, message, and worship. Kudos to Barry Jones for pointing these truths out and making them relevant. Thanks Scott." - Russ

continue within this series -

Historic Premillenialism v. Rapture Theologies

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