Rediscovering the Mission of God in Scripture

Mission of GodThe following is what I will be presenting and handing out for a family camp I’m speaking at tomorrow morning. What would you say if you were asked to speak on the topic of giving a brief (hour and a half) interactive teaching on the mission of God in Scripture? I’m just tracing the threads through Scripture of God’s purpose to make for himself a people in His image and how this has cosmic reconciling intent. What might you add? What Scripture would you include and why?

Rediscovering the Mission of God in Scripture

Genesis 1:26-28

  • Who do we image and why were we made?

Genesis 12:1-3
Genesis 17:1-8

  • Abram (later Abraham) would be blessed in order to…?
  • Why was he chosen?

2 Samuel 7

  • What did the LORD promise David? Why?

Isaiah 16:5

  • What will the “son of David” be like?

Isaiah 55:1-5

  • What is the message to the nations?

Isaiah 56:6-7

  • What was the purpose of the temple according to this passage?

Matthew 12:18-21

  • What did Matthew understand the mission of Jesus to be in light of the Old Testament revelation?

Matthew 24:14
Matthew 25:31-46

  • How are these two passages about the “message” of the good news connected? What do they reveal about those who hold to this message, and what is the end result of response to this message?

Ephesians 2

  • For what end were we created? What is our message? How does it look?

Recommended Reading

Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006.
Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010.
Wright, N. T. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels. New York: HarperOne, 2012.

N. T. Wright's Justification and the Cry of the Spirit

I finally finished my paper for the Society for Pentecostal Studies meeting in March on N. T. Wright’s view of justification.  If you are interested in reading it you can do so over on my Scribd page HERE or following the link through my “Writings” page (the footnotes are a bit goofy due to Scribd’s manner of formatting, but can be followed despite this).  This paper is supposed to eventually go to print (sometime this year) as part of an edited volume of the five papers that will be presented as a part of the N T Wright panel on justification (though I still don’t know the details of this edited volume).  Here’s the lineup for Memphis’s presentations and the title/s:

Pentecostal Responses to N.T. Wright

Jenny Everts, Hope College, Chair

Glen Menzies, North Central University, Presenter
“Vocations of Israel and Israel‘s Messiah”

Joonho Yoon, Drew University, Presenter 
 “By Faith in Work or by Work in Faith?: Rahab‘s Justification from the Perspective of Neither New or Old”

Christopher Green, Oral Roberts University, Presenter
“Who Do I Say I Am?: A Pentecostal Response to N.T. Wright‘s Proposals on Jesus‘ Messianic Self-Understanding”

Rick Wadholm, Providence Theological Seminary, Presenter
“N.T. Wright’s Justification and the Cry of the Spirit”

Frank D. Macchia, Vanguard University, Presenter
“The Church and the Economy of Salvation: An Interaction with N.T. Wright‘s Theology of Justification by Faith”

I’d love to know what anyone thinks of my paper.  :-).

I Heart Barth

As I mentioned earlier this week Hendrickson Publisher’s made Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics available for a steal of a price.  This has lead to theological geeks, er, students finally having access to Barth’s magnum opus.  Several of the students at Providence Seminary where I attend have been discussing this for some time and in a rapid succession of laughable suggestions…a new blog was born: I Heart Barth.  So far there are three authors (myself as one of them) that will be working through Dogmatics together over the next several years (decades???).  We also will be discussing Bonhoeffer (anyone who knows me knows that I can’t help but discuss Dietrich any chance I get and one of the other bloggers is writing his thesis on Bonhoeffer…oh happy day…oh happy day… 🙂 and N.T.Wright among others as we work through the Dogmatics in the midst of studies, church and life.

Did I really just agree to one more thing…….

Nursery Rhymes With Bultmann and Wright

I just received a humorous reading of “Humpty Dumpty by N. T. Wright” (thanks to Jason Hood) and he further had a link to Bultmann’s reading of “Mother Goose”.  These are a little too close to reality…see what you think.  Or perhaps I’ve just spent too much time reading theologians…and that’s why I think these were hilarious. 

Now if only I could find a Karl Barth reads “Rockabye Baby” (not sure how many volumes that would take…but knowing how much the man wrote on everything else……)

N. T. Wright Paper Approved

Yesterday I finally was notified that one of my paper proposals for the Society for Pentecostal Studies for the upcoming 2011 meeting in Memphis has been approved!  That’s happy news indeed.  My proposal is (tentatively) titled: “N. T. Wright’s ‘Justification’ and the Cry of the Spirit”.  It is an interaction with Wright’s view of justification (from his book of response to John Piper’s response to him in “The Future of Justification”…talk about having a lot to say to each other).  Essentially I’m arguing that Wright’s pneumatological orientation for justification is helpful (especially for a more robust Pentecostal theology of justification) and will tease this out through expositions of the two Pauline passages (Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6) dealing with the cry of the Spirit, “Abba!”  (any possibility of a plug for the group by the same name…their songs always get stuck in my head 🙂  There will also be some cameos by Gordon Fee in the paper (as he has been saying much the same thing as Wright…though obviously not in full agreement with Wright overall scheme as I understand it).

N.T. Wright on C.S. Lewis

Though several of the blogs that I personally follow have already linked to and mentioned an article in Touchstone Magazine, I thought I should put my own link to the wonderful article of N. T. Wright‘s interaction with and critique of C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity”.  (Apparently to be a well-published author you just need two initials for your first name…perhaps its time to become R. L. Wadholm).  🙂  I found Wright’s critique to be pointed with regard to Lewis’s eschatology and Christology in particular.  To be quite honest, I actually enjoyed Lewis more than Wright’s “Simply Christian” (which was dubbed as the “Mere Christianity” for today…or some such thing).  Perhaps I’ll have to give them both another read in the near future (though it may need to wait until I’m finally out of school…which may be never… :-).

Myth and Meaning (That Won't Last?)

N.T.Wright has made a brief video over at Biologos where he discusses “myth” in relation to Genesis 1-3.  He (as many others I’ve read) suggest that “myth” is a perfectly acceptable term referring to something which is true even if not historical in the sense of a strictly historical account (he even says those who reject “myth” in relation to Genesis should “lighten up” since the meaning is what really matters in the account).  “Myth” therefore suggests some greater meaning behind the “history” of the text.  It is meaning-laden and not simply a recounting of events.  While it is certainly true that the portions of Scripture purporting historical accounts indeed convey more meaning that goes beyond a simple recounting of events, yet does greater meaning imply lack of historical veracity?  This notion seems (all too) often to be applied to Genesis (but only the first 11 chapters), but not to other portions of Scripture like the Gospels.  I find this phenomenon fascinating and disturbing at the same time. 

Kudos to those who can (inconsistently) hold to such views and maintain their faith in the historicity of the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus and see this same essential belief as non-essential regarding the very creation of the world and the fall into sin.  If the “meaning” is all that matters and not the “fact” or historicity of an event then why do they still hold to such concerning Jesus?  Because this is considered essential to faith in the revelation given.  Why then do they deny the historicity of Genesis 1-11?  Because they have “evidence” that tells them otherwise (i.e., the geological record, apparent age of the cosmos, etc.).  But doesn’t the “evidence” also tell us that people are not born of virgins?  Doesn’t the “evidence” also tell us that the dead stay dead (especially after being assured of death and being buried)?  I’m not sure why the “evidence” concerning beginnings should be deemed more credible (considering it is completely impossible to reproduce and therefore belongs more to philosophical science than experiential) than the evidence concerning how people are born and die? 

While I would never say that anyone who denies the clear statements of Genesis as referring to historical events (albeit events of great meaning) cannot be saved…but if such foundational doctrines as creation, the imaging of God, human origins, and the beginning of sin and death can be dismissed as simply meaningful (i.e. “myth”) and not historical, then where will that leave those who follow in our footsteps and no longer care to hold to other “meaningful” events as indeed historical (i.e., the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus).  Will such “meaning” last in the face of rejecting the historicity of the events?  Only time will tell…