Archive for the ‘Jesus Theology’ Category

320px-unmercifulGalatians 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (ESV)

Galatians 5:5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. (NLT)

My head is rattling around with about a hundred ideas related to Jesus shaped spirituality, and one of them has occupied me in various ways the past two days.

In short order, Jesus shaped spirituality is a spirituality Jesus would recognize as what he gave us; what he taught, lived and began in the experience of his followers.

Jesus shaped spirituality is about a “Big Picture” of truth (God, the world, creation, etc,) but it is especially about what Jesus means for relationships (God and others) and human life (yours and others.) If you are a follower of Jesus, your life, your relationships and your participation in this world are deeply affected by him. (more…)

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So how does the material in the “rest of the Gospels” come into the Christian life? What are the “processes of Discipleship” we see in the first half of the Gospels that should be integrated into faith in the crucified and risen one.

1. We should start with affirming the perspective we’ve gained. The Kingdom of God, which Jesus embodied, proclaimed, taught and practiced is only possible because Jesus is a mediator-King; a King who makes things right through death and resurrection, not through miracles and exorcisms. Hold these things together. See these two tracks in scripture: the establishment of God’s Kingdom and the victory of God’s messiah over evil, sin and death. Jesus death secures our place in his Kingdom, and his Kingdom insures his victory in the world. (more…)

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How does the ministry of Jesus fit into our consideration of Jesus?

In 1982, I returned to seminary and took a job as youth minister at a church near the seminary. Because of some of my studies in seminary that semester, and because of something I heard Dr. John Piper say in a sermon, I determined to make the Gospel According to St. Mark a major life’s project.

At the time, 27 years ago, it seemed like many other resolutions that I made but probably wouldn’t keep. Surprisingly, I have kept that resolution, much to the chagrin of all those around me who have come to hear far more sermons, lessons and talks from Mark than any other Gospel, and especially to the regret of my Bible students, who have come to view my annual trek through Mark as the great mountain to be climbed in my Bible survey class. (more…)

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Twelve Words of Jesus That Would Change Everything….If We Believed Them, by Dan Edelen

This may not be Dan’s take, but for me, this is a unique way to approach the “Law/Gospel” Issue. These are Jesus’ Kingdom ethics. It’s his amplification of the law, and his picture of what it means to follow him as King.

What’s needed? The cross. The Good News that for all of us who fall short of all of these all the time, there is a place of forgiveness, and a way to live for Jesus even if we can’t follow him perfectly or even consistently.

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jesushalfThe past year and a half has been the most personally tumultuous time I’ve ever experienced as a Christian believer. At one time or another in this past year, I have re-evaluated every area of my Christianity, often with many tears, prayers and hours of reading. Much of this has been in response to the questions raised by my recent encounters with Roman Catholicism.

I entitled this adventure “Jesus Shaped Spirituality.” It’s a catchy and provocative label, but I’m not sure I could have come to your church and given a talk on what I meant by the phrase.

Today, I’m at a different place on that journey. I’ve now come to the place that Jesus shaped spirituality has some feel, form and substance for me. I have some confidence and comfort in expressing what I’ve discovered, reaffirmed and began to express to others.

I want to be clear that I am not trying to “return to primitive Christianity” or “reinvent the church.” What I am doing is developing a tool, a grid or filter, to interpret Christianity wherever I encounter it, by asking basic questions about Jesus. If I am going to be faulted, it will be for this: I am determined to be satisfied with nothing short of a Jesus-shaped Christianity, as best I can understand what that means.

This isn’t a staking a claim for a new denomination, but simply an expression of the shape of discovering, knowing and following Jesus as the one who reveals both the Father and the shape of human experience.

What does Jesus-shaped spirituality look like? (more…)

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This post is inspired by a FoxNews piece updating the situation of disgraced megachurch pastor Ted Haggard. Haggard was a major leader in evangelicalism until he was brought down by evidence of sexual sin and drug use.

Dear Ted,

May I call you Ted? Not “Pastor Ted,” “Reverend Haggard” or any other ministerial name.

You may not feel like it, but you’re at a good place. Finally. It’s taken a while, but you’ve made it to the place where the Gospel of Jesus has its power. On the verge of the fourth Sunday of the season of waiting, you’ve made it to the place where all that can happen now is for a savior to be born to a virgin. Your savior, no less. Yours and all the other losers.

Yes Ted, honesty, your best gift now has arrived. (more…)

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The other day a strange feeling came over me.

Don’t get me wrong about what I’m about to say here. It was just a feeling. I’m not claiming any powers of discernment or certainty.

I got the distinct feeling there’s something wrong with a lot of people who say they are Jesus-followers/believers.

If you want to supply your own vocabulary, like “aren’t saved” or “aren’t Christians,” do so at your own risk. I’m not saying that. (There’s other blogs for that game, if you are burning to know.)

No, but it was as plain as daylight to me that when I hear a lot of people talk about Jesus, I feel like I am hearing….an abbreviation. (more…)

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The problem with theological types- like yours truly- is they think that God has explained himself. In the Bible. In Jonathan Edwards. In the Lutheran Confessions. In the CRCC. In the latest Piper book. In the ESV Study Bible notes. Somewhere.

The fact is God doesn’t explain himself. (more…)

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Greg Gilbert at 9 Marks, a ministry that has my highest admiration and endorsement, has taken on what seems to be the favorite topic of Calvinists on the web: What is the Gospel?

Gilbert isn’t just spending bandwidth, however. Though he doesn’t exactly give his agenda up front, I’m of the opinion that he’s taking aim at N.T. Wright and his perceived influence on the theologically mushy inhabitants of the ever-elusive “emerging church.”

In particular, Gilbert wants to respond to what he believes is a basic confusion: putting a “Gospel of the Kingdom” in place of a “Gospel of the Cross.”

You can get to all three of Greg Gilbert’s posts by way of Justin Taylor’s summary and links. All are important to the discussion, but the application is found in the third post. (more…)

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Reduced to Jesus

Dali-Jesus-Supper-4.jpgFrom September, 2006 at IM. The reference to soli deo was to a home worship group I was leading at the time.

I get called a lot of names around the blogosphere. Everything from “pomo devil” to “respected blogger.” (Now there’s an oxymoron.) When you’re a “cage phase” blogger (there goes another one) you write long posts defending yourself and being outraged about this. For instance, my use of the name “truly reformed” used to bring about huge posts at the “truly reformed” blogs, almost as long as mine on whether I was “emerging” or “postmodern.” But not nearly as well written or as funny.

Over at the BHT, I have a new name that’s been stuck on me. I’m a “reductionist.” Visiting the dictionary, I think I’m being told that, in regard to my Christian faith, I have a tendency to “…. reduce complex data and phenomena to simple terms.” I know dictionaries aren’t supposed to have value systems, but it that a bad thing?

I wish I could say I’m being accused of being a good teacher, but it’s a bit more nefarious. I’m generally being told that I’m reducing Christianity too much; that I’m taking a complex, inter-related whole, and attempting to simplify it excessively. So much so that what’s left isn’t the thing itself, but only part of it. (more…)

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