Mission, evangelism and social action – part 2

I tried to argue in the last post that neither soteriology nor ecclesiology nor eschatology should define our priorities in mission.  Rather, it’s our doctrine of God that must be our first point of call.  It is the God whose being is in the Father’s sending (missio) of the Son who is the proper foundation for missiology.  If that’s true then it follows…

  

4)    A deficient doctrine of God will lead to a deficient missiology

5)    The divorce of ‘God the Creator’ from ‘God the Redeemer’ is one of the chief errors in doctrine of God and, consequently, missiology. 

John Stott has been a vocal proponent of “evangelism + social action = mission.”  The links with his doctrine of God are exposed in quotes like this: 

“[There are two freedoms and two unities for which Jesus Christ is concerned] On the one hand there is socio-political liberation and the unity of all mankind, for these things are the good will of God the Creator, while on the other there is the redemptive work of Christ who sets his people free from sin and guilt, and unites them in his new community.  To muddle these two things (creation and redemption, common grace and saving grace, liberation and salvation, justice and justification) is to plunge oneself into all kinds of confusion.” (From a sermon quoted in Timothy Dudley Smith, John Stott: A Global Ministry, IVP, 2001, p204). 

Here we see God the Creator and God the Redeemer laid side by side.  The concerns of creation and redemption are, in this way of thinking, separately addressed by the Living God. 

Now of course the Father is very interested in the whole spectrum of these activities above.  Yet He accomplishes them through the one Gospel. 

As Athanasius was so keen to stress:

“The first fact that you must grasp is this: the renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation for the One Father has employed the same Agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word who made it in the beginning.” (Athanasius, On the Incarnation #1)

The Word became flesh – there are no purposes of God that are not bound up in the exaltation of His Son, in Him creation and redemption are inseparably bound.

 6)    God’s mission is a Gospel mission 

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The purposes of the Father from all ages have been exclusively focussed on His Son (Psalm 2:1-12; Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13,14; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:15f).

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In the power of the Spirit, His word has been the agent for all divine activity in creation and redemption.( 2 Peter 3:5-7; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 1:23; John 1:1-3; 5:24; 6:63,68) 

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In the Incarnation of the Word, the Father gives to Jesus His word (John 8:55; 14:24), which accomplished all that Jesus does (John 14:10; Mark 4:41; Luke 4:43; John 5:24; 12:48; 17:17).

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It is this word that Jesus entrusts to his followers (John 15:20; 17:6,14,20). 

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The Church has inherited a Gospel mission for the world, i.e. the Father’s mission to the exalt His Son in His Spirit-empowered word.

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God is exclusively concerned for the exaltation of His Son.  All other interests (in justice, liberation, common grace etc) find their place under this one agenda.  And the Father has committed all His omnipotent power to Christ (Matt 28:18) who in turn grants it to the Church (Matt 28:19-20; Eph 1:22-23).  The Living God has unreservedly committed Himself to the Gospel mission of the Church.

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Barth saw these things so clearly.  In 1934 the pressure for the Confessing Church to have another agenda was immense.  Yet even (and especially) here Barth is adamant that the mission of the Church is the proclamation of Christ: 

‘The Church’s commission, which is the foundation of its freedom, consists in this: in Christ’s stead, and so in the service of his own Word and work, to deliver to all people, through preaching and sacrament, the message of the free grace of God.’ (Barmen Declaration, article 6)

 Or as he says in IV/3: 

“The first if not the only thing in its witness is the ministry of the viva vox Evangelii to be discharged voce humana in human words.  It is its declaration, explanation and evangelical address with the lips.”  (IV/3, p864.) 

Now if Barth can say that in the face of the Nazis, can we really countenance a socio-political side-show in our own day?   In my next post I’ll tease out some of the implications for the Church’s ministry today.

Posted on by Glen in Doctrine of God, evangelism, mission, social action

About Glen

I'm a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

20 Responses to Mission, evangelism and social action – part 2

  1. kc

    Glen,

    First welcome to the blogsphere!

    I have appreciated your comments at the Stumbling Block as well as the articles you’ve posted on your website. I really appreciate your perspectives in spite of your minor imperfections (grin)! I would say that the gift of your intellect has not gone to waste.

    With regard to your article I think you’ve offered a timely admonition. I think being socially just and living a righteous life are both a super-natural consequence of our relationship with God in Christ and not our primary purpose fro being. That is only our “reasonable service”. The Gospel of Jesus Christ should always be our primary concern. I consider the current trend for many to promote social reform is only an over-reaction to the trend of the many who promote moral reform. Neither trend will be any benefit to men if it is not centered on and does not super- naturally flow from the love of God in Christ.

  2. glenscriv

    Hi KC, good to make your acquaintance! Liking your blog too.

    Yes, I think the whole ‘social reform’ vs ‘moral reform’ balancing act is one of those unhelpful dichotomies we naturally fall into. (Just like ‘soul vs body’, ‘individual vs corporate’, ‘internal mental act’ vs ‘external physical act’ etc that I mentioned in my last post). It’s not like they’re on a continuum and our job is to make sure the pendulum doesn’t swing to extremes!

    *God* does not address justice and justification in separate ways. He addresses them both in Christ. Thus, as you say, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ should always be our primary concern” *because* it is always God’s! Let’s figure out what justice and social action and ministries of mercy mean from *within* the Gospel and (crucially) lets offer them from within the Gospel (that is, in the atmosphere of the proclamation of Christ). Or to put it another way – let’s offer them *in* the Church. The only place where true justice/social action/mercy exists is under the Word of Christ, in the realm of the Spirit’s summons to faith in Him. What does that mean in practice? That’s kind of what I’ll be posting on in the next couple of days.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.

  3. Bobby Grow

    Kc,

    I couldn’t agree more, Glen has keen intellect coupled with a warm heart for the Lord.

    Glen,

    excellent, Calvin’s duplex cognitio domini, i.e. God as Redeemer and Creator, is indeed an awesome set of ‘spectacles’ to frame a missiological and social construct through. I couldn’t agree more, Who God is must be the cornerstone of all ministerial endeavors, to hick-up here, at a methodological level, can have dire consequences. I give you American Evangelicalism as exhibit ‘A’.

  4. glenscriv

    Great insight Bobby – the duplex cognitio (two-fold knowledge of God) is so key in this discussion. The question is, How integrated is this knowledge of God as Creator and Redeemer? I sometimes wish Calvin was more insistent that all knowledge is in Christ. Certainly when he begins book 1, chapter 13 of the Institutes he states, that we must understand God triunely (i.e. in the Mediator) : “unless the bare and empty name of Deity merely is to flutter in our brain without any genuine knowledge.” Yet he also manages to write the rest of book I of the Institutes on “God the Creator”. IMO Calvin opens the door to a divorce in doctrine of God which later Calvinists strode through! If the duplex cognitio means there is a *separate* and *prior* stage in knowledge of God that is not a revelation in Christ, then at that point God as Creator and God as Redeemer have become divorced. And, down the track, you get a two-pronged approach to mission: “Justice” (honouring God the Creator) and “Justification” (honouring God the Redeemer). Only when our theological method is *from the beginning* christocentric will we avoid this. That’s why I found Barth so helpful on this.

  5. Bobby Grow

    Indeed, Glen. I actually think Barth misreads Calvin on this, note Calvin:

    If the Father is to make himself known to the children of Adam, then he must do so by setting forth and depicting his powers in his works in the creaturely sphere—that is, in the humanity of Jesus Christ. This is especially necessary after the fall, because our minds are even more bounded by carnality than they were at creation. Otherwise, God’s majesty is too lofty to be attained by mortal men, who are like grubs crawling upon the earth (Inst., 2.6.4)

    and that God as Redeemer, epistemologically, is just as central for Calvin as Barth. Maybe you’re right, later Calvinists went down the wrong road; but I don’t think that’s because of Calvin’s articulation on God as Creator/Redeemer. I think the quote above illustrates how Calvin viewed postlapsarian how important God as Redeemer is to knowing, rightly, God as Creator (whom Adam and Eve both knew prior to the Fall). I think the difference between Barth and Calvin on this, is actually related more to methodology than content. Calvin follows the “history of salvation” relative to progressive revelation in scripture and time; while it seems Barth starts eschatologically with Christ, and in a sense recapitulates the history of salvation in Christ; in the end I think they both meet “in Christ” they just get there differently.

  6. Bobby Grow

    Further, maybe the difference in emphasis is that Barth was concerned with ontological concerns; while Calvin was emphasizing epistemological. Of course these categories are reciprocating at points, but I think the difference between the two is shaped most likely by emphasizing different aspects (given their variant historical situations and subsequent questions of “their day”).

    If the Calvinists went the way you say they did, and I agree that they did, then they departed, in my view, from Calvin in this regard. So maybe instead of Barth misreading Calvin . . . it was the Calvinists who misread Calvin.

    Just continuing to think ;-) . . .

  7. glenscriv

    You know one of my pet theories is that there were two Calvins. Good Calvin wrote all the gospel stuff (like your quote above) and then (a bit like Tyler Durden) the other one took over while he was asleep and injected a whole pile of philosophical theism. (I reckon by book II Calvin pretty much had control over Durden (though there were slip ups). But things definitely get better once he leaves book I).

    I know there’s a big debate over the whole “if Adam had remained upright”, but here is one of the places Calvin discusses this important phrase. I think it demonstrates that, for Calvin (in book I anyway) even postlapsarian knowledge of the Creator is naturally available to, and to some extent apprehended by, man.

    “I am not now referring to that species of knowledge by which men, in themselves lost and under curse, apprehend God as a Redeemer in Christ the Mediator. I speak only of that simple and primitive knowledge, to which the mere course of nature would have conducted us, had Adam stood upright (si integer stetisset Adam). For although no man will now, in the present ruin of the human race, perceive God to be either a father, or the author of salvation, or propitious in any respect, until Christ interpose to make our peace; still it is one thing to perceive that God our Maker supports us by his power, rules us by his providence, fosters us by his goodness, and visits us with all kinds of blessings, and another thing to embrace the grace of reconciliation offered to us in Christ. Since, then, the Lord first appears, as well in the creation of the world as in the general doctrine of Scripture, simply as a Creator, and afterwards as a Redeemer in Christ, – a twofold knowledge of him hence arises (duplex… cognitio) : of these the former is now to be considered, the latter will afterwards follow in its order.” (I.ii.1).

    Or how about this…

    “At present, however, we are employed in considering that knowledge which stops short at the creation of the world, without ascending to Christ the Mediator.” (I.x.1)

    See also for e.g. I.xi 1-2

    Don’t we have here in Calvin a separate and separable *prior* step in the knowledge of God – a step that “stops short at the creation of the world without ascending to Christ.”? And isn’t that even a postlapsarian possibility according to these quotes?

    note he says that this knowledge is “to perceive that God our Maker supports us by his power, rules us by his providence, fosters us by his goodness, and visits us with all kinds of blessings”. Man alive! That’s a lot of knowledge for a guy who believes in total depravity!!

    Your book II quote on the other hand is great! I think therefore we do have a Calvin vs Calvin issue.

    On the issue of history of salvation vs eschatology, that’s an interesting point. Though it’s important to note that Calvin believes all knowledge of God under the Old Covenant is mediated in the Person of Christ. (Half remembered quote: “They had and knew Christ as Mediator.”) And He was, for Calvin, physically present to Israel (as the Angel of the LORD for instance). I might post soon on the issue of conscious faith in Christ in OT – it’s an issue not far from this or from the incarnandus points you’re making at “Stumbling Block.”

    Anyway, I must get on and finish this sermon for tomorrow. The clock is ticking…

  8. glenscriv

    really must get on, but another thing strikes me. Even if the argument is made that *everything* Calvin says about the separate prior step in the duplex cognitio can be referred to prelapsarian knowledge (and I’m not sure it can) – isn’t it instructive that Calvin considers this as knowledge of God as Maker, His providece, etc, etc,. I.e. he says nothing of its christological content. Compare this with, say, Athanasius (haven’t got time to check the ref) who thought that Adam could have looked into the heavens and perceived the Word who made all things and ruled them as the High Priest of Creation, etc, etc,. For Athanasius prelapsarian knowledge of God the Creator was necessarily knowledge of Christ. Calvin’s first-step in the duplex cognitio is never (to my knowledge) framed so christologically.

  9. bobby grow

    Thanks, Glen. I’m of the impression that Calvin is more in line with Athanasius than you believe . . . but what this will require of me is to dig up a paper I did on this and hopefully find a few quotes to demonstrate this. Which I will do, and post on. But you may be right, Calvin was not as overtly Christological, prelapsarian, as I/we might like . . . but this does not necessarily mean he was not Christo-oriented at this point. Maybe just underdeveloped for our tastes.

    Even in the quotes you provide, I don’t see a discontinuity between knowledge of God as Creator/Redeemer for Calvin; but rather a reorientation in light of the Fall; i.e. Creator is Redeemer and Redeemer is Creator ontologically; and epistemologically it is this self-same God who pre and post lapse is the subject providing fount for all knowledge of God. I’m thinking that Calvin was just underdeveloped on this, and Barth is helpful in developing the impulses that Calvin initially provided; but I don’t think they are necessarily competitors.

    Now get on with the message . . .

  10. glenscriv

    ok, sermon done. now…

    I think the one thing I want to know from Calvin is (and don’t forget I’m a big Calvin fan, but nonetheless…) – is there, in his thinking (system), any knowledge of God that is not knowledge of the Father in the Son and by the Spirit? Does he have a first-stage of God-knowledge that is functionally unitarian? Definitely Calvin believes that God the Creator *is* God the Redeemer. But is the approach of God the Creator a triune revelation that is christologically focused? Or is the revelation of creation and “the general doctrine of Scripture” bascially a first-step revelation of “the uncreated Creator” who is full of glory (philosophically defined) and demanding of worship (cf. book I, chapter 10)? A theologian can claim all they like that this ‘God’ is the same as God the Redeemer, but what does that mean? Is this just a covert way of holding two fundamentally incommensurate doctrines of God side-by-side??

    (I believe this is parallel to an Augustinian failure to properly co-ordinate “De Deo Uno” and “De Deo Trino.” Again the problem is that two incommensurate doctrines are simply held awkwardly together)

    I don’t think there is or can be a revelation of God that is functionally unitarian. “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” Matt 11:27.

    Now this means I am committed to a trinitarian, christocentric revelation in creation and in “the general doctrine of Scripture” (i.e. OT). I’ve written on this here:

    http://www.christthetruth.org.uk/revealedinjesus.htm

    and here:

    http://www.christthetruth.org.uk/proclaimedbymoses.htm

    In fact my whole website’s kind of about this!

    Basically I don’t think a (functionally) unitarian revelation *can* be co-ordinated with a triune revelation. Either God the Creator is revealed ‘triunely’ or else the revelation of God the Creator is fundamentally at odds with what we see in Christ. Big claim I know but there it is…

    Anyway, where the rubber hits the road with this discussion of mission, is this: Is Calvin in any sort of danger of laying two incommensurate doctrines of God side-by-side thus leaving the door open to having two incommensurate *missions* side by side in the Church?

    Love to hear any thoughts from this paper of yours Bobby.

  11. Bobby Grow

    Glen said:

    . . . A theologian can claim all they like that this ‘God’ is the same as God the Redeemer, but what does that mean? Is this just a covert way of holding two fundamentally incommensurate doctrines of God side-by-side??

    No I just think that is recognizing that God has oneness and threeness. There is no logical inconsistency at play, just following the “progression” of disclosure in the scriptures. Indeed we see shadows of “mystery” in the OT (i.e. Angel of Yahweh, et al); but it is an argument from silence to say that the original OT audience understood Yahweh’s “trinitarian” nature . . . as we do, via the “substantive” revelation of Christ to the world; or maybe better an anachronism. The Jews weren’t Christians, they didn’t come along until Acts.

    Our difference, no doubt Glen, stems from our broader hermeneutical approaches (i.e. cov./amil vs. progressive dispy/premil); of course Calvin wasn’t an progressive dispy, but I don’t think one has to assume that He was speaking about two incommensurate Gods (OT vs NT)—as I noted above.

    Anyway we apparently disagree . . . let me read your papers, when I have a chance, I did skim the one on Moses.

    Hope your sermon went well . . .

  12. kc

    Just a thought from the peanut gallery but could the apparent disparity between your perceptions be due to the difference in language used for discussing the knowledge that there is a God and the language of the Gospel which is how we come to know God? The evidence that God is does not reveal who He is and I don’t think we normally discuss the triune nature of God when discussing the evidence that God is.

    With respect to missions I think it would be easy to get distracted if we apply ourselves to proving what is evident (that God is) as opposed to introducing Him through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  13. glenscriv

    Hi Bobby and KC,

    Let me try to respond to you together…

    KC said “I don’t think we normally discuss the triune nature of God when discussing the evidence that God is. With respect to missions I think it would be easy to get distracted if we apply ourselves to proving what is evident (that God is) as opposed to introducing Him through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    I think that’s pretty much the centre of this discussion.

    I don’t believe that there can be any knowledge of God that is not knowledge of Him in Christ. For me this means steering well clear of evidential apologetics (actually I steer clear of anything that claims to be ‘apologetics’ – my only apologetics is a good dogmatics). There is only one point of contact between the unseen Father and creation – that is Jesus Christ, the Image of the invisible God.

    This is all very typically Barthian, but let me make my case from John’s Gospel.

    “No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only in the bosom of the Father has made Him known.” (John 1:18).

    Jesus is adamant throughout His ministry that not even Scripture-reading Jews know God if they do not come to Him.

    “You know neither me nor my Father, if you knew me, you would know my Father also.” (John 8:19)

    It’s not that they half know God. It’s not that their knowledge is incomplete – they don’t know Him, they are blind men in the deepest cave at dead of night and its a new moon. Utter darkness.

    Crucially, He claims that the OT witness cannot be understood without reference to Him. Not that there is a first-level understanding which He fills out, but rather…

    “You have never heard [the Father’s] voice nor seen His form, nor does His word dwell in you, for you do not believe the One He has sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you have eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life… If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” (John 5:37-47)

    Jesus’ argument is that Jews who don’t come to Him have no relationship with God – or even with Moses. Moses will condemn unbelieving Jews. Now I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to say Moses will condemn people for failing to do what he also failed to do – i.e. trust Christ. Rather Jesus appeals to Moses’ writings as inherently and already a testimony to Christ.

    So how were OT saints meant to know the Father? Well follow Abraham’s example (John 8:39)

    “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he *saw it* and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:56-58)

    Or, given that John’s given us an example from the patriarchs and then from Moses, why not look to the example of the prophet Isaiah. He saw Jesus’ glory and wrote about *Him*. (John 12:40-41).

    All faith in God has always been faith in Christ.

    Here is actually where I find Calvin particularly strong. Here are his three points to be kept in mind as you read the OT:

    “First, we hold that earthly prosperity and happiness did not constitute the goal set before the Jews to which they were to aspire… Secondly, the covenant by which they were bound to the Lord was supported, not by their own merits, but solely by the mercy of the God who called them. Thirdly, they had and knew Christ as Mediator, through whom they were joined to God and were to share in His promises.” (Institutes, Book 2, chapter 10, section 2)

    And here are a couple of other comments from commentaries:

    “No one sees the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” [Matt. 11:27] – surely they who would attain the knowledge of God should always be directed by that eternal Wisdom. For how could they either have comprehended God’s mysteries with the mind, or have uttered them, except by the teaching of Him to whom alone the secrets of the Father are revealed? Therefore, holy men of old knew God only by beholding Him in His Son as in a mirror. When I say this, I mean that God has never manifested Himself to men in any other way than through the Son, that is, His sole wisdom, light and truth. From this fountain Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others drank all that they had of heavenly teaching. From the same fountain, all the prophets have also drawn every heavenly oracle that they have given forth.” (Institutes, Book 4, chapter 8, section 5.)

    “The fathers, when they wished to behold God, always turned their eyes to Christ. I mean not only that they beheld God in his eternal Logos [sermone], but also they attended with their whole mind and the whole affection of their heart to the promised manifestation of Christ.” (Commentary on John 1:18)

    There are many other such quotes here:

    http://www.christthetruth.org.uk/quotes.htm

    All of this is to the end of saying God the Creator is always and only met in the gospel of Christ. This being so, a church concerned with its mission to the world should do this by proclaiming that same gospel. There is no other God to be known apart from the Son’s Spirit empowered revelation of the Father. Thus there is no other mission or agenda to be served other than the revealing of this Father in the Son and by the Spirit.

  14. kc

    Glen thanks for such a clear response and I accept and agree with a great deal of what you stated.

    I have to confess that I frame my perspective of God’s interaction with His creation more from a relationship standpoint in which case I perceive the OT Israelites as being only familiar with God prior to the Crucifixion after which they, as we do now, entered into a familial relationship with Him in Christ. It was only then that they could know God. They were, as we are, justified by their faith in God and not by their knowledge of Him. To know Him they, as we, had to first meet Him in Christ and I don’t think that happened until Christ testified to them. I do believe there is evidence to suggest that some, such as David, did possess the knowledge of God but I find these are the exception and not the rule. More simply stated I don’t think the Israelites were in communion with God as we are. They only received communication from Him via the prophets.

    I would be anxious to learn what are “good dogmatics” from you. ;-)

  15. Bobby Grow

    I don’t disagree with the trinitarian shape of both OT and NT; but to say that the OT saints understood the trinitarian shape of God as we do, is question begging. When the NT refers to the “mystery” what would you suppose this is referring to Glen?

  16. glenscriv

    Hi KC, a well put dispensationalist perspective! I’ve not heard the “Familiar vs Familial” distinction before.

    In a sense I agree totally with the logic of your position: i.e. if they didn’t know the Son then they couldn’t have become sons and daughters in the same family. That logic is completely Scriptural. But I believe the Scriptures point us to the alternative explanation: i.e. they *were* sons and daughters and thus knew the Son. Or to put it the other way around, they knew the Son and thus were sons and daughters.

    My last comment tried to argue that point from the NT backwards. In this paper below I argue the point from the OT forwards – i.e. that OT saints knew and trusted Christ:

    http://www.christthetruth.org.uk/proclaimedbymoses.htm

    Just for fun let me show you this quote and see if you can guess what century it was written in. The writer comments on Deuteronomy 14:1 “You are the sons of the LORD your God.” (familar *and* familial, but lets not get into that now!). Here’s what the commentator says:

    “If there be any as yet unfit to be called a son of God, let him press to take his place under his first-born Word (Logos)”

    Any guesses? 16th century? 4th century? No 1st century! In fact before the incarnate ministry of Christ, Philo said this (cf. Conf 63). Now I’m not saying “Go and believe everything Philo said” – not at all. But here was a man, who had never heard Jesus of Nazareth or the Apostles who was simply left with the OT Scriptures and he wonders aloud how an Israelite is meant to have familal relations with God the way the Bible says they do. He concludes – they must be related to the First-born (note familial) Word (Logos). Anyway, not wanting to put a lot of weight on this at all, it’s just one of those things that makes you think.

    I believe the NT Scriptures stress that we Gentiles are coming into the blessings of the Jews rather than the other way around. We come into the feast of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matt 8:11), we go to the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:22), we are grafted into their thing (Rom 11), we are blessed along with Abraham the man of faith (Gal 3:9) and become sons of God and children of Abraham by the same faith (Gal 3:26-9), etc, etc.

    I think you yourself feel the difficulty of your own position when you confess that David (and others?) had special knowledge of God. We all know the richness of his “”familiarity”” with God. Yet on what basis do you claim he had this special relationship? I find it relatively straight-forward to account for it.

    Jesus said “How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “`The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘ David himself calls him `Lord’. How then can he be his son?”

    David knows of a Lord from the LORD who is the Messiah and not simply an earthly offspring. In fact David knows of God from God (Ps 45:6-7) who is the victorious King. I will give more examples of this in my next post.

    For the NT, the early church and the reformers the statement that revelation of God is in Christ *alone* was not considered to be a NT novelty, but rather applied indifferently across time. Christ is not only the best Way, but THE WAY. Christ is not only the best Life, but THE LIFE. And Christ is not only the best Truth, but THE TRUTH. (Hence the name of the blog!)

    If OT saints knew the truth then they knew Christ. I think that’s clear from a systematics point of view. I think it’s also clear from a NT point of view (e.g. my comments on John above). I also think it’s clear from an OT point of view (the link above). *And* I think it’s historically been the majority position of the church. (see the quotes page of my site)

    http://www.christthetruth.org.uk/quotes.htm

    Anyway, my next two posts will pick up on some of these points. I’ll post on “Oneness and Threeness” and on “The Trinitarian OT” before continuing with the mission stuff.

    Oh and btw: “a good dogmatics” means arguing from Christ and not towards Him. i.e. Saying: “Since Jesus is the Way, Word, Wisdom, Lamb, Son of God then…” Rather than: “Since we all know the nature of love, absolutes, contingency, metaphysics then…”

    Jesus didn’t begin His ministry saying “We all know the nature of love, relationships, ethics, politics… well that’s a little bit like my kingdom.” No, He said “Here is my Kingdom, repent and believe. Now let’s see what love, relationships, ethics, politics look like in *my* Kingdom.” It’s the exact opposite of apologetics.

  17. glenscriv

    oh sorry Bobby, I didn’t notice your “mystery” question. You must have commented while I was writing my last comment.

    I’ll do a post on it shall I?

    Stay tuned

  18. kc

    Glen I know I agree concerning the fact that no man can know God apart from Christ and yes, I would say David and Isaiah both come to mind as having at least some, if not a great knowledge of God in Christ. I think we likely differ in our understanding of the relationship of God and Israel but not of God and the Church.

    I want to take time to study your articles and I think it only fair for me to do so before I ask more of you. I really do appreciate you being so accessible and approachable and I continue to look forward to your series on mission.

  19. glenscriv

    first come, first served KC ;-)
    I love thinking these things through myself. I’m only really able to sort stuff out in my head when I write it. that’s why it’s great to interact.

  20. Chip M Anderson

    Thank you for this thread (now 6 months od, but nonetheless a good one for people to browse or google into as I did). My thoughts and research on the subject of evangelism and social action appreciate the inclusions here.

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