Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The most devastating imbalance of all...

"More than one-half of the world's people are still without the simplest knowledge of the good news of God's saving love in Jesus Christ. There is no greater challenge to evangelism in mission than that. Christians are rightly concerned about the grievous imbalances of wealth and food and freedom in the world. [But] What about the most devastating imbalance of all: the unequal distribution of the light of the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ?" 

Samuel Hugh Moffett, The Leading Partner - Perspectives Reader, 2009, 599-600.

Do I need to say more?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Part I: The Cape Town Commitment: For the Lord we love...#7

We love God's Word.

"We love the Bible as a bride loves her husband's letters, not for the paper they are, but for the person who speaks through them.  The Bible gives us God's own revelation of his identity, character, purposes, and actions.  It is the primary witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In reading it, we encounter him through his Spirit with great joy.  Our love for the Bible is an expression of our love for God."

Protestants are often accused of loving the Bible too much because they claim that it is the primary means by which God is to be known.  Some argue that God also reveals himself through creation, by tradition and by supernatural means.  This is true...creation cannot but speak of its Creator...but while the heavens declare the glory of God, they tell us little of his loving kindness, his patience, his grace, his mercy, his forgiveness, and, indeed, his act of redemption through the sacrifice of his Son.  The Church has, it is true, hammered out that which appeared to be ambiguous in Scripture...such as the doctrine of the Trinity.  And, it is equally true, that God has, and still does, reveal his power and his amazing love for his children in miraculous ways.  But the only way by which the truth of these revelations can be measured is by comparing them with what God has already revealed in his Word.

"The Bible tells the universal story of creation, fall, redemption in history, and new creation.  This overarching narrative provides our coherent biblical worldview and shapes our theology.  At the center of this story are the climactic saving events of the cross and resurrection of Christ which constitute the heart of the gospel."

Without the Word of God, the story of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and present reign of Jesus would have been lost.  Without the reality of that story being applied to countless members of the human race, we too would have been lost...for all eternity.

The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit.  It is the means by which the universal story of redemption...God's amazing character portrayed in the incarnate love letter of his Son...cuts down all that which separates us from our Creator.

The Word...the love letter of God, if you will...must be shared if the Spirit is to have his way in this world.  After having argued that even though Israel had the Word, they failed to obtain God's righteousness because they were ignorant of the manner in which it was to be obtained, Paul said, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!'"

The authors of the Cape Town Commitment encourage us to "...make the Bible known by all means possible, for its message is for all people on earth."  And then they challenge us to "...recommit ourselves...to the ongoing task of translating, disseminating, and teaching the Scriptures in every culture and language, including those that are predominantly oral or non-literary."

Amen.  So be it...