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Category Archives: Soteriology

The fragile awe: A sermon seeking the life to come (Acts 2:42-47)

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to […]

We only know it will be love: A sermon on 1 John 3:1-7

Brothers and sisters, here is the amazing thing that we have to deal with, that is so hard for us to understand. That is even harder for the world to understand. The thing that trips us up, the thing we cannot catch up with, that we cannot ever grasp is how great, how singular, how […]

Freedom from innocence: A Sermon on 1 John 1:1-2:2

Brothers and sisters, let me tell you what I am doing in speaking to you today. Let me tell you what exactly I am trying to declare and proclaim to you. I’m here to tell you about that which is eternal, that which is ultimate, that which is greater than any and every created thing. […]

A really wordy paraphrase of Ephesians 2:1-10

A Sermonic Midrash on Ephesians 2:1-10 Preached on Sunday, March 18 at Church of the Servant King in Portland, Oregon. Hear, listen, understand, and know, brothers and sisters what state you used to be in. Do not forget the slavery you once labored under. Do not forget the bondage that once owned you, dominated you, […]

Ressentiment and the “new universalism”

Everybody’s buzzing about the “new universalism” these days. For my part I’m rather surprised that its taken this long for this discussion to become such a trendy subject. The most rigorous, and in my opinion, most stringent evangelical proposals for universalism are not exactly new. Books like Thomas Talbott’s The Inescapable Love of God and […]

J. Kameron Carter on Haiti: From Theodicy to Christ-odicy

As was mentioned in the comments to my quote from Nate’s article on Haiti, you should also make sure to check out J. Kameron Carter’s excellent reflection on the tragedy. Here’s a quote: For in Jesus, so we confess, God was manifest, not metaphysically above the fray, but in the flesh, in our condition (1 […]

T. F. Torrance on justification and orthodoxy

WTM has a solid quote from T. F. Torrance on justification and its relation to orthodoxy: Justification is God’s word of truth and its revelation is truth. This word justification does not have to do simply with righteous living but with righteous understanding, for righteousness is God’s right or truth as well as his holiness […]

Union with Christ, union with each other

It’s often commonly perceived that a central difference between Protestant and Roman Catholic ecclesiologies lies in that the former claims that one’s membership in the church is conditioned upon their union with Christ, whereas the latter tends to argue that one is only united with Christ through their membership in the church. Obviously this is caricature, but […]

Volf on the body of Christ, ctd.

So, given what we’ve seen from Volf, how does he ultimately describe the church as the body of Christ? In a rather trinitarian way: Christ cannot be identical with the church. An element of juxtaposition obtains between Christ and the church that precisely as such is constitutive for their unity. Only as the bride can […]

Baptism into the damned

Bob Eckblad makes some interesting points about Jesus’s baptism in his subversive and challenging book, A New Christian Manifesto. Noting, as many have done, the obvious parallels between Jesus being baptized and then going into the desert for forty days and the story of Israel and the Exodus, Eckblad notes some crucial differences. In the Exodus, the […]

More on Freedom

In light of some recent discussions about the nature of freedom, theologically speaking, I’m going to venture a proposal here. From a Christian perspective, freedom is the translation of human beings into the triune life of God. To be free is to be united to God through Christ, and in being so united, to be […]

Theosis Defined

Gorman offers the following definition of theosis as it applies to the thought of St. Paul: Theosis is transformative participation in the kenotic, cruciform character and life of God through Spirit-enabled conformity to the incarnate, crucified, and resurrected/glorified Christ, who is the image of God. (p. 125) The only thing I might tweak here would […]

Justfication as Theosis

Again, from Gorman: Because the faithful and loving crucified Christ is the image and self-revelation of God, the paradoxical process of justification by co-crucifixion, or resurrection through conformity to the crucified Christ, means that the pisteuontes (“believers”) are those who are becoming like God and thus experiencing the process of theosis inasmuch as they embody the […]

Justification as Co-Crucifixion: Summary

Again from Gorman, here is the summary of his view of justification: Justification is the establishment of right covenantal relations–fidelity to God and love for neighbor–by means of God’s grace in Christ’s death and our Spirit-enabled co-crucifixion with him. Justification therefore means co-resurrection with Christ to new life within the people of God and the […]

Cruciformity as Theoformity

More good stuff from Michael Gorman’s new book, Inhabiting the Cruciform God: To be more specific, Paul has not two soteriological models (juridical and participationist) but one, justification by co-crucifixion, meaning restoration to right covenantal relations with God and others by participation in Christ’s quintessential covenantal act of faith and love on the cross; this […]

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