A Good Death

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dad 1I hesitate to write this story because I know that for many the death of a loved one was not a good experience. Perhaps most of the time this is the case. Death can be sudden and premature; it can be ugly, even horrific; it can occur far away making it impossible for us to be present; and it can often leave behind a host of unresolved feelings. I’m not suggesting that my father’s death has none of these characteristics, but all-in-all, under the circumstances, it was about as good a death as one could ask for. And for that I am so so grateful. Much of what follows comes from my journal entries during that time….

From Sunday night, October 20 until Wednesday afternoon (October 23) when he graduated, our family and the nursing staff kept vigil. Three days of watching and waiting for the resurrection we knew was at hand.

From first to last, the vigil was a God-crafted, God-enabled gift of amazing grace. From all of us being able to gather Sunday night in less than 3 hours, to my dad being slightly responsive that first day, and then as he descended further and further into his own quiet world, still hearing us, but in a place of stillness where he could possibly hear and feel and see God himself.

Once dad descended into that thin space somewhere in between, we gave him permission in as many ways as we could think of that it was ok for him to let go. There was nothing more he needed to do. We love him and we will take good care of one another.

Each day we did a little “exercise” with him called “practicing heaven.” I asked dad to pretend that he had the power, like Jesus, to take one final breath and then willingly give up his spirit to the Father. Together we imagined what his first breaths on other side might be like, and assured him of the goodness and glory of life with God face to face.

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On his last night (Tuesday) we shared communion as a family with Old Soul pure red California wine and San Francisco sourdough bread. Symbols of the life of Jesus given and shared with us, and of the communion and union with God into which we are invited now and eternally. A symbol of the reckless hospitality of God for we who are not worthy. A pilgrim’s meal as we journey toward the great banquet table that is to come. My dad at this point was unresponsive, so my mom touched the wine and bread to his lips. He’s been on a feeding tube for the last two years, so I can only imagine what it will be like when he does take his place at the banquet table of God.

Oct 23 2:00am
I’m alone with my dad, listening to his labored breathing and apnea pauses and the horrible ugliness of it is beautiful to me, for every forced breath he takes means he is still alive. Soon – in just a few hours – one of these breaths will be his last and he will be gone for good.

Every once in a while the pause is so great I think he is gone, but then he reaches deep again and soldiers on – pressing through the difficult and keeping going. That’s the way he was in life too – a fighter, a worker, persevering, enduring, making the struggle a game that he would eventually master.

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Oct 23 1:00pm
The song “It is well” (by Bethel) is playing and for a little while all of us get very quiet. I slip from my chair beside the bed to my knees and close my eyes letting the words wash over me. As I do I get an image of my dad leaning backward into Jesus’ chest. They are in water and Jesus has one strong arm across dad’s chest while he paddles backwards slowing carrying him to the shore on the other side. There is nothing my dad still needs to do. He does not need to say any special words. He does not need to trek his way through stormy clouds to the pearly gates. All that remains is for him to lean back and entrust himself into the faithful arms of his Savior Jesus Christ. It is the ultimate trust fall.

Oct 23 2:25pm
The transition happened. Dad graduated from this veiled existence where vision is cloudy and hearing poor, finally resting back into the strong embrace of Jesus as he swam him across to the opposite shore.

His final breaths were to the music and words of Amazing Grace as I read them aloud…

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

All became quiet as he held his breath one last time and on this one finally let go: “Into your hands Father I commit my spirit.”

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

To entrust oneself in this way requires an ok-ness with not knowing all the answers, but trusting the Father anyway for he is good. This entrustment is required at death, and as C.S. Lewis has written, we best die before we die. That is, entrusting our selves into the hands of God in faith, hope, and love is what we are invited (created) to do each and every day. It is no less than a form of death. And yet, it is paradoxically also the path of life, eternal life.

I fully believe he is there now, by Jesus’ side, eyes wide-opened, mouth grinning again, face shining like never before, more alive than we who remain, now cheering for us to entrust our selves more and more fully (i.e. die) before we one day join him (i.e. die).

Eugene Peterson: he pastored me into pastoring

Eugene Peterson’s death this past week has affected me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. First of all, I did not expect it to come so soon. Our family had traveled to Montana in July and spent an afternoon with Jan and Eugene and, while he was weak and showing signs of dementia, there was also much hope that he might have several more years.

But the end of his long obedience has come.

I first “met” Eugene through his book Under the Unpredictable Plant. The year was 1990 and I was a very green youth director and my supervising pastor suggested we read and discuss it. The book is about vocation, specifically pastoral vocation, and what it means to pastor a church. It was a meditation on the book of Jonah summarized by a line in a letter Eugene would write to me nearly 20 years later, “the church we want becomes the enemy of the church we have.” His writing was prophetic and beautiful at the same time. I found myself deeply attracted to be the kind of person he described, yet also profoundly convicted by his challenge to my self-oriented default approach to church life and, if I was honest, to Christian faith in general.

Four years later (1994), with the blessing of the San Francisco Presbytery who were thrilled that I would be studying under Eugene Peterson, I enrolled in Seminary at Regent College in Vancouver, BC where Eugene had begun teaching two years previously. Sharon and I were star struck at first, desperately desiring to have time with Jan and Eugene, but terribly awkward when we got it. They did their best to put us at ease (usually it was Jan who was most helpful there!), and over time they got to know us and we got to know them. I have no idea how many of Eugene’s classes I sat through. I took them all – if not for credit, I listened to them on “tape” and took notes just for myself. I even did a guided study with Eugene to fulfill some of my Presbyterian ordination requirements. I never grew tired of his perspective.

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Summer 1998 at the Peterson home (with our son Andrew)

As I was nearing the time of graduation, I still was unsure about my future. Missions? (back to China where we’d taught for two years already?) Para-Church work? Pastor? I had completed the Presbyterian “call” process, but I still had my doubts about being a pastor – was I really cut out for it? I wanted to have it all planned out. I wanted to “design” my life so that it would be “used” by God in the most “effective” (and efficient…and with minimal pain) way. I wrote him a letter about this in 1997 and he responded with these words of example (and therefore challenge!):

“Most of the things I fantasized doing [by being ‘intentional’] I didn’t do. I have mostly just tried to be obedient to the work that was before me – as pastor and writer. I’m suspicious of ‘gift-defining’- too much ego involved. I don’t think any of us do a very good job of planning (intentionalizing) our lives – we aren’t smart enough – or lucky enough. Saying No and staying uncluttered is not so much a matter of intentionality as of obedience to place and work and the people who God has placed in your life: wife, children, family, etc. ‘Life-purpose’ and such rather crowds out faith and prayer don’t you think?” 

Clearly I was a poor student, and a slow learner. Like most of Jesus’ disciples, I loved being with this man and knew that he was right, and yet my actions and choices were slow to follow. Yet Eugene patiently walked with me through my angst, until one day as I met with him in his office he said straight to me, “Geordie, you are a pastor. Stop trying to design your life, and be obedient to what God has put in front of you.”

And so with a bit of fear and trembling, I became a pastor.

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Eugene’s writing desk

Since he was a large part of the reason I became a pastor, I asked Eugene if he would preach at my Ordination. He agreed, and in March of 1999, Eugene and a myriad of other pastors and elders laid hands on me and prayed my ordination. The title of his message to me was “Eat this book,” taken from the title of the book he was currently writing. That title though expresses one of the foundational impacts that Eugene has had on my life. He, more than any other, has taught me to take the Scriptures seriously. But not in a stogie, uptight way. Rather, Eugene taught me that God is real and Jesus is alive and the Spirit is present and that there is nothing connected to this triune God that is not personal through and through. Boy have I needed that message. So much in me is wired to perform, to achieve, to compete, to hide. And yet his relentless message was to believe that God is present and speaking through his word. It is ALIVE – because HE is alive!

Along those same lines, Eugene taught me to have a Biblical imagination. Part of it was his way of speaking – it was so different than anyone else I knew. Whereas I’d been accustomed to thinking of salvation as a thing you “had” or didn’t “have,” Eugene talked about it as a “country” where you live, a spacious land in which you come to find yourself. And the scriptures were our access to that world. He taught me to appreciate and pay attention to the “spirituality” of the characters in scripture. In fact, one of my favorite classes Eugene taught bore that title: Scripture as a text for spirituality. I’ve never heard them the same since.

Like many eager seminary grads, my first call was both wonderful and very difficult. The context of the church I served was not very congenial to me being the kind of pastor that Eugene described. And yet it was Eugene’s vision of what pastoral ministry and church life should be that sustained and inspired me through those years.

During that time Eugene and I would speak on the phone a couple times a year. He knew my context was difficult and patiently listened to my vocational wonderings. Most of the time he was non-directive, but he asked good questions, and occasionally would challenge me to press in and get back in the game. Always he believed in me. He was such a good friend in this way.

Eventually, I knew it was time to move on. My desire to study the theology of T.F. Torrance had only grown with time and I began to feel drawn toward a PhD. I called Eugene to talk it over and get his input. He was pretty clear about his feelings. He said “I am not very enthusiastic about a PhD for pastors.” He worried that I would get caught up in the academic world and not want to come back to ordinary pastoral ministry. For Eugene, the PhD was showing up every Sunday and hanging out with ordinary Christians every week. Working out our theology in the real context of people’s lives was where the action was at.

While I believed him and respected his point, I still felt called to pursue the PhD. And that’s when the letter writing started in earnest….

I’d written and received a few letters with Eugene prior to our move to Scotland, but once we moved there letter writing became a regular thing. I suppose I realized that I needed his voice in my life. I worried that I might lose my footing, or stray from my roots. I didn’t want this new season of growth and learning to betray or reject any of my former growth, particularly my Regent education. I’d written a couple letters to Eugene, and he to me, prior to this, but during the season of the PhD and then re-entry into pastoral ministry, he wrote me nearly 25 letters.

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Carved stone at the Peterson’s home

One of the most important letters I received from Eugene was sent in March of 2009. By this time I’d completed a one-year Masters of Theology and was in the first year of my doctoral research trying to find my way and focus. I had sent Eugene my master’s thesis which he kindly read. His response, I believe, provided the fuel that sustained me through the fiery, lonely, despondent, frightening, overwhelming, isolating, spiritually costly trial that a PhD is.

Here is what he said:

I find your work on Torrance a great boost and affirmation – and an extension to what I have done, I think, most of my life. Namely, to rescue the business of growing up in Christ, coming to maturity (often treated today as spiritual formation) from the special interest groups, parachurch retreats and conferences, etc. and in general people interested in “spirituality.”

In the American church there is virtually no ecclesiology, no body of Christ humanity to deal with, the humanity that is given to us through the mediation of Jesus’ humanity. So the church is understand [sic] almost entirely in terms of its function, what we do for Jesus instead of what Jesus is doing for us. You and Torrance insist on something totally different, the church as ontological fact.

Given your thesis, it seems to me that what you now continue to do is resist in as many ways as you can think up the functional aspects church – our attempts at renewal and programmatic strategies – and insist on the ontological reality of the church….

The difficulty with Torrance is that he is, well, so difficult. You have done a superb job of making him accessible. He is a superb theologian; but he is not a pastor. Now, if I can be so bold, you have the task before you of doing for Torrance what he could not do for himself: provide the vocabulary and imagination that provides an ontological paradigm for the American church and demonstrates the emptiness and impotence of the functional.

Well, that’s a mouthful, and this is not the place to try and unpack all of what Eugene is saying here, but I cannot overstate the impact that his affirmation of the importance of my work has had on me. There were several seasons during my doctoral research when I considered dropping out, and every time one of the key elements that sustained me was the fact that Eugene felt what I was doing was important for the church, and in continuity with his own work. He could not have paid me a higher complement.

As I’ve thought about Eugene this past week and his impact on my life, I’ve come to realize that for the past 24 years his voice and vision has colored my life and ministry deeply. Whether it was his books, our face to face conversations, his classes, his letters, or his life example…I hear him beckoning me to center my life and ministry in God. Much of the time I am aware that I fall short, and yet I never have felt condemned in his presence. Convicted yes. Challenged yes. But never condemned. His way was always to call forth the best of Christ in us.

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At their home on Flathead Lake, July 2018

No blog or “tribute” can adequately honor the gift of a life lived with love and passion and grace. I think I’ll end with a quote from Fred (Mr) Rogers, who in his comencement address at Middlebury College, said the following:

“From the time you were very little, you’ve had people who have smiled you into smiling, people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, loved you into loving.” 

And in the case of Eugene Peterson, pastored me into pastoring.

 

The neglected article

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One of the most neglected central articles of the faith as laid out in the Apostle’s Creed and others like it, is the doctrine of the Ascension.  We confess it: “I believe…he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” We celebrate Jesus’ coming at Advent, Jesus’ birth at Christmas, Jesus’ life and ministry during Lent, Jesus’ passion during Holy Week, Jesus’ death on Good Friday, and Jesus’ resurrection on Easter, the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, but what of the Ascension?  Why doesn’t the Ascension get a Sunday or a special service like all the others?  Does this mean it is not actually that important?  That we can take it or leave it without any real impact to the overall reality of our faith?  What does the Ascension mean anyway?

The event of the Ascension

The New Testament records that after Jesus’ resurrection (Easter Sunday),  he stuck around for 40 days and appeared to his disciples (actually, over 500 of them) many times.  Then after 40 days “he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”  (Acts 1:9)  The Bible teaches that he was “taken into heaven” and will eventually “return in the same way you have seen him go.” (Acts 1:10-11; see also Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51)

40 days after Easter always lands on a Thursday.  This year that day is May 25th

Implications of the Ascension: What do we say when we say that we believe in the Ascension? 

  1. The incarnation continues. Jesus is still human.  What?  Yes, you heard me right.  Jesus takes his humanity with him into the presence of God.  When he takes his humanity, he takes us as well.  (Jn 16:28; Jn 20:17; Jn 14:2-4)
  2. The at-one-ment of God and humanity is accomplished. The Bible says Jesus is “seated” at the right hand of God.  One meaning of him being seated means his work is done.  What was Jesus’ primary work?  His primary work was to offer a perfect human life of faithfulness, love, and trust to the Father.  From Bethlehem to Calvary Jesus did that, and now that perfect life, that life of at-one-ment with God is firmly and securely seated with God.  On one level, nothing more needs to be done.  “It is finished.”  (Heb 10:10-14; Rom 4:25-5:1; 2 Cor 5:18-21)
  3. Your life and mine is secure. The author of Hebrews describes Jesus’ ascension as “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb 6:19).  Jesus has offered the perfect human life, once and for all.  Jesus has answered the Father’s call for a perfect covenant partner, once and for all.  He did this for all humanity – you, me, and your neighbor who doesn’t believe in God.  Forgiveness is accomplished.    Seated.
  4. Jesus continues to pray for us. Through Jesus we have continual access to the Father. We have a place at the family table.  (1 John 2:1; Heb 7:25; Heb 8:1; Jn 14:13-14; Heb 4:15-16).
  5. Jesus reigns. Jesus is not in a lazy-boy chair or a hammock.  He is seated on a throne, but he is still actively working.  From that place of security and accomplishment he rules and reigns, he prays and blesses, he shares his mind and heart.  With his Father he continues to love the world.  (Rom 8:34; 1 Peter 3:22; Eph 1:20-23; Heb 1:3; Rev 5:6-13)  We are invited and called to participate in his ongoing kingdom work (Mt 6:10).
  6. Jesus sends his Spirit (from Pentecost onward) to do in you and I (and hopefully, in your neighbor who doesn’t believe in God) what he did in Jesus. The Spirit is sent so that we can personally share in, participate in, have communion with, this new humanity which is in Jesus. (Luke 24:49; Jn 14:16; 2 Cor 3:18)  If we reject Jesus and the Spirit, we tragically miss out, but someone’s rejection does not undo the fact that all are implicated and included in what Christ has done.
  7. We are privileged daily to participate in this new reality. We can rejoice in it.  We can bear witness to it – that our life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3; 1 Cor 15:58).

Let us no longer neglect this central article of our faith.  Better yet, let it be daily nourishment for your soul.  We are safe, we are not alone, we are accompanied, we are empowered…because Jesus is ascended to the right hand of the Father.

Preaching is Dangerous: Two good people (at least) left my church because of my last sermon

Image result for traveling with suitcasesTwo good people.  They were regulars, for years.  But one sermon sent them packing.  What happened?  I decided to be direct, to take on a poorly supported, terribly exegeted, yet popular view among many Christians.  I rejected it and suggested it was a dangerous view.  They didn’t like that, so they left.

Of course, I could put all the blame on them.  I could argue that it is pretty sad if people assume that every week when they go to church that the preacher’s job is to simply corroborate their theological stances and that they are to leave unchanged, but somehow blessed week after week.  I could argue that perhaps most church attenders (if not all) are looking for a place that simply confirms the way they already think and act, while allowing a very small space for very minor shifts.  I could argue that our sanctuaries have lost their edge and no one expects an encounter with God to really mess with their idols.

I could also put the blame on myself.  It wasn’t a great sermon.  I could confess that my critique of that beloved viewpoint was not communicated with charity or grace, but rather was dismissive and critical.  I could have admitted that I too held that view at one time but that as I carefully examined the evidence and looked at church history I had to leave it behind.  I could have given them some space to hold to a divergent view.  I could have recognized that some people, some good people, in my congregation probably still held that view.  I could have spoken as if I was speaking to a friend across the table, rather than acting as I might on Facebook ranting about a view in the abstract.

So what does this say about “prophetic” preaching?  I believe most genuine preachers want to be prophetic – they want to trust the Holy Spirit to use their sermon to speak into the lies and half-truths that infect people’s lives and inhabit our culture and even or especially our Christian culture.  If that is the case, how do we do that well?

Well, from the congregation’s standpoint, perhaps we need to warn them a bit more.  Perhaps we need to directly alert them to the fact that the word of God may not affirm their beliefs, even the beliefs that they believe are Biblical.  Perhaps we need to remind them that each one of us is a fashioner of idols.  If they forget that, and enter our churches to hear our messages and find those beloved idols being challenged, they will be shocked, and angry, and lash out.

From the preacher’s standpoint, I see a double call: we need to aim to be a centered church while also holding to the rule of charity.

A centered church: A centered church puts Christ at the center and aims for him in all things.  A centered church does not fixate on boundaries and does not love to declare who is in and who is out by whatever standard of measure.  A centered church preaches the gospel, a gospel center towards which all people can move, while a boundary oriented church cuts people out and declares there is no place for them.

A charitable church: Church is not meant to be a place where all people agree on all things.  Do we allow space for people to hold some unorthodox ideas?  (Can I admit that some of my own views are not spot on?) Can we have grace and tolerance toward people’s pet views and theological upbringings?  In other words, will we love people in their shoddy-theological states and point them toward Jesus or will be rip on their views and tell them they have no place at the table of Christ if that is how they think?

I believe last week I failed on my part.  I wrote a personal apology to one of the people for my failure – my failure in charity and in being properly centered.  I don’t know if it will make any difference to that person, but it will make a difference to me going forward.  Perhaps those who left our church also failed their own test.  But until I learn how to deal with the log in my eye, I have no right to a holier than thou attitude toward those who choose to pick up their idols and leave.

How did Grace become a pharmaceutical?

My heart and mind are bursting Image result for inklingswith enthusiasm today after having two separate sessions with two different groups discussing my book on Grace and its implications for life and ministry.  My purpose with these groups is to prove the truthfulness of what Eugene Peterson said to me once, “All theology is experience-able.”  This should particularly be the case when dealing with a subject so relevant as Grace, and even more so when intrinsic in the definition of Grace is our participation in the life, love, and activity of God.  Today was
proof of the relevance and I look forward to how this will continue to unfold.

My intention is to blog through the book as these conversations in community continue.  This will enable others to join in the conversation.

The introduction provides a very brief background to T.F. Torrance, a rationale for a book on his concept of Grace, commentary on T.F.’s reception by the academy and the church, a note on his writing style, and a statement on the methodology and approach which I am taking in the book.  The purpose and goal of the book is to translate and exposit Torrance’s theology through the lens of Grace.  It, in effect, is a relentless pursuit of what I believe is the core of his thinking and theology, and not only that, the core of the gospel revealed in Christ send by the Father in the power of the Spirit.

The “meat” of the introduction is found in the section titled, “Background to Torrance’s Theology of Grace.”  This section brings to light the versions of Grace that Torrance understands himself to be combating.

Rather than going point by point through the material (you can buy and read the book if you want that), I’m going to drop in at a couple places along the way and do a combination of riffing on what Torrance is staying about Grace, and reflecting on the conversations I’ve been having with those who are on the front end of engaging with these ideas.

So….

What if we have misunderstood Grace?  What if, even in the Reformation, we have reduced it to something we can understand, manage, and control?  Torrance argues that our continual default is to naturalize grace by detaching it from the person and work of Christ.  Once Grace is detached from the person of Christ, it gets reduced to something instrumental, controllable, and impersonal.  In short, we turn it into a pharmaceutical (my term).  We turn it into a pharmaceutical when we treat grace like a supplemental add-on to the Christian life.  We say things and hear things said like, “…with the help of God’s grace…” you can do this or that.  Grace becomes our energy pill.  As a pharmaceutical, the Church and religious activities become the means by whiRelated imagech grace is dispensed.  We expect that by going to church, reading our bibles, fasting, praying, serving, etc…that we will “get” grace from that experience.

Forget the Catholics whom many Protestants so love to critique, let’s just look at how this plays out in the Protestant world.  Here’s a quote from page xxvi in the book:

  • “…the same errors and problems which plagued the Church before the Reformation reemerged afterwards; indeed Protestantism has shown an uncanny ability to replicate its own counterpart to nearly every flawed version of Grace which it opposes in Romanism. Torrance targets three particular snares which tend to besiege Protestantism: tendencies towards pietistic subjectivism, impersonal determinism and abstract extrinsicism.”

Pietistic subjectivism: Here we naturalize grace by melding it with common grace.  There is a mutuality between God and us and as we do our part and God does his part, progress is made.  We essential treat grace as something ‘infused’ into us, so we “grow in sanctification” and we “grow in grace” which is another way of saying, we get more of this thing, like muscle mass.  Now grace has become ours, because we’ve worked hard at it, we’ve trained for it.  Now it is “natural” to us when prior to our hard work it was not “natural” to us.

Impersonal determinism: Whereas pietistic subjectivism focuses on grace inside of us, impersonal determinism views it from the outside.  Here grace is treated as an impersonal force.  This is evident in both the theological position of limited atonement and also that of universalism.  Each in their own way imposes a deterministic framework upon God’s relation to humans, the former by limiting God’s gift of salvation to a pre-selected group, the later by forcing God’s gift of salvation upon everyone regardless of their own wills.

Abstract extrinsicism: Here grace is reduced to and controlled by legal categories.  This is grace on paper, where like an electronic bank transfer, grace is “imputed” to us, but that imputation takes place in ether world of “the cloud” and as such is abstract, distant, and external to us.  Grace in this form does not transform the person.  It bypasses the person, leaving them in the mire of their sin on an experiential level.  Cognitively, we know we are free and forgiven, but experientially we are still left on our own to fend for ourselves – until we die.

In one way or another each of these versions of grace convert “it” into a thing, “thingifying” grace into an instrument or pill that helps us live the Christian life.

Pick up any book on grace today and the assumed premise will be that grace exists as a fix for a problem.  How did we get here?  In short, we have not listened to Athanasius who sought to teach us that the incarnation did not take place because humans are bad, but because God is good.  We have reduced God’s gift of himself to a fix for a problem (humans are bad, sin must be forgiven), rather than recognizing it as God’s gift of himself so that we might participate in his life. (more on this next time)

I think this is where T.F. Torrance can become our best friend in leading us out of the quagmire of moralism, impersonalism, and extrinsicism that contaminates our gospel.  And finally, I’d like to think that my book could be particularly helpful there.  Here is the thesis as stated on p. xxviii:

  • “It is the argument of this book that this self-giving-for-participation movement of triune Grace functions as the presuppositional and allencompassing context materially undergirding and methodologically guiding the formulation of all of Torrance’s theology. Like leaven, Torrance’s concept of Grace permeates the whole and forms the basis upon which all other doctrines have their sustenance.”