reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Friday, April 04, 2008

The missing piece #1

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
One of the things I am so grateful to God for, is what I have learned from much valued UCCF colleagues about a doctrine I have never really through through before - the doctrine of creation.

This is basically the idea that while creation is fallen it is good and it is still God's and he, in fact, still works through it. It has all sorts of implications, especially as we think through what it actually is to be a human being, and what our role is in God's creation.

Before being challenged by my coleagues in this area, I basically bought into a theology that said, creation is fallen, God is redeeming it through the Gospel, therefore it is possible to simply prioritise "Gospel" work above "normal" work and order your life simply to provide enough "Gospel" opportunities. Now I am seeing that God actually has a role for us in creation, which the Christian, having been recreated in Jesus to be fully human, can begin to undertake. This does, of course, include evangelism. But life becomes a lot more interesting and complicated. More on that in another post.

When you begin to see something somewhere, you begin to see it everywhere, and I want to start a blog posting series on all the places I have now begun to see the importance of a solid doctrine of creation popping up.

And so, first, a relevant one to my last post: I have a bad doctrine of creation when I am not bothered about giving boring talks because "after all I am faithfully preaching the word." Now, dear reader, don't get me wrong here, I haven't had a huge paradigm shift - speakers must, please Lord, teach the word. But, it seems to me, we may have bought in so hard to the "God's words does his work" theology, we forget and separate that from the reality that we are speaking to human beings, and God's word speaks to them as such. A right viewing of them as God's good creation means that God word works not just in some mysterious separate spiritual way, but as humans are interested in it and understand it and think about it and apply it.

Some of the preaching theology I used to have- just get the words out there and something weird will happen - is to be honest "pseudo gnostic". We are not just teaching the Bible. We are teaching people the Bible, and we are not just waiting for something spiritual to happen to them outside their real humanity.

So next time I give a boring talk, less whining for me, and more doctrine!


Blogger Terry said...

What you say, Mo, reminds me of when Tim Keller said this:

"The purpose of preaching is not just to make it clear, but to make it real. Of course it has to be clear if it’s going to be real. If it’s not clear: no worship. But it can’t stop there. I think our expository messages are probably too cognitive. [Jonathan] Edwards was incredibly rational, but he was also unbelievably vivid. I don’t think this is going to be easy. I see the narrative preaching approach: You tell people stories and that works kind of superficially on people’s emotions. And you have a kind of expository message approach that I think tends to be more of a Bible commentary and works more on the head. The heart is not just the emotions, but it’s certainly not just the intellect. The heart is the core commitments of the life. What captures the imagination? Therefore the preaching has to be gripping. That doesn’t just mean raising your voice. If you tell stores that just tweak the emotions, it’s like putting dynamite on the face of the rock and it blows up and shears off the face and doesn’t really change the life. On the other hand if you sort of bore down into it with the truth all the way through, that doesn’t change the heart. But if you bore down with the truth and put dynamite in there. If you are able to preach Christ vividly, and if you’re able to preach the truth practically, and out of a changed heart and life yourself…That isn’t the easiest thing to maintain by any means. But then when there’s an explosion, it really changes lives.
-Tim Keller.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

This is all great stuff Mo. Echoes lots of things I've slowly come to see too. Grace doesn't replace creation (gnostic style) or sit on top of/ independent from it (R.C. style) it restores it (resurrection-style).

I look forward to more doctrine of creation posts from you.

7:00 AM  

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