July 15, 2005

In this series of reflections based on Turning to Jesus, I want to look today at the various kinds of conversion and then at the context out of which the convert comes.The process of conversion — whether suddenly or gradually — involves the movement from one context (whoever we are and wherever we are) and entrace into another context (“in” Christ, the Church).The context of one’s conversion involves sorting out first the kind of conversion we are dealing with. These… Read more

July 14, 2005

Trying to define conversion in a meaningful way is not easy, so I will go to two major scholars of conversion theory. In doing this, let me emphasize that the scholarly discussion of conversion avoids specific theological terms, so sometimes this can sound a bit clinical and artificial — but I want to emphasize that it isn’t. Conversion is a profound spiritual moment and/or process that, at the same time, can be analyzed on the basis of “what we can… Read more

July 14, 2005

Each local church, whether radically independent or associated with a larger denomination, institutionalizes a conversion orientation. A church does this by the way it presents the gospel, by the way it teaches Sunday School, by the way it preaches from the pulpit, by the way it shapes the programs and platforms.As I point out in Turning to Jesus, the Church institutionalizes this process in three orientations. And we each come to faith in one of these orientations or as a… Read more

July 14, 2005

I will begin a series today on conversion theory and if you’d like to know where I’ll be going, check this out. I’ll work on the process of conversion and point out the ways it can help our evangelism and discipleship ministries. Read more

July 13, 2005

Everyone will want to buy and read Rob Bell’s new book, which I think is to appear in a week or two. It is called Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Rob Bell is the kind of pastor I’m thankful for because it is these sorts who keep gospel hope alive among the sort of students I teach.It is written in some kind of pomo techno style with all kinds of short sentences and new paragraphs, and it is not… Read more

July 13, 2005

In yesterday’s post I asked the question how we can “prove” that Jesus died for our sins. Many of your responses were challenging and were, so I think, getting to the issue itself. I’d like to wend my way through to what I will call an “answer.”First, I begin with Lyotard’s observation that postmodernity is against metanarratives, not because they are present but because the scientific mind of modernity thought it could prove that metanarrative by stepping outside that metanarrative… Read more

July 12, 2005

Along with many of my fellow bloggers, I grew up being told that Jesus died for my sins — in fact, that to die for my sins is the sole reason Jesus came to earth. Jesus’ death for us is the atonement, and there are a host of theories: Irenaeus’s recapitulation theory, the classical ransom theory, Anselm’s satisfaction of divine honor theory, Abelard’s exemplary theory (if a theory at all), the Reformers’ penal substitution theory, and Grotius’ governmental theory (which… Read more

July 12, 2005

Check this blog by Brad Bergfalk. Read more

July 12, 2005

In case you haven’t figured this out, I’m working my way toward an article on the Emerging movement for a magazine and so I’m testing some ideas as I move forward each day with some reading (in the time I can manage). So, thanks for the comments and observations.I’ll use “EM” for Emergent movement.The EM is pro-Church. To make this claim requires some nuance and some careful thinking. The EM is pro-Church more than it is critical of the Church,… Read more

July 11, 2005

Enough of the posts on the significance of “post,” though some more will probably come to my head.The emergent movement’s strongest asset and its clear prophetic voice is around this idea: the purpose of the Church, the local church, is to be a missional community. The tendency for many churches is to be stagnant — low growth with low embers glowing with low change and low adaptation to newer cultural ideas and movements. It used to be said that every… Read more

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