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Apr 06, 2007

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Sam Carr

Michael, I have enjoyed your review of Stevens' book. I learned a lot and agree with both the focus and the insights offered.

Having said that there is one area that troubles me and it is the particular focus on the offices of Christ.
I must confess to often having this problem with Christology as it is formulated now and it stems, I think, from an unconscious division between Jesus the Messiah who preached the gospel of the kingdom on earth and the risen Lord whom we meet mainly in the epistles.

He is indeed Prophet, Priest and King but He is also the Suffering Servant, the Lamb that was slain and the Son of Man.

Michael W. Kruse

Sam, thanks for hanging with me through this book discussion!

Interesting oberservation but I unclear about what troubles you. (And also please keep in mind that if you haven't read the book you are reading Stevens through my eyes which means I am highlighting things I find of interest.) Stevens is not attempting to give a full orbed Christology here. His emphasis is mission or missiology.

I don't see the PPK framework as oppositional to suffering servant and atonement. Without the atonement, the PPK scenario (Christ body acting as PPK to the world with him as its head) would not be possible. But Christ's mission is not the atonement. Christ mission is the consummation of a new creation. We are not merely saved from sin. We are saved to someone for a mission. We are sent by Christ into the world PPK giving witness to the new creation and calling others into that new creation.

Sam Carr

I agree with you that they are not oppositional. Jesus is calling us forward to a more creational base. But where I think we would differ is that I see a strong continuity between the 'preaching of the gospel' which is where missional begins, and Jesus's teaching on the kingdom and the nature of life as sons in His kingdom. Jesus's prediction and the apostles' own experience is that the "obedience of faith" in following Jesus results in a continuance of being also with Him as suffering servant. We too will be rejected by the world yet we are to persevere just as our Lord did.

Our vindication is for later.

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Sam. I'm still not quite sure I fully grasp the distinctions you are making. What you are writing seems to comport well with what Stevens wrote and I certainly agree.

Sorry if I am being dense. It wouldn't be the first time.

:)

Sam Carr

Michael, sorry to have left that hanging, and no, I just read what I wrote and it is vague. The connecting bit that is missing is that early on Stevens mentions the tendency to build institutions based on what we see in the epistles while the gospels are ignored. I agree wholeheartedly and i would like to see our Christology reflect this reality and that in turn would perhaps change our ecclesiological ways.

The earliest Christians first and foremost immersed themselves in Jesus' teachings and work and what we have without doubt in both evangelism and church planting is this gospel being preached and taught as the foundation for both belief and discipleship. It would be wonderful if we would start seeing our work and our walk both come out of this sort of an immersion!

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Sam. That helps. The gospels are central. Some see a sharp distinction between them and what follows next. I don't. The big change is Pentecost. I think the rest of the NT is the story of articulating and exemplifying that message in the various contexts encountered in the Gentile world. I see at as God saying here is the message (gospels) and here is an authoritative account of how my Church wrestled with living it out in their context (rest of NT). Now go and do likewise.

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