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Aug 22, 2008

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Dan Anderson-Little

Mike,
I really like where you are going with this. It seems to me that the thesis you are putting forward about God's Mission in the world and our place and the material world's place in it, pushes at both traditional conservative and liberal conceptions of God's Mission--where (to greatly oversimplify) the conservative primary value is to "save souls" and the liberal primary value is to "correct the ills of society." Both are important, but both are incomplete. I wonder if a searching dialogue about this between liberals and conservatives might help us with other issues as well...
Keep up the good work!
Dan

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Dan.

Exodus and exile are two big themes in the OT. Exodus becomes necessary because of oppression from without. Exile occurs because of internal factors where the people of God become rebellious.

Both are destructive to God's mission. I think the biblical narrative is that God requires both justice and holiness. Becoming unduly focused on one leads to shalom destroying consequences from neglect of the other.

What I keep coming back to more and more is just how crucial my eschatology is in shaping how I frame these concerns.

stushie

If it's not about saving souls, then why did Jesus die on the Cross?

Michael W. Kruse

Penultimately, to make an atonement for sin. Ultimately, to create the reality described in paragraph two. I'd really encourage you to go back and be sure you've understood what I've said.

Personal salvation is a means to an end not the end itself. We aren't merely saved from something. We are saved to someone for a mission. We are to become individual and corporate image bearers of God and we are to calling people to repentance and to community.

By analogy, what is the mission of physician? Is it to make diagnoses, give prescriptions, and do operations? No. These are means. Achieving the health and wholeness of the patient is the mission?

To reduce the mission of God to salvation is to become focused on piece of the picture that is all about us. The mission of God is the broader vision of the shalom-filled world I gave in paragraph two and personal salvation is an essential but penultimate piece of that mission.

Ted M. Gossard

Michael, I mention this post and your series on my blog today. Great work, brother. Keep it up, whether we always agree or not. Your thoughts are getting through to me over time.

Ted M. Gossard

Woops. The link: http://communityofjesus.blogspot.com/2008/08/changing-my-views.html

Ted M. Gossard

the link.

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks for the comments and encouragement.

I'm working this stuff out in my own life and expect I will be until I die. What I'm articulating in these early posts is my articulation of the grand eschatological vision. However, how God gets to that vision and our understanding of our role can differ greatly. Thus, agreement on the grand vision still leaves us with considerable room for debate and disagreement on the specifics (i.e., political, ecclesiastical, etc.)

Thanks again for your affirmation and the links at your blog!

Viola Larson

Michael,
Thank you for this series. I just read it all tonight. This may sound silly, but what you are writing about helps me to acknowledge that painting my guest bedroom, making my husbands favorite peanut butter cookies, speaking up at Presbytery and writing about Jesus' death on the cross are all worthy actions in following Christ.

Michael W. Kruse

I'm glad it has that impact on you as well. I keep writing about this stuff because of how quickly I forget the importance of the day-to-day things.

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