Sunday, April 1, 2012

Theology Is A Deliverance Ministry

Being Christian does not get you into heaven. That is not the point of Christianity. At least it wasn't until Christianity lost it's way and needed a punishment/reward system to compensate for it's waning focus on the centrality of Jesus' work of effecting the forgiveness of God in the concrete history of the world that reinstated humanity as the very presence of God by the indwelling of the Spirit of God and the participating instruments of God's plan to bring the creation to completion (see here) (also, the length of this sentence is a tribute to my partial German heritage).

The work of Jesus is universal in scope for all things are in him.

Yet this complete salvation is incomplete. This universality of salvation is in principle. Just as the forgiveness of God has been an in principle reality from the first instance of disobedience. Though God's forgiveness has always been there it still needed to have its concrete establishment in the actual history of the world for it to take effect in the world. In the same way, the universality of this forgiveness and redemption must work out into the actual dirt and blood of history. Though in the incarnation all of humanity has been drawn into the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus and been opened to the life of the Spirit this reality has yet to actually overcome the futility and chaos that pervade the concrete reality of history.

This points to the purpose of theology and evangelism.

Evangelism is the wider end of theology. Where theology deals with the fine grains, evangelism interacts on the level of large chunks but they are on the same continuum. They are both addressing the actual structure of reality.

If redemption is universal then why theologize or evangelize? If what we think and believe has nothing to do with our ultimate destiny then why concern ourselves with it? If "God Gets Everyone" then what is the point of working hard?

First, because Jesus tells us to proclaim the good news.

Second, because our ultimate destiny was never the issue. The issue has always been the fulfillment of creation, so the objection is really baseless in that it assumes a falsity.

Third, we proclaim the Gospel, we work hard to accurately grasp reality because our purpose is active participation in this plan of God for creation.

If our beliefs are inconsistent or are at odds with reality then we suffer cognitive dissonance. We must exert a tremendous amount of creative mental energy to hold together ideas and beliefs that do not fit.

Now, imagine how much God given creative energy would be freed up if we were delivered from false ideas. Energy that could then be directed toward our actual purpose in this world: our active participation in bringing the universal redemption enacted in principle in Jesus into the concrete blood and dirt of history.

Theology is a deliverance ministry. It releases the the children of God from the demonically onerous futility of screwy ideas.

Evangelism is the process by which the universal body of Christ becomes self-aware.

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