Thursday, July 29, 2010

converted, always converting

I guess if the church needs to be "reformed, always reforming" - then it might be OK for me to be converted, always converting. Won't there always be blindspots to be exposed as I slide down the asymptote closer and closer to the full and complete truth of that horizontal line...yes, I think so.

I can think of a number of conversions in recent years.

What about the recognition that there is only a great commission because there was first a great mission? Behind a few words of Jesus in the Gospels and Acts lies the initiative of God running from Genesis to Revelation. Long before there is something we are to do among the nations, there is something God has been doing among the nations. I am embarassed by the length of time it took me to see this.

What about the recognition that there is more to the gospel than sin and redemption, the bad and the new? Really?! Yes! To commence with the bad infers that the Bible begins in Genesis 3. To conclude with the new forgets the certain hope that there is more to come. The full gospel includes the good, the bad, the new, and the perfect. Furthermore the 'new' does not begin with Jesus - it begins, far earlier, with Abraham in Genesis 12.1-3. This is the first great commission. This is the gospel announced beforehand (Gal 3.8a). I am embarassed by the length of time it took me to see this.

What about the recognition of a longing for the judgement of God? I blame my kids for this one. Yes, I do! My 18yr old daughter heads off to Kolkata's slums for 7 months. Then she engages herself to a man who, a few days later, heads off to Liberia's raw and open post-war sores for 9 months. Then my son graduates from law and within days is mingling with Congolese refugee children flooding into Kampala - and he is still there, 15 months later. I've never been the same again. I hear their stories and I find myself longing for the judgement of God to descend upon the earth. How dare we feel offended by the judgement of God when so many of his people all around the world are hanging out for that judgement. No more sitting in righteous indignation over God's righteous indignation for me. No way! Count me in with the heavens and the seas, the fields and the trees - I want to sing about the sure coming judgement of God as well (Psalm 96.11-13 - but who is writing songs like this?). I am embarassed by the length of time it took me to see this.

What about the recognition of the diverse ways in which the Old Testament points us to Christ? Of course I believe this - but now I am seeing it with greater fullness, frequency, and precision. All sorts of things are helping me. From the simplicity of the most beautiful children's storybook where it is assumed that "every story whispers his name" to the sophistication of Bible teachers and Langham colleagues who skillfully find these christocentric seams through the Bible far better than I can. I still doubt whether the Old Testament authors intended all that is ascribed to them - but I can now see a Moses or a David or an Isaiah saying in response to them, "Wow, that is more than I thought - but it fits. I can see that what you say could be true". And yes, I am a little embarassed by the length of time it took me to see this.

Now this was all meant to be a precursor to the latest conversion with which I am struggling - but this post is already too long. It can keep for another time.

nice chatting


Paul

5 comments:

Scott said...

Thanks Paul, what a great example of theological humility.

Awaiting your next post!

not a wild hera said...

Looking forward to hearing more both here and in Newpie! See you soon!

:)tkr

ryan said...

awesome :)

Myk Habets said...

Nice one Paul - but why limit the new to Abraham? The new was already a reality, according to Paul, before the foundation of the world, in the heart and love of the Triunity! :-)

Paul said...

Yes, Myk - I could expect no less from you! I should have at least gone back to Genesis 3, but you are drawing me even further back :)