Christ is all: Christian ministers must preach and live Christ (“Christ is the mainspring both of doctrinal and practical Christianity” (J. C. Ryle, Holiness, 309). Christ is all: Christian ministers must give hope and truth to the church by washing her in the Word. The timeless foundation for making Christ all is clinging to the voice of Christ echoing in the Scriptures; in order for the church to make Christ all, she must listen to the voice of her Beloved. Therefore, a Christian minister must never exchange the voice of his own clever ideas for the voice of Christ in the Scriptures!
Salvation is by grace. Salvation is ουκ εξ εργων, not of works. A Christian Minister’s job is to preach salvation by grace by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christian preaching is not of works. For a minister, preaching and theology must walk hand in hand; the content of the message (grace) should characterize the mode (preaching done by grace and not of works). Otherwise, a minister will never make Christ “all.”
“I might show how Christ ought to be all in a ministry. The great work which ordained men are intended to do, is to lift up Christ. We are to be like the pole on which the brazen serpent was hung. We are useful so long as we exalt the great object of faith, but useful no further. We are to be ambassadors to carry tidings to a rebellious world about the King’s Son, and if we teach men to think more about us and our office than about Him, we are not fit for our place. The Spirit will never honour that minister who does not testify of Christ—who does not make Christ “all.”
“I might show how language seems exhausted in the Bible, in describing Christ’s various offices. I might describe how figures seem endless which are employed in unfolding Christ’s fullness. The High Priest, the Mediator, the Redeemer, the Saviour, the Advocate, the Shepherd, the Physician, the Bridegroom, the head, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Way, the Door, the Vine, the Rock, the Fountain, the Sun of Righteousness, the Forerunner, the Surety, the Captain, the Prince of Life, the Amen, the Almighty, the Author and Finisher of Faith, the Lamb Of God, the King of Saints, the Wonderful, The Mighty God, The Counselor, the Bishop of Souls—all, these, and many more, are names given to Christ in Scripture. Each is a fountain of instruction and comfort for everyone who is willing to drink of it. Each supplies matter for useful meditation” (J. C. Ryle, Holiness (James Clarke & Co., LTD., 1977), 321).
Wrapped up four position papers for ministerial training. And now I am ready for a week of Christmas respite. Hopefully I will read a good novel; hoping that novel will be Melville’s Moby Dick. So.
The first paper is on evangelization; I argue that evangelization is comprised of two tenets, missions and evangelism, and that these are distinct from one another because of differences in evangelistic intent and whether the evangelist shares/does not share native cultural spaces with the audience.
The second paper is on the doctrine of man; I believe it is important to have biblical doctrine of man nailed down in our minds (meaning, don’t have a clumsy anthropology). Why? Because the divine perfections are best displayed in man (leaned heavily upon John Calvin’s Institutes ).
The third paper is on the importance of and necessity for cultivating the Christian virtue of hope. Why? Because it is hope that engenders and sustains faith.
Lastly, I summarized and argued for the importance of the Reformed/Federal Theology distinction of the covenant of works/covenant of grace. I believe that our understanding of God’s covenant with man is of the utmost importance, since our view of the covenant of redemption/covenant of grace will determine our understanding of the Atonement and human salvation.
My wife and I watched Lars and the Real Girl this week. The movie is about human emotions, relationships; the take away message for the movie is (sacrificial) love. There were a couple lines of dialogue that were stellar, the best being:
Lars Lindstrom (main character): I was hoping winter was over.
Margo (Lars’ coworker): No, it’s just a thaw – winter isn’t over till Easter.