Friday, January 8, 2010

All-Along Belonging

Fantastic article by Jeff McSwain on The Other Journal. Jeff is the executive director of Reality Ministries, in which my church, Emmaus Way, finds its physical home.

Like [Young Life founder Jim] Rayburn and the Apostle Paul, [theologian Karl] Barth’s proclamation of the gospel began at the starting point of theological belonging for all. His heavy emphasis on the objective truth of our salvation was often misunderstood as universalism, yet anyone aware of Barth’s emphasis on freedom would recognize his intolerance for replacing one determinist scheme (five-point Calvinism) with another (universalism).

Barth draws clear distinctions between objective truth and our subjective viewpoints of that objective truth. For instance, we cannot undo the objective truth of what Christ has done, but we might deny the reality of it all the way to hell (cf. 2 Pet. 2:1). In the words of Barth, “To the man who persistently tries to change the truth into untruth, God does not owe eternal patience and therefore deliverance.”

Although we do not create objective truth by our subjective decisions, we may freely participate in objective truth. This happens by the Holy Spirit, appropriately named the Spirit of Truth. With Spirit-filled anticipation, Paul, Rayburn, and Barth all urged their hearers to repent and believe the good news.

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