Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cosmic Dimensions of the Gospel, Wright p. 273

We have tended to separate the individual from the cosmic and corporate dimensions of the gospel, and then we tend to prioritize the first. That is, we put individual salvation and personal evangelism at the centre of all our efforts (and, of course, personal evangelism is an essential part of our commitment). But Paul's order of the gospel message in Ephesians and Colossians 1:15-26 is creation (all things in heaven and earth), created by Christ, sustain by Christ and redeemed by Christ); then, church (with Christ as head); then individual Gentile believers- "and you also".

All of this, says Paul, has been "reconciled through the blood of Christ shed on the cross". So we are not saved out of creation, but as a part of creation that God has redeemed through Christ. The church is not just a container for souls until they get to heaven, but the living demonstration of the unity that is God's intention for the whole creation.

The bad result of breaking up this "whole" is that Christians who are evangelized by truncated versions of the biblical gospel have little interest in the world, the public square, God's plan for society and the nations, and even less understanding of God's intention for creation itself. The scale of our mission efforts, therefore, is in danger of being a lot smaller than the scope of the mission of God.

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