Monday, August 14, 2006

"The Gospel . . ."

“The gospel, understood as the totality of God’s saving purposes and work culminating in Christ, is far greater and more comprehensive in its meaning than the Church has ever discovered.”
(Darrell Guder, “Be My Witnesses”, GR: Eerdman’s, 1985, p. 63)

“Human limitations – physical, emotional, and moral – impose limits on the hospitality we can offer and receive from others. Precisely because our rationales for inhospitality are based on human weaknesses, however, we must resist claiming divine authority for them. While we must continue saying “no” to hospitality to some people, we must be very wary of claiming God’s blessing on it. Human inhospitality does not necessarily coincide with divine inhospitality. Our temporal (earthly, here and now) exclusion of some does not imply their eschatological (end of time, eternal) exclusion from the heavenly banquet. God’s hospitality reaches out to those whom our hospitality cannot or even should not extend. This means that our exclusion of others is always provisional, always ready to be overturned by the surprising graciousness of God.”
(Amy Plantinga Plauw, “Renewing the Vision”, edited by Cynthia M. Campbell, ______: Geneva , 2000, p. 21)

“The world has sinned but is not abandoned. People who don’t know God through Jesus Christ are lost but are not forsaken. God is at work, even when there is no Christian church. God is present even before Christians appear on the scene.”
(Raymond Fung, “The Isaiah Vision” WCC, 1992, p. 26)

Of Christ and Salvation Lesslie Newbigin, missionary theologian describes his own position as:
“Exclusive” in the sense of affirming the unique truth of the revelation in Jesus Christ, but not in the sense of denying the possibility of salvation to those outside the Christian faith
“Inclusive” in the sense of refusing to limit the saving grace of God to Christians, but not in the sense of viewing other religions as salvific (providing salvation)
“Pluralistic” in the sense of acknowledging the gracious wok of God in the lives of all human beings, but not in the sense of denying the unique and decisive nature of what God has done in Jesus.”
(Leslie Newbigin, “The Gospel in a Pluaralistic Society” GR: Eerdman’s, 1989, 182-3)


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