Monday, July 26, 2010

A high Christology

Another blogger, John Vest, who blogs at John Vest: posts from the blog of an (un) tamed cynic, posted some good news about the Presbyterian Youth Triennium. Oh he didn’t mean it as good news, but it was.

Vest, who is a pastor, commented about how the Triennium had affected his Chicago youth. He wrote, “In general, the constant emphasis on Jesus in worship, music, and small groups was more than they are used to.”

CHURCHandWORLD is linked to Vest's blog.

Vest also stated,

“I was most troubled by the music during daily worship. The rock band was excellent. And overall, worship was very creative and was quite inclusive and in some (sometimes subtle) ways progressive. But the music and the music leaders used pretty much exclusively male language to talk about God. Most of the songs were more christocentric than theocentric, and usually really christocentric. There was a whole lot of what I began thinking of as “Jesus, bloody Jesus”: a high christology that was almost exclusively informed by a theology of bloody, sacrificial atonement.”

For those of us who love Jesus Christ that is very good news. As Paul states in 2 Cor. 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose again on their behalf.” Out of his bloody death we have life and a calling to live for others.

Since it is God the Father who spoke from the mountain telling Jesus’ disciples to listen to his Son, our focus on Jesus Christ, as long as it is focused on Christ, and not ourselves, is obedience to the Father. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, also leads us to Jesus.

“He [the Holy Spirit] will glorify me for he will take of mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:14) The Christian does not neglect the Trinity when speaking of Jesus Christ.

The end of the eighth chapter of Romans sets Jesus up as a mighty haven enclosing the Christian, in the midst of every evil, in a love that will not fail. It is the love of the Father but given in the Son. Humanity does not experience such love without the “bloody sacrificial atonement.”


will spotts said...

"All of this stirred within me thoughts I have been having for a while about what I think is an idolatrous attitude toward the worship of Jesus in most circles of the church today."

This was not quoted in your posting, but I did a double take when reading it.

Will Spotts
North East, MD

Viola Larson said...

I just changed the song on you while you were writing. I wasn't happy with what I put up.

I feel like Satan has his claws out at the moment. But what an opportunity to speak of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Vest's post is Protestant either/or thinking at its worst. You can EITHER worship Jesus as divine Lord and God who died for your sins, OR you can follow him as an itinerant Jewish rabbi who called us to radical living in the world. That Scripture calls us to both (well, actually calls us to radical living in the world BECAUSE He is Lord and God) is obvious to anyone who reads it and taks it seriously. But Vest doesn't WANT to worship Jesus as Lord and God. What he conveys to me is that Jesus is a cool guy who had some great ideas that we should live by, but he himself wasn't important enough that we should pay him much attention. If I thought that was true I'd go to work for the United Way or something. Why waste time with this Christianity stuff?

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Viola Larson said...

I saw Vest's blog earlier when I was searching for material on the worship procession at GA.

But I wasn't sure at the time about his theology. You are right, Jesus is both a radical and human and our Lord & God.

I am just so pleased to hear that the thiennium was that good.
My pastor's son was one of the preachers so I should have known: )

Anonymous said...

One note in Vest's blog struck a particular chord with me. He's a youth worker in Chicago; I was a candidate under care of Chicago Presbytery. Vest wrote about how unfamiliar the evangelical exaltation of Jesus Christ was to him and his children. I know there were many strong, evangelical youth groups within the bounds of Chicago Presbytery back in the 80s, but the Presbytery staff did a great job of keeping them isolated from the main life of the presbytery. Probably encouraged by the Hyde Park seminary crew (McCormick and partner schools), these evangelical youth groups were heavily stigmatized as being not really with the program. His blog is a strong witness of just how effective that presbytery was at enforcing the new identity.

PD Johnston