Saturday, August 27

Generous Orthodoxy Quote

Franke ends his introduction with a quote from Hans Frei on his term "Generous Orthodoxy"--a term I instantly liked.

Here's what Frei said: "Generosity without orthodoxy is nothing, but orthodoxy without generosity is worse than nothing."

That seems true. Being "orthodox" about such an extravagantly generous God (doesn't grace mean generosity?) is a vicious lie if it is not accompanied with generosity. "Truth and grace came through Christ Jesus." Stripping the grace from the truth seems to strip the "Good News" from the Gospel.

Inclusivity quote

I just saw this paraphrase of Lesslie Newbigin in Brian McLaren's book, A Generous Orthodoxy.

"[Newbigin] articulated his own position concerning Christ and salvation along the following lines: 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; pluralist in the sense of acknowledging the gracious work of God in the lives of all human beings, but not in the sense of deniying the unique and decisive nature of what God has done in Jesus Christ."

(This paraphrase is by John R. Franke, in the intro of McLaren's book, and he cites Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Eerdmans, 1989, 182-3. I think that's a book worth my looking into.)

Friday, August 26

Inclusivity of the Good News

I'm accustomed to the term "exclusivity of the Gospel" to designate the truth that Jesus is the doorway into the Kingdom of God. But a recent manuscript study in the book of Ephesians has made me rethink this phrase.

"With all wisdom and insight [God] has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." (Eph. 1:8-10, New Revised Std. Version). Paul emphasizes the phrase "in Christ" by repeating it liberally throughout the book of Ephesians.

The book presses, for me, not so much the exclusivity but the inclusivity of the Gospel. God intends to unite all things in Christ.

Now, I still believe God values free will so thoroughly that he allows a place for those who refuse to be included in Christ . . . perhaps that is what Paul means by "under his feet" in 1:22. Then again, he says "and has made him head over all things." In the ancient greco-Roman worldview, the head is the source of nourishment, life, light, and even protection. Hmm. I shall seek further understanding of this.