3. The precious good news: Christ and salvation
1. Jesus is Yahweh
2. False faith in the Son
3. Christ's saving work
4. The necessity of verbal revelation
4. The Gospel as subversive fulfilment of other religions
The gospel is both the antithesis of false religion and, in a sense, the fulfilment of it. We need to show both.
5. Let the nations be glad: the church, mission and eschatology
Focusing on Tim Keller, we were given an example of an approach that emphasises not only Christianity's uniqueness but also the connections.
Coming to a close we looked at contextualisation and the point of contact and the lack of it when we seek to bring the gospel home. There is no non-contextualised Christianity.
"No truth which human beings may articulate can ever be articulated in a culture -transcending way – but that does not mean that the truth thus articulated does not transcend culture" (Don Carson).
It was good to be introduced to Bavinck's idea of possessio.
"We would ... prefer to use the termpossessio, to take possession [as opposed to the common terms "adaptation" and "accommodation"] .... Within the framework of the of the non-Christian life, customs and practices serve idolatrous tendencies and drive a person away from God. The Christian life takes them in hand and turns them in an entirely different direction; they acquire an entirely different content. Even though in external form there is much that resembles past practices, in reality everything has become new, the old has in essence passed away and the new has come. ... [Christ] fills each thing, each word, and each practice with a new meaning and gives it new direction. Such is neither "adaption" nor accommodation; it is in essence the legitimate taking possession of something by him to whom all power is given in heaven and on earth (Bavinck ISOM 178-179).
So this has been an interesting and stimulating couple of lectures promoting a balanced Reformed approach to false religion. The book will be worth reading (at least Dan's part) when it appears.
Useful discussion followed among the 20 or so present.
Authors quoted through the morning included Hendrik Kraemer, Jacques Dupuis, John Frame, Christopher Wright, Richard Bauckham, J H Bavinck, Mike Ovey, R Letham, C Van Til, John Murray, J Witte, John Stott, C Platinga and Tim Keller.