Friday, December 25, 2009

He Became

"Our beloved Lord Jesus Christ became what we are to bring us to be what he is in himself" (Irenaeus, not an exact quote, but very close). Merry Christmas to all.

15 comments:

timothya3 said...

Excellent, and I hope that leaves plenty of room for a kind of "Protestant mysticism" as well, a marriage of all that is good and contemplative in our traditions?

Anonymous said...

Tim, I think I hear you. Your comment struck something deep in me and I'm trying to identify it. My Protestant history rings with mysticism and I hadn't thought of it till your comment. "The Lord is good all the time, all the time the Lord is good." for example. Of course he is good, but when said to someone grieving a loss it becomes kind of juicy fruity, or may I say mystical.

Does Irenaeus' comment leave room for the Protestant mysticism: I don't think so, but would love to explore this more. Ron

123 123 said...
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timothya3 said...

Hi Ron et al, T FTorrance was very insistent, in his mature work :'Reality and Evangelical theology' for example, of theological realism, by which our words have there real meaning towards that to which they point, and are wholly deficient in themselves. When combined with the assertion, personally made to me, by James Torrance, many years ago, that there is no nominalistic system of identification of the Truth of God with truths about him, then i can come to a more relaxed, realist and gracious position and to what? The perichoretic dance?! The words you choose as to the envelopment, energy,whatever, the science of this dynamic interaction of persons are probably as provisional, inaccurate and revisable , as the ones i would use to describe the relationship. But let's not kid ourselves. All I know is that if our intellectualizing or theologising does not lead to some manifestation of love, then something is wrong. contr.tim parker

Anonymous said...

Got to agree with you Tim. With me it's glimpses of glory. It's just an inch out of eternity closer. To interact with our Lord, as in prayer etc., is a measuring stick for me. Does this, understanding, thought, idea, whatever, bring me closer to Him? Am I closer now than last year, week? Just to dispel a wrong way allows us to interchange more freely with him. Ron

Alice said...

I am SO thankful for your teaching, Baxter...my life is forever changed! Here is the greeting we sent to all our friends and family this year:
May you be awed anew by the wonder of that babe in the manger
That God put on flesh to bring the face of the Father to our frightened eyes
While the eyes of the God-man saw through our distorted vision
He saw the fear, felt the angst, and the alienation
How he completely understands our blinded minds
How he so perfectly portrayed the true face of God
That we might see as he sees and has always known--from forever
that God is pure,passionate,lavish love
Bask in he beauty, the peace, and the serenity of that truth At Christmas and forever

C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. said...

Thank you Alice.

timothya3 said...

I saw CBK in his Grace Communion Int. video , a new offering, I think. There are two bits , on atonement, where CBK really has the ears picking up, the living reality of the lengths to which the incarnation digged down to carry us and save us, was, well, fresh, again.

inthesonlite said...

Dr. Kruger,
I am totally new to your blog and for most of your theology. It is a wonderful concept of "He Became".
Question: why create us to begin with if we were already "with" Him before creation?
Some suggest that the reason for our being created was for Him to have many sons??? What say you?

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Great Googly Moogly! said...

Baxter,

I don't know of another way to write you, so I'm doing so here.

I've been reading and listening to you and others from this "Trinitarian" perspective (of course, this term can mean different things to different people) and I find that I'm very much of the same mind. I'm convinced of what you and others are saying: that we in the West have been reading the Scripture through the wrong set of lenses, inherited from Greek philosophy and the worst of Augustinianism. While I've always considered myself a "Trinitarian" believer, I can see how (subconsciously, to be sure) I have foisted upon "God" a dichotomy that suggests that God (the Father?) needed to be appeased before He would turn His affection towards us. And this "appeasement" was accomplished by the Son as He bore the wrath of God that was directed at us.

To be honest, we don't conspicuously teach this at our church. We teach the relational purpose of God in Christ to reconcile the world to himself. Our language is very similar to yours and others that I've been reading/listening to. But while our focus is very much the same as yours, our fundamental understanding of atonement still views Penal Substitution as the major work of Christ on our behalf--He "took our place" on the cross to suffer the wrath of God against us because, as Paul says, we were enemies of God, etc.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I can see the fruit of this "Western" tradition in my own understanding and also in our church, though not obvious and blantant because, like I said, we focus on the purpose of God in "relationship" not "religion". And although we teach that this relational purpose is accomplished in Christ by His reconciling the world to himself, we, as a church body, don't view the atonment as being universally applicable (limited atonement)--though personally, I have begun to change my mind on that.

Having said that, I'm trying to find theological works on the Old Testament from this "Trinitarian" perspective. Coming from the "Reformed" tradition, I have many, many theological books, systematic theologies and commentaries that are written from the "Augustinian" and later "Calvinistic" perspective that reinforce this "Western" understanding. Even the books I have that try to get us out of "religious thinking" and into "relational thinking" concerning who God is and what His purpose is in the Person and Work of Christ (which is the focus of our ministry) tend to treat the revelation of God in the Old Testament from the Augustinian/Edwards perspective.

I have a couple of your books, some T.F. Torrance and the "Worship and Community" book by J.B. Torrance, but I'm now looking for a more theological treatment of the Old Testament that helps us to see God in the Old Testament as the same "God" that Jesus reveals in Himself in the NT. Can you direct me to any systematic theologies, O.T. theological and/or doctrinal works or commentaries that will help me see God in the Old Testament in the correct light? Or is this "Trinitarian" perspective so new today (though old...I realize) that no one has yet published books of this nature?

Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Jason

Anonymous said...

Jason,
I'm currently reading a book entitled, "Atonement" by T.F. Torrance that makes the linkage between Jesus and the Old Testement.
-Greg

bill winn said...

Hey Jason, If I were you, and I know you asked this of Baxter not us, but these are books Baxter recommended to me. Athanasius' On the Incarnation of the Word of God, The Nature of the Atonement by John McLeod Campbell, The Mediation of Christ, The Great Divorce, and I suggest every stitch that Dr. Kruger himself has woven together in printed word and then all his lectures you can get your hands on.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Greg and Bill,

Thanks for the input.

I had checked out the "Atonement" book recently and read the intro and thought I would enjoy it, but then I was also reading stuff that spoke of how difficult it was to read Torranc, so I returned it. I have since checked out "How To Read T.F. Torrance" by Colyer. I guess I'll just buy Torrance's Atonement book (along with his book Incarnation) and read through it slowly.

Bill,

I actually started reading McLeod-Campbell's book but found myself struggling a lot just to make sure I was reading him correctly. I would much rather read some more modern material. I plan on getting the Athanasius book and Torrance's "Mediation of Christ" book as well.

I've also read a couple of Baxter's book (now my wife is reading them) and plan on getting the rest of them; but he doesn't interact with the Old Testament very much (that I've read or heard, anyway). So what I'm really looking for now is a modern "Dogmatics" or Biblical Theology (or Old Testamen Studies) from the perspective of the Theology of Inclusion (to borrow a phrase I saw from another blog).

I find myself struggling as I go through this paradigm shift in my thinking. Along with the two Baxter books that I've already read (which I've enjoyed very much, by the way), I've also listened to (and enjoyed) everything that he has available--the free stuff, that is. :-)

While at first I was skeptical, I gradually found myself saying, "Yes...that seems right" while also saying, "Wait a minute, what about this...or what about that...?" There are many, many instances and passages in Scripture that I need to begin to rethink, but I need help. If Baxter is correct about the influence of "Westernized Christianity" that has caused us to misunderstand God and what the Scripture says about Him (and I think I do agree with him), then I need to read some theological/exegetical treatments from the Theology of Inclusion perspective to help me re-think the Scripture.

This way of understanding is very exciting to me and I want to read/listen to as much as I can; but I need some theological/doctrinal works that interact with the Scripture (especially the Old Testament) to help me change how I understand it.

For now I guess I'll take what I can get. :-)

Thanks guys.

Jason

Tornado said...

Jason,

I'm pumped by your open mind! I think I can identify with your trying to do the "Berean thing," and readying to [hopefully] theologically soar (though I lack the training, office, and even the ability to read well).
RE the O.T. connection, I'm finding a few sources helpful:

T.F. Torrance: "The Christian Doctrine of God." T&T Clark, Edinborough(1996)
--freights a Metric Ton of scripture references per page!

Dr. Kuger's thick, freebie paper:
"On the Road to Becoming Flesh: Israel as the Womb of the Incarnation in the Theology of T.F. Torrance" LINK: http://www.perichoresis.org/x2/file/f2217062e9a397a1dca429e7d70bc6ca.pdf
--found at his www.perichoresis.org

Clark Carlton: "The FAITH: Understanding Orthodox Christianity." Regina Orthodox Press. --Basically a lay catechism. Has a short chapter on "The Trinity in the Old Testament." It's all about "the Big 'O'" E.Orthodoxy for Carlson, but I think he loves Jesus, and he honors the theologies of hefty Fathers, like Irenaeus & Athanasius.

A goodly number seem to have had a hermeneutical breakthrough reading TF Torrance's "The Mediation of Christ" (especially 2nd Ed. Helmers & Howard. 1992. ~120pp)-- not loaded with scipture ref.s, but weighty on God's purpose for Israel. Hypothetically "the accessible" TFT.

"Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture." Thomas Oden, Ed. IVP. LINK: http://www.ivpress.com/accs/ Looks like all the volumes might now be complete! I'm grieved the Church has only now made this available; J. I. Packer comments:
"The conspectus of patristic exposition that this series offers has been badly needed for several centuries..."

RE Atonement "theories" -- I think you'll find Michael Green's "I Believe in the Empty Cross of Jesus" (IVP--out of print) to be largely amenable to Trin. theology.

Random thoughts: It's a dirthy time; we're at the tail of centuries ignoring topics like adoption and the priestly ongoing humanity of Jesus.
It seems every mini marketing nitch has its Bible (e.g.: "The Amputee Cage-Fighter's Bible," "The Recovering 'No Wasted Blood' 5-Pointer's Bible"). Maybe You cd start the project for "The Trinitarian/Incarnational Bible!"
Re SUBSTITUTION --I think you'll find it in Athanasius, JBT & TFT --sans MPDD? (multiple personality deity disorder).

Cupla Atonement-evaluation filters wh seem to be helping me: Who's mind--ours, or God's, is being changed here? Are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in deepest communion? As we are being saved, is our Savior making Himself known to individuals heart-to-heart (as opposed to providing a supposedly salvific 'mechanism')? Is the A. theory synergistically, organically whole with God's pre-destinating adoption, the creation, the historic unfolding of Israel's blessing to the nations--including the prophetic, priestly, & kingly work in Israel, the Incarnation (fully-identifying-with-our nature in life, death, REZ, ascension & and ongoing prayer)--rather than a stand-alone death? Is bringing us The LIFE of the Triune God central to the offering--(as well as forgiveness?)
-T