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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

+N.T. Wright and Jesus' Lordship

Bishop Wright does it again. I know how bloggers are when they come to a link or quote that is usually long. They don't read it. But this one is not one of those that you should ignore, especially if you are an Anglican. +Tom knows how to proclaim the message of the Lordship of Jesus and one that all of us need to recognize and hear again and again and to put into action in every area of our lives. Please take the time to read this and I give a hat tip to Canon Harmon at titusonenine for having it up on his site. A portion of it is below. You will not want to miss this sermon. Read it all HERE.


And this brings us back once more to the collusion between certain types of theology and certain modes of operating in the world. Ever since the eighteenth century, western protestantism has been pulled more and more towards a denial, explicit or implicit, of the great central truths of Christian faith – sometimes, indeed, towards watering them down while still saying the words, sometimes actually to open mockery of the idea of the Trinity or the resurrection or the full meaning of the cross. And what has happened, exactly as the eighteenth-century Deists intended it should, is that God is no longer a player on the world scene; Jesus is Lord far away in heaven, or in the secret places of my heart, perhaps, but he can’t tell me how to run my business or which way to vote. And when that happens Caesar smiles his grim smile and pulls in the rope, and the worlds of money and sex and power all dance to his tune, exhibiting that tell-tale imperial pattern, the pagan pattern, the pattern that says there is no resurrection, that Herod is King of the Jews and Caesar is Lord of the world, that Mammon, the money-god, is divine and rules our pockets, that Aphrodite, the goddess of erotic love, is divine and rules our loins, that Mars the god of war is divine and doesn’t mind who wins as long as people keep fighting each other. My brothers and sisters, is it surprising that, if every doctrine from the Trinity to the divinity of Jesus to his saving death and bodily resurrection and ascension has been dismissed as outdated, disproved or irrelevant, the church should then have no means of protesting against massive economic injustice, against the erosion and inversion of sexual morality, against rampant militarism – in other words, against Caesar and all his weapons? Is it not time to be grasped once more by the real authority of scripture, which is not about quoting a verse here and a line there but about being reshaped by the full story, the whole narrative, the entire drama of a book like Acts until the picture becomes clear and we see who Caesar is and how he works, who Jesus is and how he rescues God’s lovely world from corruption and slavery, and who we are called to be as his Spirit-led witnesses to the ends of the earth?

When, and only when, we are fired by that vision, we may be able to see more clearly the truth which is waiting for us in the great drama of the closing chapters of Acts, which bring us, I believe, very close to hearing God’s word to the Anglican Communion in the year of grace 2005.


+Tom ends with this:

And the answer is that we must keep up our courage and see the thing through. Don’t be afraid, said the Lord to Paul in Corinth (18.9); speak and do not be silent, for I am with you. Keep up your courage, said the Lord to Paul after the hearing before the Council (23.11); as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome. Don’t be afraid, said the angel to Paul on the boat (27.24); you must stand before the emperor, and God has granted safety to all who are sailing with you. We must keep our nerve. We must say our prayers. We must hold fast to the risen and ascended Lord, at whose name every knee shall bow, not least Caesar, Mammon, Aphrodite and Mars. We are on our way with the gospel, in the power of the Spirit. Let us strive for that holiness to which we are called, and for that unity in truth which demonstrates to the powers that Jesus is Lord (which is why some in the media are salivating in their eagerness that our little boat should break up; let’s not make their day!). But never, never forget in the days to come: the reason you go through the storm is because you are carrying the gospel of God’s kingdom, to let the powers of the world know that Jesus is their rightful Lord. Let this be Luke’s message, God’s message, to us at this crucial turning point in our history: Hold on; keep up your courage; don’t lose your nerve; ride out the storm, so that you can stand before the powers, announce God’s kingdom, and proclaim Jesus as Lord, with all boldness and unhindered.

–The Rt. Rev. Dr. N. T. Wright is Bishop of Durham; this address was given to the ACC yesterday

4 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

Jeff,

Good words of edification. Hope all is well with you and your family.

Almost your fellow Anglican,
Andy

10:36 pm  
Blogger Andy said...

PS - My pastor at Westminser Presbyterian, Wade Coleman, says to tell you 'hello.'

He remembers you from RTS days, apparantly?

10:37 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Wade is a really good man. Please tell that faithful brother I said hello too. I hope all is going well for him in Texas now. I'm glad to see he is out of the MVP saga! I know God will bless him in his work.

Thanks Andy. Looking forward to having you with us.

js

10:43 pm  
Anonymous Howard said...

Thanks Jeff for link to Wright's message. Phenomenonal insights both in exegeting Acts and in applying it to our context. Thanks for the collects as well.

Grace & Peace-- HD

12:16 am  

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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