Showing posts from November, 2018

Following the Lamb Wherever He Goes (ch.2)

Ch.2 Jumping into Revelation
“Few writings in all of literature have been so obsessively read with such generally disastrous results as the Book of Revelation (= the Apocalypse). Its history of interpretation is largely a story of tragic misinterpretation, resulting from a fundamental misapprehension of the work’s literary form and purpose. Insofar as its arcane symbols have fed the treasury of prayer and poetry, its influence has been benign. More often, these same symbols have nurtured delusionary systems, both private and public, to the destruction of their fashioners and to the discredit of the writing.” Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament, 507)
We’re jumping into the deep end of the pool with Revelation. I get that. But the reason it is deep is not its profundity. That it shares in equal measure with the rest of the New Testament. It is its form, our cultural distance from that form, and the assumptions about prophecy and “end times” we modern readers bring to i…

01. Jumping into Revelation

Jumping Off into Revelation
Before jumping into something we must jump off something. Same with Revelation. Before we jump into it we must jump from where we currently are. And where we are is discerned by where in the profile of the seven messages of Christ to his church(es) in Rev.2-3 we find ourselves. Let me spell that out in more detail.
-Christ delivers prophetic messages to seven actual churches in Asia Minor in the late 1st century a.d.
-In John’s world numbers are symbolic and often used as adjectives (see FAQ).
-Seven in this symbolic world means “completeness” or “fullness.”
-Thus, Christ addresses both the seven actual congregations in Asia Minor and through these messages the whole church (including us).
-these messages provide a differentiated portrait of these churches (the church).
-Where we discern our church(es) fit in this profile (which of the churches we most fully identify with) helps us identify both where we jump off from and where we jump into Revelation.
Robert Wall…

Advent is Not Christmas: And It’s A Good Thing Too!

“What other time or season can or will the Church ever have but that of Advent!”[i]Karl Barth (Church Dogmatics IV/3.1 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1961), 322)
The Challenge
If Barth is right we are in a heap of trouble in North America. Advent here has been overrun by Christmas, our cultural version of Christmas, giving it no time or attention in our hurry to get to Christmas. Where Advent and the church year have gained a foothold over the last several decades in some traditions Advent has been treated as a prelude or preface to Christmas. Its authentic voice and role in the life and worship of these churcheshas been denatured and diluted by Christmas.
Captain Obvious gives us the obvious answer: restore Advent to it proper role and function in the church.

As with all obvious answers, however, the how to do it is never clear or easy. Or even if clear, not easy.
It requires no argument to prove that Christmas begins for us at Halloween and dominates the landscape till New Year. Nor will…