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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Robert Jenson on “The Triune God’s Act to Institute the Church.”

In his two volume texts titled Systematic Theology Jenson begins the section on ecclesiology (in volume two) with a chapter devoted to how the Triune God established or instituted the church. Jenson rightly asks the question what is the overarching reason for the church? In other words why does it exist? Most might automatically assume that Jenson will answer the question with “to usher in the Kingdom of God.” In one sense this is correct, but Jenson answers the question in a way that, was for me anyway, quite surprising.

Jenson declares that “God institutes the church by not letting Jesus’ Resurrection be itself the End, by appointing ‘the delay of the Parousia.’” As we know, Jesus did in fact tell His listeners “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Moreover, Jesus did in fact announce The Kingdom of God, but, as Jenson details, what came was not the Kingdom but the church. Therefore, the question Jenson focuses on is ‘why?

The anticipation of the Kingdom of God was one that had survived in the Jewish mind for many centuries prior to Jesus’ birth. A much anticipated Kingdom with a much anticipated Messiah was the actual mindset of first century Judaism. Moreover, after Jesus’ death and resurrection the disciples asked Jesus if it was now the time that Jesus would usher in His kingdom (see Acts 1:6). Instead of answering the question, Jesus does something quite surprising. He promises the disciples the gift of the Spirit; but, why? The answer Jenson gives is so that the disciples might have the power to be effective missionaries to Jews and Gentiles. But what does this have to do with the church? Jenson’s answer to that question will be the focus of my next post.

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