Saturday, March 12, 2016

Careful and Slow

I'm at mom and dad's in south Minneapolis right now (mid afternoon on Saturday). They're not here, I assume they went out to lunch and maybe to the store. They could arrive though any moment but since they're not here right now I'll take a chance and write a bit on this neglected but not forgotten blog.

It's a really warm day, near a record high again. Climate change and a multitude of other factors are providing beautiful warm days; I never put my bike away this winter, and now both Toni and I have been out riding... though it was just me this time. I biked down here from our Roseville home.

Toni is out in Cokato helping Libby and Steve Bayuk who had a house fire this week. From what Steve told me the fire was confined to the basement, but they're needing to move at least temporarily. When I talked with Toni earlier she was helping clean the place they'll be moving into. Thank God they're okay and that they'll have a place to live not far from their home until they get the renovations etc. done. (I guess their daughter had many of her things stored in the basement... so sad!)

I've been wanting to continue the writing that I started here back in January on "Trinitarian Theology." In between all the other stuff I've been doing I keep coming back to this subject, something that I think is really important. Back in early February I met with Per Nilsen, Doug Johannsen and my son Dan to open up the subject in a face to face conversation, and I've been doing some study on my own. Tomorrow, for the second time, I'm planning on going to a worship gathering of folks affiliated with "Grace Communion International." I'll meet the regional pastor of that group and hopefully continue to learn more.

One thing I think is really important is to keep checking with other Christian leaders as I study. Earlier this week I emailed the pastor of the Roseville church we've been attending to ask him what he would "recommend that I study in regard to the atonement?" I told him that "I've been reading some things that are quite critical of the 'penal substitution theory' and I'd like to check out what you might recommend on the subject."

Pastor Jason replied quickly and I've done a little exploring already, looking mostly for a name that he mentioned: "D. A. Carson." As I did, I found that "D. A. Carson" has almost 400 teaching pieces (articles, audio recordings, videos etc.) on the website, a site sponsored by the "Christian Publication Resource Foundation," an organization dedicated to supporting "the historic, Reformed Christian faith, combat doctrinal error, and stir the flame of devotion which a right knowledge of the Savior must produce."

With that strong statement about "right knowledge" and "error" I thought perhaps I'd find some reference there to the perspective on the atonement that Trinitarian Theology espouses, but so far I haven't found anything on that, though I can tell that that "Monergism" website is fully dedicated to the "penal substitution theory." It could be that Trinitarian Theology isn't a subject of conversation in the world of "Reformed" theology," but perhaps I just don't know the right key words to search.

In January I referred to what I'm learning as a "Careful Turn" in my theological understanding, using a bus driving analogy. One could also consider this a "renovation," checking which pieces of Christian teaching need reinforcement and, and which may need to be replaced. The thing is that we can't just move into another spiritual house during the work. So it's a very slow process.

Another reason it's so slow is that I recognize that many of my more conservative Lutheran friends will be concerned about what I'm studying. Frankly the Trinitarian Theological teaching on the atonement might seem to be ELCA friendly. We'll see. And I will continue to study and compare what I'm learning to Biblical truth.

Doug Johannsen, the local Grace Communion International (GCI) pastor I've been talking with says I'll get to meet the regional GCI pastor tomorrow. Doug says that he (Rick Shallenberger) "has written a lot of articles for our (GCI) publications over the years (he’s about your age) and may just have the answer for you" in regard to how to find critiques of GCI's position.

It's time for me to head out, Mom and Dad did come back to their apartment and we visited a bit. It'll take more than an hour to get home, even if I take the bus.

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