Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Church Planter's Logic: Faith-filled Gospel-Optimism

Paul Huxley want's to be a history maker. And so did my generation at University - at least we sang of it a lot (partly my fault for picking it often when leading worship). With some caveats and care surely we have to be those who believe in the possiblity of progress and change, people who have an inherent optimism that is in our hearts because of the gospel promises of God...  the cross cries out for optimism and the certainty of change. It beckons me to live near the railway. I hope that at twenty-nine the 'student' passion birthed a decade ago to live significantly hasn't waned but rather increased as I've walked longer with The History Maker. The gospel feeds and fuels it.

My wife and I were continuing to read Genesis yesterday. Having just seen God's word and God's covenant promise in blood the hopes are high. There will be delay but there will be delivery on God's promises to Abram and his Offspring (Christ!).

And then comes Genesis 16 which is a mess of human effort to bring about the senario God has promised. Yet Isaiah will cry that the barren woman will have more children... and Galatians 4 resounds the same notes. I'm still not all that sure what a Christian is to take from Genesis 16 (... the folly of man trying to "get back into the garden" himself... the grace of God even in man's dark hours - as previously seen with Cain etc... thoughts welcome!) but Genesis 15 stands high and ask us to believe that Abram is wise to look to the better city as he stands childless among the dust and the stars. And now we stand "in" Abraham's Offspring how great our optimism should be.

Cranmer watches Bishops unite to condemned our leaders.... and asks where have they been for the last decade... while a commenter adds "The decline of our nation began a century ago when the Bishops applied a liberal interpretation to the truth of scripture." - our nation, our city: a mess. Financially. Environmentally. And still we think we might save ourselves. The gospel doesn't call for the rise of optimists and pelagians, but rather for any who will believe that the Lord saves, and He alone.


  1. I think Genesis 16 is a little bit like Abraham's genesis 3 (listens to his wife not God, is relatively silent and passive throughout, language used of Eve taking and giving her servant to him). He tries an illegitimate (self-determined rather than dependent on God) route to something good that God had promised him, rather like Adam back in the garden.

    This probably means it's telling is something like this - the new man/ humanity started with Abraham (i.e. Israel) is actually still the same old Adamic humanity. The mere possession of the promises of gen 12 isn't enough, there needs to be an actual work of new creation. Which is probably linked to the covenant of circumcision in the next chapter - given what circumcision pictures. Dunno, what do you think?

    We're preaching through the Abraham story-arc at our 4pm service in the new year, so maybe I'll find out then.

  2. Thanks Pete, I think I'd agree... Jim Jordan parallels forbidden fruit and the forbidden woman, but in either case there is a desire to build themselves up rather than letting God do it.

    Onto chapter 17 next, but can't imagine the order is without meaning - I mean 16 sits between the words and the blood of 15 and everything in 17... feels horribly out of place, but then sin is.