Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ladies and Gentleman...we have a winner!

Join us in congratulating Jeff Patterson who has been selected as the winner of Steven Lawson's The Expository Genius of John Calvin. Jeff and his wife Kari are seminary students at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland and have 17 month old son, Dutch. We asked Jeff to speak of how he came across Christians in Context and to share some thoughts on our blog. Feel free to visit his own blog deTheos if you get the chance.

In his own words...

Last week, after arriving home from a discouraging day attempting to tutor disinterested public high school students, I received an email from Damian saying I had won a book from Christians in Context. I won something? Me? I haven't won anything since ... a GameBoy in middle school. Wow, that was almost two decades ago. Where is that gadget anyway?...

Back to the story ... there I was in the middle of my context, thinking about how I'd won a book that links me, a Christian, to the text of God's Word. Thank you guys for the great gift, and reminding me again of the value of good theology to fuel daily life. (And at that moment it suddenly dawned on me that while tutoring that day, in response to one of the girl's questions she has provided an open door for explaining the Gospel of God's grace in Christ. Christ was there in that context.)

About a month ago I stumbled across Christians in Context via a link from the Parchment and Pen blog and theological word of the day. The first post had me hooked, and I've had Norman and Damian fired up in my RSS feed reader ever since. A recent post by Damian on John Owen and mortification of sin not only resonated with me personally (read: convicted me), but also helped me to see the great need to be reading good theology and applying it to my life.

The whole idea of being a Christian in one's context seems to be gaining traction these days. It is almost funny to think of how "contextualization" is a buzz word in the church today, while the Bible simply calls it "obedience" (Matt. 28:18-20). Some Christians may not like the former word (and I think that is probably just as well, as it's a bit technical even for leaders), but I think we can all relate to the latter.

Obedience, like love, and motivated by it, involves values and evaluation. We each live in a unique context, a culture that demands our time and resources and often allegiance. And rather than think we can (or even should) escape our culture, we are called to evaluate all things, bringing every thought captive to the mind of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5) and live as sojourners in the tension between two worlds (Phil. 3:17-21). Loving God and loving people as Christ brings His redemption is our happy tension. While we dare not change the unchanging Gospel of Christ, we can seek to change ourselves (1 Cor. 9:22-23), and doing so involves agonizing strain and labor and discipline (vv. 24-27). As the Church, being Christians in Context is not easy, but in a two-second-vapor-of-a-life (James 4:14) we live in that happy tension.

Thanks again guys for reminding us why and how to live in this happy tension -- as sojourners in our context, reflecting Christ.

Because of Jesus who is The Image of God,

Jeff Patterson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good word.

Friend and past roommate of Jeff's