Editorial: Thinking Theologically about Vocation and Work -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 22:1 (Spring 2018)
Article: Editorial: Thinking Theologically about Vocation and Work
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Thinking Theologically about Vocation and Work

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received his PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles and the co-author with Peter Gentry of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015); the co-editor of Progressive Covenantalism (B&H, 2016); the author of God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Crossway, 2016) and Christ Alone—The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior (Zondervan, 2017); and the co-author of Christ from Beginning to End: How the Full Story of Scripture Reveals the Full Glory of Christ (Zondervan, 2018).

Christians are rightly interested in the doctrine of salvation and God’s glorious work of grace in Christ Jesus. However, a crucial theological truth to remember is that the Bible’s view of salvation is first grounded in the doctrine of creation. It is not a trivial point to observe that the Bible’s storyline begins in creation and for good reasons. Apart from what is described in the opening chapters of Genesis, the rest of the Bible’s story makes little sense, including God’s plan of redemption. Specifically, creation establishes two foundational truths: first, who God is, and second, who we are as God’s creatures and image-bearers. Let us look at these truths in turn and apply them to the theme of this issue of SBJT, namely a Christian view of vocation and work.

First and most significantly, creation identifies the God of Scripture

as our triune Creator-Covenant God. From Genesis 1:1 on, we learn that God is the uncreated, independent, self-sufficient, all-powerful Lord who created the universe and governs it by his word (Gen 1–2; Ps 50:12–14; 93:2; Acts 17:24–25). This truth gives rise to the governing category central to all Christian theology: the Creator-creature distinction. God alone is God; all else is creation that depends upon God for its existence. As a result, God deserves our worship, love, loyalty, and obedience. But it is also important to add that God’s transcendent lordship does not entail a remote deity since Scripture simultaneously stresses God’s immanence. God is...

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