Editorial -- By: Robert W. Yarbrough
TrinJ 21:2 (Fall 2000) p. 129
The central symbol of the Christian faith is the cross, and for good reason. Without the shedding of blood there would have been no remission of sin. This is a core truth of redemption. Yet parallel to the biblical doctrine of redemption is the doctrine of creation. Whereas some religions are world-negating, the Christian faith is world-affirming. God made the world, loves the world, and is at work redeeming the world. Christian faith is in that sense Creation faith. This is the note that Stacy R. Obenhaus sounds in this issue’s first piece as he points to the central place that creation enjoys in various OT psalms. His study affirms the OT basis for that ancient yet still valid confession heard in churches around the world each Lord’s day, “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth… .”
God’s glorious creation, however, has been entrusted to humankind in many respects. We are stewards of a rich array of resources. As God has shared with us his people, we are called to share with others, and especially those of the household of the faith. Joseph H. Hellerman explores facets of this mandate in his fresh examination of the encounter between Jesus, who financially had nothing, and the rich young ruler, who owned a great deal. In the course of the essay we are brought face to face with our society’s innate selfishness and the alternate community pattern that, Hellerman argues, prevailed among Jesus’ early followers. Using social-science insights in discriminating ways, Hellerman gives an old story new bite.
If Hellerman calls us to be wary of a this-worldliness that would tempt us to materialism, Gary L. Nebeker points to the opposite danger of escapism. By examining the eschatology of Philippians he reaffirms that the doctrine of last things, to be faithful to the
TrinJ 21:2 (Fall 2000) p. 130
apostolic witness, ought to be Christ- and not chronology-centered. Christian faith has an apocalyptic dimension but for Paul was never apocalypticism. Nebeker calls for all who hold biblical eschatology dear not to settle for an “eschatological agnosticism,” as if nothing about the future can be known for sure based on the biblical witness. At the same time, he insists on emphasizing what the biblical writers themselves emphasized. Here is hermeneutical wisdom needing continual rediscovery.
If the first three articles of this issue clarify the content and implications of the biblical message, the fourth one, by M. Daniel Carroll R., explores the spread of that message in a strategic sector of the globe: Latin America. Evangelical-Catholic dialogue has become front-page news from time to time in North ...
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