In their second discussion John and Tony explore the theme of ‘order’ in more depth. They agree that ‘order’ is a bigger paradigm than the ‘sin/salvation’ paradigm – and that it cannot be separated from the presence of God. Anyone who tastes or yearns for ‘order’ is in fact tasting and yearning for God himself. John then develops order into three manifestations; rest, peace and coherence. In John’s own words, “these all come about through God’s presence in the world (not really having much to do with salvation). The gospel that we are to preach certainly involved Jesus died for us and our sins, but more importantly the gospel involves God’s presence in the world, the possibility of being in relationship and the rest, peace and coherence he can bring.” This is a very stimulating discussion that offers a fresh perspective for how we might be ‘disciples’ of Christ in the world today.
Tony interviews John Walton about his theory that ‘order’ not ‘sin’ is the dominant theme of the early chapters of Genesis – and that we have in fact ‘over emphasised’ sin as the major problem that the Bible and Genesis confront. In this free ranging conversation, Tony and John explore this new idea in some depth. John explains how the concept of ‘order’ is anchored in Ancient Near Eastern cosmology, and Tony jumps straight across to the twenty first century and links the concept of order with design and our role as sub-creators. This interview will be very stimulating for everybody – it does not discount the role of sin in the gospel but it does subordinate it to the wider purposes of God in desiring order in the cosmos.
Part one I charted the wider landscape that Creation theology gives us – a wider landscape I argued, than what I called the ‘Redemption’ gospel. I want to stress that the key theme was not either or choice between the two – we obviously need ‘redeeming’ or ‘saving’ and any thinking person who denies that is deceiving themselves as if humanity has no problem or blood on our collective hands…. No, my point was where does the gospel begin where does the story of the gospel begin. And we argued that the creation gospel begins with a deep anchor in Genesis one, whereas the redemption gospel begins – de facto – in Genesis three.
I made the point that this creation gospel is not a soft gospel. It challenges the secular mind substantially – more substantially than the redemption gospel because its claims are wider and more stupendous. The claim of the creation gospel is that Jesus is Lord of all and there is therefore no one, no event, no system, that can claim immunity from his rule. He is not just Lord of the church, he is Lord of the cosmos. Whereas the redemption gospel feels more specialised – because it is religious.
Do we need a new ‘Reformation’ to reshape the gospel for the 21st century? Some people think so. In this talk, Tony gives some shape to the ‘ creation gospel’ – as the shorthand term for these new approaches to the old story. He does this by contrasting it with the ‘redemption’ gospel – the traditional evangelical framework that puts sin and forgiveness at the centre. Importantly Tony is not claiming we have an either/or choice between these two frameworks, but rather we must choose where the Gospel should begin – in Genesis one or Genesis three? He covers lots of this conceptual territory with a story of his journey from one framework to the other. This talk is part one – part two will follow shortly and will dive into the ‘so what’ of this creation paradigm. Both talks serve as an introduction to Rikk’s upcoming talks on “Design and Theology”
Rev Dr Brad Jersak explores Christian knowing through Plato, Plantinga, and Paul the Apostle. This is an incredibly important topic for Christians today as most of us feel caught between the conservative ‘Biblical’ view that dominates Sydney evangelicalism, and a more liberal humanist view that seems to threaten the pillars of faith. Brad has a rich mind and insightful perspectives, including a deep understanding of the early church fathers. He will offer us a much wider paradigm of knowing and revelation that does not toss out the Bible but balances it. In so doing he will demonstrate that far from this being a dangerous liberalising of truth, we are only recapturing the dominant orthodoxy that characterised the early church.
iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud: GospelConversations.com/podcast
Social Media: facebook.com/GospelConversations
How broad are God's plans? Tony shares his life story: from his childhood in Fiji to becoming a teacher and then, to everyone's surprise, a strategy consultant to some of Australia's largest corporations. He began to see God working everywhere and this led him to ultimately discover Christ's Cosmic Redemption—which is good news for the entire cosmos!
iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud:
Brad Jersak (Feb 14th), Esther Lightcap Meek, Rikk Watts, Tony Golsby-Smith, Ron Winestock, & Leisa Aitken will help us explore "Knowing and Mystery"—2020 theme. Talks will include:
—Is Design the new theology?
—What is the Gospel's offer of hope to a postmodern world?
—Will Artificial Intelligence save humanity or make us obsolete?
—Loving to Know
—Mystery in the Quantum world
—What were Maximus the Confessor and Origen's views on Mystery?
iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud:
Gerard Manley Hopkins only lived a short life and he never published a single poem during his lifetime. However, this intense and brilliant Jesuit priest revolutionised forever how poetry was written and laid the foundations for twentieth-century poetry. He is arguably the greatest religious poet of all time, and yet some psychiatrists also believe that nobody wrote about depression with such penetrating insight as he did. He was a true manic genius. The theory of ‘inscape’ underpinned lots of his poetic philosophy and inspired such greats as Tolkien. In this talk, Tony will open up the wondrous world of Hopkins for us.
Sarah will extend our series on Poetry and Faith by taking us into the world of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the great philosopher and poet of Romanticism, who lived at the tumultuous time of the French Revolution abroad and the Industrial Revolution at home. In the face of this tumult, Coleridge and the Romantics championed humanity, the imagination and the mystery of Nature as the source of all meaning. Coleridge, a troubled Anglican spirit, found the origin of humanity’s imagination in the great ‘I AM’ of God.
Robin's final talk in our series explores perhaps the most significant question of all: "How does a belief in universal salvation influence my life and service in the world—including things like evangelism, counselling, and taking funerals?" Robin is a pastor as well as a theologian, and he brings a wealth of practical experience to this huge question. Does universal salvation mute the gospel and just make us melt into a kind of uncritical pantheism? Robin argues that universal salvation, far from muting our voice in the world, amplifies our voice, and the many ways through which we can bless the world.