Monday, May 21, 2012

Good News about The Good News

Theologically speaking, it was the only conclusion they could have reached.

And I'm thankful - and relieved - that they did.

The committee charged with investigating the Insider Movement for my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, has posted the first part of its two-year report online.

Here's a synopsis of their conclusions, in their own words:

"Christ’s divine Sonship suffuses the New Testament... The glue that binds the biblical text together is not only the kingly Messiah; it is the condescended, loving presence of God the Son, fully God and fully man who is both Agent of salvation and Object of worship... In other words, we cannot think properly of Christ properly apart from his eternal Sonship... Substitution of sonship language for Christ and his disciples distorts the way things are in creation (according to revelation), the way things are in salvation (according to revelation), and the way things will be in the Parousia (according to revelation)."

As you can tell, there's a lot of content in this report.  Indeed, my splicing of particular sentences together to make the paragraph above took content from almost three pages of carefully-worded text (pages 71-73).  Then again, perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised; Presbyterians love committees, and committees love verbose reports.  Even the title of this report is almost as long as the report itself:  "A Partial Report (Part One of Two Parts) of the Ad Interim Committee on Insider Movements to the Fortieth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America."


And a double "whew!" to their affirmation of Trinitarian theology.

Technically, this first part of their two-part report deals with the controversy over familial language substitutions Bible translators have been using when referencing "God the Father" and "God the Son."  Their report detailing findings related to the broader Insider Movement is due out next year, but from their conclusions so far, it doesn't seem there will be any surprises in Part Two. 

Sure, I could blather on about my personal reactions to this recent report, and maybe in a few days, I will.  But in the meantime, the committee itself urges careful reading of their report so that we understand how they came to make their decision.  I've read and re-read parts of it, and skimmed over other parts, but I'm going to end today's essay here and simply encourage you to join with me in reading their document for a fuller appreciation not only of what some translators have gotten wrong, but that for which other translators have been arguing.

And indeed, the very mystery of God's holy Personhood, the extent to which He's giving us all of eternity to comprehend.

Click here to read the report.

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