Gregory A. Boyd at Mars Hill, Grand Rapids
Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church, St. Paul, MN spoke at Mars Hill Bible Church today. Julie and I went to hear him this evening.
Greg, using 1 John 3:8--"The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's works"--as the key theme, presented a biblical and passionate overview of Christus Victor--our warrior King and Deliverer.
From our origin as God's image-bearers and from the time we forfeited our God-given dominion over to the devil in the Fall, Greg moved to the life and mission of Jesus of "binding the strong man and plundering his house." With energetic imagery Greg painted a picture of Jesus' assault on the devil's evil mission in league with principalities and powers to destroy and bring death to human beings.
I was struck by Boyd's excitement that the first mention of the term "church" by Jesus places the church as the aggressive force storming the gates of Hell (Matthew 16:18). Jesus invites the church to plunder hell and release its captives because Jesus has already bound the strong man by his death on the cross (see Colossians 2:15).
However, in the midst of all the war talk, Boyd reminded us that other people are not the enemy--we don't struggle against flesh and blood. If it is a flesh and blood person or group of people or nation of people--even and especially our enemies, our only call is to express self-denying, sacrificial love. We are to mimic God and to live in love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). People who dress Jesus up in red, white and blue may not have liked Greg's message.
To get a fuller view of Jesus as Christus Victor, I encourage you to read Boyd's book God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict. In this book, Boyd relieves the unnecessary tension produced by classical determinism. That tension resides in the Godhead where the Father decrees "all things" (including very evil acts) and then sends his Son to fight against and clean up the very things that he, God, has decreed. That's what classical determinism leads to. If nothing, absolutely nothing happens "outside" God's decree, then God is the origin the evil. Classical determinists recoil at that conclusion and respond that the origin of evil is "a mystery." "Mystery" is a cop-out from where their theological system logically leads.
We were invited at the close of the service to celebrate the Lord's Table in light of what Jesus accomplished at the cross. It was a meaningful moment for Julie and me.
Thanks to Mars Hill for bringing Gregory A. Boyd into the area to speak.
Labels: Christus Victor