Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tearing Down the Platonic Gospel

The last article has led me into several converstaions regarding the side affects of Augustines neo-platonism. One of the most grave affects has been the understanding of the gospel itself. The heart of the gospel or good news of our Lord Jesus Christ prior to Augustine was as follows:

Trinitarian: The first part of the Gospel is the message that the one true God exist in three persons: Father & creator, Son & victor, Spirit & giver of life. There exists within the triune God, a life that is primarily characterized by a communion of love. Hence, God is love.

Incarnational: The second part of the gospel is the message that God the Son took on flesh, and became one of us. So that even after the human race had turned way from God under the enticement of evil (sin & death), the Son might still bring the love of God to us, destroy evil, and win us back into his loving Trinitarian communion. This incarnate Son took evil on He died to destroy sin and death (sacrifice), He rose from the grave victorious over death and as the victor (Savior), and He gave life eternal to all who had mankind. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, eternal life in the flesh has been attained for all humanity (the final resurrection).

Restorative: The third part of the gospel is the message that by the Son’s great victory, He now has the authority to draw all mankind back into God’s Trinitarian family by pouring out upon mankind His life giving Spirit (baptism). This Spirit is now places the presence of God’s power within humans , thus making those persons incarnations of God (sanctification-deification), here and now, healing and restoring them to what they were meant to be (salvation), whole, living spirits that dwell within the Trinity.

The gospel or good news can be summarized by stating that eternal life in God is available to anyone in mankind who desires it, and the only ones who fail to attain it are those who reject it. All has been accomplished; the only thing left for us to do is receive the great gift (faith), and co-operate with God’s work in us (faithfulness), transforming us into Christ likeness. This is the gospel that has been possessed by the church, which the apostles called the ground and pillar of the truth, for two-thousand years. It is revealed in the Holy Bible, it has been taught and explained by the church fathers, it was summed up the three ecumenical creeds, it was articulated in defended in the seven ecumenical councils of the church, and it is this faith which was believed by the whole church, without dispute for one–thousand years. This gospel is the sum and substance of our faith and worship, and it has been passed on to us in our “Book of Common Prayer.”

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