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By These Means Necessary

Scriptural and Sacramental Spirituality for All Nations

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Faith's journey begins sacramentally with three splashes of water-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is performed once, applying the eternal, once-and-for-all, life-giving benefits of Jesus' death and resurrection to his people.

f Lutheran theologian Paul Raabe, in A Confessing Theology for Postmodern Times (Crossway 2000), is right, then an examination of any cultural group's practice of Christianity must be rooted in the religion and God of Israel: "The only hope for Hispanics or Chinese or Germans or Americans is to come to Zion and worship the God of Israel, not to build their own Gentile religion or Gentile temple." God's people live their earthly lives as a pilgrimage of faith based in a particular Christian spirituality. By faith, eyes, hearts, and hopes are fixed on the final city of God. But in the meantime, like Jesus in Jerusalem, God's people are to be passionately consumed with the things of the Father's house-"for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Isa. 56:7).

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John Nunes is minister of St. Paul Lutheran Church (Dallas, Texas) and author of Voices from the City: Issues and Images of Urban Preaching (Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Issue: "Growing in Grace: A Defense of Piety" July/August 2002 Vol. 11 No. 4 Page number(s): 28-32, 51

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