Listen to him!

Eric Landry
Friday, May 1st 2009
May/Jun 2009

Jesus' later Galilean ministry (especially as recounted in Mark 8 and 9) is a bit of a rollercoaster for his inner circle of disciples: Peter, James, and John. Peter, especially, can't seem to find any solid footing. First, of course, he is given the biggest "attaboy" in history after his divinely revealed confession of faith in Jesus' Messiahship. But in nearly the same breath, he is rebuked by the Master after he sought to realign Jesus' thinking to conventional wisdom about the victorious messianic life that Peter expected and Jesus kept rejecting. After rebuking him, Jesus teaches Peter, the other disciples, and the crowd that still surrounded him (popular opinion not yet having turned against Jesus) about the necessity of suffering and death as the central points of the Messiah's mission and the life of his followers. But just when suffering and humiliation seemed to win the day, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a mountain and gives them a taste of his divine glory veiled by the Incarnation-held out now as the power of Jesus' coming resurrection and the transformation of his followers. The glory cloud of God's presence shrouds the mountain and God commands Peter and every other observer there on that mountain and down through history, "Listen to him!" In three words, God sets the stage for all future religious conflict: there is only one voice to which men and women can give heed and that voice belongs to God's beloved Son, his chosen one.

The Bible, however, does not assume that this command from the very voice of God will be followed. The rest of the books of the Bible, in fact, operate under the assumption that God's people will confess and witness their faith in pluralistic situations, where Jesus is just one of many competing messiahs, all looking for their market share of religious devotion. It's in that vein that we offer this issue of Modern Reformation.

The six feature articles of this issue are devoted to helping you listen to Jesus and convey his message to those in your circles who need to hear the voice of this Good Shepherd. First up is our editor-in-chief, Michael Horton, who examines both the nature of pluralism and its cost (specifically, the objective hope of the gospel). Regular MR contributor Peter Anders follows with his article on the necessity of a trinitarian confession in a pluralistic world. The four remaining articles flesh out the big ideas of the first two articles by examining what Islam has to say about Jesus (by Adam Francisco); how Africa is providing a stage for a recovery of the uniqueness of the gospel message (by Stephen Roberts); how even well-loved and respected apologists, such as C. S. Lewis, sometimes fudge on the uniqueness of Jesus (by Don Williams); and discovering what happens when our good ideas run afoul of sound doctrine (by Eric Bierker).

Peter, James, and John walked back down the mountain with Jesus after his transfiguration, and the narrative of Mark's Gospel seems to pick up speed as the entire story culminates in Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection. The very voice of God spoken in and through Jesus sustains the infant church and propels it out into the world, eventually upending the pluralistic empire that sought to silence Jesus' voice. We hope this issue of Modern Reformation encourages you to engage with those around you who would relegate Jesus to just one of many competing voices in their own life. As more and more professing Christians (even in our Reformational denominations) fall prey to the suffering-free siren of pluralism, it is more important than ever to recover and renew our particular hope in Jesus Christ.

Eric Landry
Executive Editor

Photo of Eric Landry
Eric Landry
Eric Landry is the chief content officer of Sola Media and former executive editor of Modern Reformation. He also serves as the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.
Friday, May 1st 2009

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

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