Other Worthy Wishes

Thursday, July 5th 2007
Jan/Feb 2000

1 We wish for an end to the harmful battle between systematic theology and biblical theology. The system must arise from the text, and individual texts must be interpreted in light of the entire canon.

2 We wish that a new reformation would sweep away the reactionary conservative-liberal way of thinking, and replace it with confessional ways of thinking instead.

3 We wish for an awareness that the Christian life is a life of bearing the cross…which actually leads to delight in God's providential care. The alternative (which is too often embraced) is a Christian life of "victory"…which actually leads to despair. The "theology of the cross" leads to heaven, and the "theology of glory" leads to many types of hell. May we soon get beyond the latter.

4 We wish for a recovery of catechesis-in the church and in what Luther called the "first church" (that is, the home).

5 We wish that churches would once again see their power for evangelism, growth, and outreach in terms of the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

6 We wish for patience with the "already/not yet" tension which comes from our place in redemptive history. Put another way, we wish for a healthy and balanced doctrine of creation-one that neither denies legitimate callings in this world (as do some varieties of premillennialism), nor sacralizes important-but-not-redemptive creative/ cultural activity (as do many versions of postmillennialism).

7 We wish for the recovery of Lord's Day observance. Somehow we have gotten the strange idea that the Lord's Day doesn't apply to us because we live in a hectic, post-industrial world. Why?

8 We wish that our churches would no longer be divided along socio-economic, political, and racial lines; that they would rather serve as a counter-culture for a world that doesn't know what genuine (and unforced) brotherhood really is.

9 We wish for a resurgence in the belief that Christ is not only our justification, but also our sanctification. All too often, our sermons make it sound like we mature beyond the Gospel; as if Christ is somehow for the non-Christian, but the Christian can now derive life from the letter.

10 We wish for theologically serious, churchly ecumenism. May the days of political coalitions and personality-driven "reconciliations" of various traditions soon come to an end, and ever fade from our memories.

11 We wish that the false gods of consumer culture would appear ever less tempting to us.

12 We wish for sheer delight in the hope of resurrected bodies. May everyone, from the male-patterned bald to the genuinely suffering, look to a glorious material future through the eyes of faith.

13 We wish that churches of the Reformation would practice what they preach, and do so in concrete terms, as the reformers themselves did with such great energy.

14 We wish for a dose of the courage of the Christian martyrs who have run the race before us.

15 We wish that the Sacraments which God instituted as means of grace would be rediscovered by contemporary Christianity.

16 We wish that all of those former fundamentalists, evangelicals, and Roman Catholics who are now vocal secularists will hear the genuine message of law and Gospel sometime soon.

Thursday, July 5th 2007

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

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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