Zion is Comin' Our Way

Eric Landry
Friday, October 30th 2009
Nov/Dec 2009
Oh, children, Zion train is comin' our way; get on board now!
They said the Zion train is comin' our way;
You got a ticket, so thank the Lord!
Zion's train is-Zion's train is-Zion's train is-Zion's train-
They said the soul train is coming our way;
They said the soul train is coming our way.

The same metaphor that gives life to Bob Marley's "Zion Train" speaks to a common human need for a place of refuge, a purposeful end to life's journey-where what is hoped for becomes a reality. It is easy to see why the image Zion evokes was such a powerful tool of hope for Southern slaves who saw their own experience of enforced exile in the same manner as those children of Israel who sat by the waters of Babylon and remembered Zion (Ps. 137).

In many ways the theme for this year, Christ in a Post-Christian Culture, has been an occasion for us to recall with Israel and other exiled people the hope of Zion. But for Christians, this hope isn't merely metaphorical, nor is it even a return to a life now lost. It is a reality to which we are brought ever closer; it is a reality in which we already participate as it breaks into our exile.

These twin realities are at the heart of several of our articles in this issue. Reformed theologian and Editor-in-Chief Michael Horton emphasizes our right-now identification with Zion as we proclaim its realities to a passing evil age around us. Cambridge-based Lutheran theologian Reginald C. Quirk emphasizes the seen and unseen nature of Zion through the ministry and witness of the church. Presbyterian pastor and regular Modern Reformation contributor Jason Stellman draws out the implication of our future orientation toward Zion.

Understandably, exiles get weary of their wilderness wandering. In our own day, such weariness usually results in some kind of misplaced triumphalism that almost always degenerates into deep pessimism (with terrible ramifications on both ends for the church's witness and practice). Reformed pastor Kim Riddlebarger applies lessons learned from church history to our present day temptation to equate our earthly homes with our heavenly homes. And Presbyterian pastor Jon Payne helps us understand how the church's gathered worship makes the kingdom visible in our midst.

The final two articles of this issue take things in a slightly different direction. First, Doug Powell's very practical exposé of postmodernism's illogical foundation shows you how to witness to the truth of Zion among people who are skeptical of the Bible's truth-claims. And the dialogue between Don Williams and D. G. Hart highlights important issues of definition and pastoral care in our churches.

Thank you for making your way through this big issue and this important year-long theme. Next year, we're "Recovering Scripture." If you give a gift subscription this Christmas, we'll increase your subscription by one free issue. So, find someone to work through the issues with you and rediscover the importance of Scripture in 2010.

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, October 30th 2009

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

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