Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fodder

I'm a big believer in what I would call "restorative theology." There may be another or a better name for it, but let me explain just a bit. I believe that when mankind sinned in the Garden of Eden, causing chaos to reign, God began a plan to restore all of creation to the way it was intended (cf. Genesis 1 and 2). That "plays out" in the Old Testament Law, the incarnation, Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and the opportunity we have for life. I also believe restoration has to happen between God and mankind, and man to man.

Here's the "fodder." When we speak of restoration between man and man, when does ministry (restorative ministry) end and socialism begin? I know what I believe. It's now your turn.


Ted M. Gossard said...

I guess "socialism" is a loaded term, and certainly as played out in this world, has at times, been a disaster.

I think I remember John R.W. Stott mentioning a "Christian socialism". And understood rightly I just think this is ongoing and a central aspect of what we're called to, in this life, in Jesus. When we come to Jesus and become are in him, we of course also come to his Body and are members of each other, and in a sense by virtue of our union in Jesus, are united to and in union with each other, by the Spirit.

So begins a socialism which is in Jesus to end up perfected and is to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 1), all peoples of course, and everything else of creation.

So really restorative ministry in my mind, and socialism from my slant here, really coincide, and you can't separate them in this life, I think.

But I look forward to read what you're thinking on this, and your perspective.

Mike said...

Thanks for the response Ted. I'd love to read the quote from Stott if you know of the work.

I didn't intend to use "socialism" as a loaded term. But on review, I realize it could be perceived that way.

I do believe that restoration includes an opportunity for all of creation. In other words, during His public ministry, Jesus expected a response from those He touched. For example, rather than telling the apostles to throw their net on the other side, He could have manifested the fish. Rather than allowing the Samaritan woman to continue her pattern of life, Christ said, "Go and sin no more." In each instance, Christ expected the one restored to live a different life.

When I think of restorative theology, I think of doing exactly what Christ commissioned us to do: help the poor, the widows, the destitute (those who can't help themselves).

That's much different than the Marxist system of socialism. If someone can help themselves and simply chooses to live off of the "system", I don't think that honors God or the opportunity for restoration. That, to me, is the distinction.

Again, I apologize for the loaded term. I hope this is clear. Thanks again for the dialogue.

Blessings, m

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Mike. Helpful response.

I have extra brain tiredness this evening, and can't recall the book from Stott or where I remember that from. Maybe it's from his book on Acts of which I have a copy. I'll try to remember to look for that very soon.