[省思] Do we please God by merely confessing, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ”?

Confessing Your Righteousness Pleases God

Every time you confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ”, God the Father is pleased. When you confess that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, it reminds Him of what His Son has done for you to become righteous.

Also, by making you righteous, God is showing Himself righteous — “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”. (Romans 3:26)

Each time Jesus hears you confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ,” it brings much pleasure to His heart too, because you are laying hold of what He suffered and died to give you.

The Holy Spirit, who now indwells you to convict you of righteousness (John 16:10), also rejoices when you confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.” He is pleased when you flow with Him.

The delight of the Godhead is not the only thing you gain when you declare, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.” The Bible tells us that when you “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… all these things shall be added to you”. (Matthew 6:33)

Whether it is food, clothing or other necessities in life, “all these things” will be added to you. They will not just be given to you, but added to you as your inheritance when you seek first His righteousness.

You don’t need to use your faith for every single need in life. You just need to use your faith for one thing — to believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, and it will cause all the blessings you seek to come after you and overtake you!

Thought For The Day
Use your faith to simply believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, and the blessings you seek will come after you and overtake you! (read original article)

The above teaching is given by Joseph Prince, the leading pastor of New Creation Church, arguably today’s largest megachurch in Singapore. But after watching several of his sermon clips online, I have found that his teaching problematic. Not in the sense of being necessarily apostatic as we may detect at many other megachurch pulpits, but it is indeed dangerously unbalanced in the sense that it can lead to a crippled version of faith — it is not apostolic.

First of all, to say that we are the righteousness of God in Christ presumes that we are in Christ. No doubt here, the emphasis and focus here is Christ, rather than you/we/I — but the impression that Pastor Prince gave us is an unduly shift from the Christocentric emphasis to an anthropocentric one: to say « I am/we are » and « we make God happy ».

To retain our focus, what does it mean to be in Christ needs to be expounded.

Since the theme of “union in Christ” is so predominant in both Johannine and Pauline theology, it should be rightly said that we are the righteousness of God when and only when we are in Christ. God is pleased only when He sees the righteousness and obedience of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ (cf. Mat 3:17), not us- unworthy sinners apart from His saving grace (per John Calvin [1]).

[1] See DAVID GIBSON, “A Mirror for God and for Us: Christology and Exegesis in Calvin’s Doctrine of Election”, International Journal of Systematic Theology Volume 11 Number 4 October 2009, p.452: “In his discussion of ‘as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you’ (15:9), Calvin is adamant that the Father’s love for the Son ‘must be referred to us, because Christ declares that the Father loves him as the Head of the church – a thing extremely necessary for us’. Calvin uses two images to describe what this love of the Father means: Christ is ‘the pledge (pignus) of the divine love’, and ‘in him, as in a mirror (speculo), we may behold God’s fatherly love towards us all, since he is not loved separately, or for his own private advantage, but that he may unite us along with himself to the Father’.13 Calvin’s description of this love is sharply focused on the economy – it is a love of the Son, but it is a love with benefits for us.”


Moreover, the Bible does not teach us that we can please God by declaring our righteousness, imputed or whatsoever. On the contrary, the Bible does say that we please God by 1) Serving Christ with an attitude of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14;17-18), 2) Worshiping God acceptably with reverence and awe (Heb 12:28), 3) Doing good and sharing with others (Heb 13:16), and 4) Presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).

These are always in my sermons. To skip these important in-between steps is not preaching the whole counsel of God.

Next, to say that you are in Christ presumes that we first deny ourselves and curse our old ego to dead and that  we follow His commandments (1 Jn 2:3-4; 5:2-3). It demands true repentance and radical transformation! And this is what God demands! God holds dear our sorrowful spirit (Ps. 51:17) by giving His Holy Spirit as our Counselor. Only in this way we are freed from our guilt and are enabled to do good things.

That is to say, we please God by participating in and joining this union with Christ (that entails sacrifice and renouncing our sinful past as well as broken humanity), not by the mere declaring or confessing of it (cf. Mat 7:21).

In this way, a theology of grace will not corrupt/collapse into a theology of complacency.


[書摘] Christ and Canon, theology and history—the Barth-Harnack dialogue revisited

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854
Temptation of Christ


Kimlym J. Bender, “Christ and Canon, theology and history—the Barth-Harnack dialogue revisited” in Theology as Conversation: The Significance Of Dialogue In Historical And Contemporary Theology: A Festschrift For Daniel L. Migliore, Bruce McCormack and Kimlym J. Bender eds., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009, pp. 3-29


My summary:

Because of the diversity and heterogeneity of the books in the Bible, Harnack insisted historical knowledge and critical reflection on necessary to understand its content. Without these faith would advance an unchecked speculative fantasy at best and at worst a theological dictatorship that “seeks to culture the consciences of others with its own subjective experience”.

Barth responded to the criticism with an emphasis on unity [between Christ of faith and Jesus of history]. For Barth, the Jesus of Nazareth no much historical science fails to display Jesus true identity is abstracted from the confession of him as the risen Lord. If Christ is the Lord of history, any historical reconstructions are his earthly life that ignores his Lordship can at best be an abstraction.

Historical science alone is unable to move beyond speculative reconstruction to confession.

Indeed, the precise determination of the Christian canon’s development is in a large part lost to history. But the question of its subject matter is clearly shown to us to be the God to whom the canon witnesses and the contemporary confessions of faith profess.

It is the unity of the Lord that grounds the unity of Scripture and the makes it a unified witness. To understand Scripture rightly entails that one read it as a participant in its truth. (For Harnack, this emotional attachment risks of loss of scientific objectivity and responsibility.)

Barth’s commitment to a different kind of objectivity and the responsibility is expressed in his third edition of the Romans commentary where he insists that we must think not so much about Paul but after and with Paul towards the subject matter with which he himself was concerned. (For a discussion of what exactly Barth takes to be historical science positive and preparatory function, which Barth has only alluded to but never fully explains, see Burnett, Karl Barth‘s Theological Exegesis, pp.230-240)

However, Harnack score a point. While the exact genetic history of canonical development may ultimately be unanswerable, we are still left with the canonical question concerning its composition and the parameters, which is not solved by the ultimate definition of the canon’s theological and the Christological nature. For example, shall we be siding with Luther’s (and thus Judaism’s) version of the Hebrew OT or the Catholic Church’s (and thus the engine church’s) LXX OT? Whose canon? Whose Scripture? (the same question needs to be posed against Childs.)

Latter Barth is clearly in his mature reflections aware of the historical messiness of canonical development in the contested boundaries, is refusing all the way the [confessional] church any final authority. He deems that the revelation of God which comes through Scripture is the ultimate basis and criteria for the canon, which must overrides even historic usages and past decisions of councils. But paradoxically, if anyone today wants to challenge particular books of their canonical status or revelatory significance, Barth would give precedence to the Church’s past decisions by aligning them with the obedient hearing of God’s voice.

Barth views the Scripture through a single lens of Christology, whereas Harnack employs multiple lenses, including a Kantian universal rationalism modified in light of Schleiermacher, a modern Lutheran law and the gospel dichotomy modified by Ritschl, and his spiritual moralism alike. Though he still attempted to preserve the uniqueness of the person of Jesus against Troeltsch’s appeal for a more consistent/critical historicism, he is separating the message of Jesus from his own historical [i.e., Jewish rabbinical and first century eschatological] roots in favor of a universal moral message that it can be extracted from both Testaments. Barth on the contrary is classically orthodox—he sees Christ foreshadowed in the old and attested in the new (But still, in various fronts, he has been criticized for having not taken the Old Testament on its own terms).

In the end, if Barth really needs to be faulted in his open confessional position, it was in his ready acceptance of the findings of radical biblical criticism, telling to criticize not only its presuppositions but also its findings. This was due in no small part to Barth’s early liberal inheritance [from Hermann]: his early ambivalence toward history and a dialectic of contradiction that has only to be overcome in time with a dialectic of correspondence.

But no doubt, what intrigues many of us today in the Harnack/Barth dabate, is Barth’s  hermeneutics of trust and the canonical richness, rather than Harnack’s hermeneutics of suspicion and canonical reductionism.



"Fish and Jug in a Seascape" (π. 193...
Image by Tilemahos Efthimiadis via Flickr


或作 一個解經神學的思想實驗:由「耶和華是否有男性外生殖器的八卦」開始談起


oodh @ ptt Gossiping 看板 #1DvBHKRp 問了一個問題: 「耶和華有無外生殖器?」

呃… 我不是來亂的,只是真的好奇這件事



但基督教、佛教 的相關辨證卻都有保留下來 )

乃至「畫中的亞當都沒有少根肋骨」的問題   歷史上都有不同學說和異議

  1. 耶和華花七天創世
  2. 耶和華以自己形象造亞當
  3. 抽亞當肋骨成夏娃。

那麼「亞當的 外生殖器,是從何時開始有的?」」

因為聖經中明白寫了 耶和華是以他的形象造人,所以這個問題也就上溯到

「那 耶和華的形象 有沒有……外生殖器?」

Continuer à lire … « 「尊爵不凡的μορφή」和「沒那麼尊爵不凡的εἰκὼν」-關於「上帝形象」的基督論和人論假說 »

[書摘] A few quotes from The Mission of God

Cover of "The Cross of Christ"
Cover of The Cross of Christ

‘A broadly missional reading of the whole bible…actually subsumes liberationist readings into itself… where else but from the God who triumphed climactically over all such wickedness and evil (human, historical, and cosmic) in the cross and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ?’— Christopher J. H. Wright (2006), The Mission of God, p.44

‘A missional hermeneutic means that we seek to read any part of the Bible in the light of…[t]he centrality of Jesus…. in relation to Israel and the nations…’—ibid, p.67 ‘

The cross of Christ is the key to the unfolding purpose of history, or, in terms of our argument here, the unfolding mission of God. Why is Christ worthy to govern history?’ –ibid, p.249

  • The Cross of Christ is the nsame of a book by John Stott, C.J.H. Wrigjt’s mentor.

‘Any theology of mission that claims to be biblical must have at its core that which is at the very core of biblical faith—the cross of Christ.’—ibid, p.312




[書摘] Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

Source Link: http://www.whatsbestnext.com/2011/06/how-lack-of-theological-training-in-the-developing-world-weakens-world-missions/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+WhatsBestNext+%28What%27s+Best+Next%29

In a recent blog entry that titled ‘How Lack of Theological Training in the Developing World Weakens World Missions‘, passages from JP Moreland’s highly-esteemed book, Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (1997), were quoted with an affirmative overtone, as in the following:

I once attended a meeting of missionaries from around the world, at which a national Christian leader from Central America stood up and passionately exhorted North American mission agencies to stop sending evangelists to his country because their efforts were producing Marxists bent on overthrowing the government.

You could have heard a pin drop in that meeting, and confusion was written on everyone’s face. This leader went on to explain that the leading “Christian” thinkers in his country held to liberation theology, a form of Marxism draped in religious garb. Evangelical missionaries would lead people to Christ, but the liberals were attracting the thinking leaders among the converts and training them in Marxist ideology, which these liberals identified as the true center of biblical theology.

The leader pleaded with North Americans to send more theologians and Bible teachers and to help set up more seminaries and training centers in his country because the need for intellectual leadership was so great.

Here’s the second example:

Recently, I met a man from Fiji who was won to Christ by an evangelical missionary and who, subsequent to conversion, wanted to come to the United States for seminary training.

Unfortunately, there was no money for this sort of “intellectual” development in the evangelical missions strategy there, but theological liberals gave him a scholarship to study at a liberal seminary in Texas.

By the time I met him, he had given up his faith and was going back to Fiji with an extremely secular view of Christianity. His mission: to pastor a church!

Moreland concludes:

If evangelicals placed more value on the mind, we would give more to developing intellectual leadership around the world. Happily, some good things are now being done in this area, but we need to intensify our efforts in this regard, and this will happen only if we evangelicals come to value more fully Christ’s admonitions to be good stewards of the intellectual life.

Now what do you think?

I have but several reflections:

  1. « Christ’s admonitions to be good stewards of the intellectual life »-  I am not rejecting this idea, but I wonder which biblical passage has this ‘admonition’ from Christ?
  2. It reminds me of a recent article I have read (sorry cannnot find it anymore). It mourns the erosion of the noble intellectual spirit that used to manifest itself in
    Spears in london
    "British Spears": A wearing (away) of classy royal custom?

    the top American universities: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell…and so on. The ivy-leaguers used to be well-versed in classics and high culture, which in turn enrich those future leaders in all sectors of the nation. But today, hermeneutics of Shakespeare has given away to Britney Spears(or should I use lady gaga?), and the appreication of Beethoven is replaced by the lousy music of Eminem. The society has become so money-driven that the grandeur of the nation’s founding fathers is no longer a symbol to pursuit as are wealth, personal gain, and quick fame. sThe clear overtone of the article is to call for a repristination of noble high culture among those leading humanity and educational sectors in America. Now I do not need to say how hard the argument is bashed by its commentators. Highculture in itself has its virtues and is NOT wrong. But can you see why low culture should not be the patent for the not-so-good universities? (Indeed, I think the author meant that the low culture should never exist in the public.) Can you see the liberation spirit in the black rap music, and the solidarity of identity that consumer goods, say, Iphone, tatoos, TV shows, facebook, and sports are able to provide for the nation’s young people?

  3. I am not sure if my analogy is apt to communicate what I bear in mind. But I am saying: Mere intellecutal training is not enough. The repristination of high culture and classics in the ivy-league campuses or the total rejection of  liberation/Marxist theology in the developing nations alike, is out of a dangerous mindset that objectifies living souls and people groups.  The ideological clashes in today’s mission world are so severe that we need to know what kind of theological reflection should take place in the ongoing dialogue between the socio-cultural blocks around the globe, if we are really to be used to God to transform cultures
    Image via Wikipedia

    and souls. Intellectual training alone won’t help much if it means the superimposing packages of the first world WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) theology on the third world churches. From what I see, contextualization is the key, and ‘holisitc mission‘ and missio Dei are the two crucial theological components  many have already foreseen. Reason/feeling, mind/body, justification/liberation, evangelical/liberal, and high/low cultures, should no longer be regarded by us as sets of strict dichotomies (二裂).