Archive for the ‘second coming’ Tag

How To Share God’s Good News With Others! pt.5

9-21-2015 Putting Faith into Words 7-04-39 PM15.10.18 How To Share God’s Good News With Others, pt.5 (1 Cor 15, Rev 21.22-26) – TAH

As the saying goes, you can live one minute without air but not one second without hope! Could you use some hope and clarity about your present purpose and destiny?; hope about life even in this present evil age? If you answered YES then this is a message for you! In this message of God’s Good News get good Christian responses to your questions like:

Why am I working so hard and long on the job and in the home? Why am I hanging in there in my marriage and relationships? Why am I attending this particular school of higher learning? Why should I take time off from work and rest, or take a vacation! Why am I learning to be so patient, peaceful, and persevering in traffic, and even in tragedy?! Why am I learning to be so prickly, perturbing, and provoking even though I am by nature more meek, shy and non-disturbing?

Bottom line: Understand the importance of sharing Jesus’ Hope with others in word and deed as we participate with Him, presently, in the Spirit!

1.) grab a pen or pencil,

2.) download this worksheet: How To Share God’s Good News With Others- TAH (fill in the blank),  (or use the one you have already printed out), and,

3.) fill-in-the-blanks as you prepare to teach what you are learning to others who can teach what their learning to others!

Here is part 1 if you are wondering:

Here is part 2

Here is part 3

Here is part 4


Photo courtesy of:


The Trinity And Evangelism!

jesus relationship not religion

On this 4th Sunday after the Epiphany in the Christian Calendar (The Season Of the God Revealed in Jesus Christ), Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims the Good News of Jesus sharing the Good News in Mark 1:14 – 15. It is followed up with a conversation about Evangelism from Dr. Baxter Kruger, William Paul Young (Author of The Shack), and Dr. Mike Feazell of Grace Communion International. The conversation is centered in the Light of the character of God: Father, Son and Spirit Himself and the implications of this discerned.


  • We discuss what evangelism is and what it is not.
  • We discuss how knowing God as Father, Son and Spirit should affect our approaches to sharing our faith.
  • We are reminded that The Father, Son and Spirit IS RELATIONSHIP and His dream and intent IS to draw humanity into His relationship so that it becomes as much ours as it is His!

Listen in and join the conversation!

photo compliments:

Questions And Responses Regarding Baptism And Other Things!


On this 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany in the Christian Calendar (The Season Of the God Revealed in Jesus Christ), Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims the last message of this series on Jesus and His baptism.  Rehearse how God’s baptism in Jesus is the GOOD NEWS that we can identify ourselves with Jesus boldly in our baptism, knowing God is SO GOOD that in Free Grace He has come to meet us in our rebellion, in our rejection and in our ignorance, CLEANSING AND LOVING US and bringing us into His relationship.

Hear in this interactive message the answers to these specific questions and more!:

  • Why was God was Baptized?
  • Why should we be baptized if Jesus was baptized for us?
  • In what ways is baptism performed? Why is sprinkling done in some circles? Why is immersion done in others?
  • Who is to be baptized?
  • How many times should we be baptized?
  • Does one have to be ordained to baptize others?
  • Is being “Christened” and “Being baptized” the same thing?
  • What if I was baptized in the name of someone other than Jesus or the Father, Son and Spirit? Should I be baptized again?

Listen in on this interesting conversation, and maybe hear YOUR question about baptism answered out of Who Jesus is as the Gospel!

Why In The World Was God Baptized?! Part 2


In this Season of Epiphany in the Christian Calendar, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore  continues with this Part 2 message in his GOOD NEWS Series entitled, “Why In The World Was God Baptized?!”  and answers with greater clarity the questions:

  • Why was God Baptized?
  • If Jesus was Baptized as my substitute, then why am I baptized too?
  • Do I receive the Holy Spirit only after being baptized?
  • Am I saved by baptism?
  • Can I be still be saved and receive the Spirit if I choose not to be Baptized?


Why In The World Was God Baptized?!


Why was Jesus, the PERFECT SON OF GOD IN FLESH, baptized with John’s Baptism of Repentance? How could God in Jesus repent of his own sins when the scriptures clearly say Jesus lived as the God/Man without sin?

 In this season of Epiphany in the Christian Calendar, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore  points us to the answers to those questions, and more, in this GOOD NEWS message entitled, “Why In The World Was God Baptized?!”  Reading Matthew 3: 13-17, learn that the ONLY WAY to understand baptism is to begin with JESUS CHRIST!

Often-asked questions are asked, and answered, in the Light of God being Baptized in Jesus, like:

  • Is baptism primarily about your commitment to God, orrrr…is it possible that it is more about God’s commitment to you?
  • Is baptism primarily about you receiving Jesus into your life, orrrr… isn’t possible that it is more about Jesus receiving us into his love, life and relationship with his Father, the Holy Spirit, Humanity and all of creation?
  • Is baptism primarily about your own faltering faith and repentance, however good, orrrr…is it primarily about Jesus’ perfect faith and repentance on your behalf and in your place!

And, in the Light of these questions, if Jesus got baptized, Why do WE get Baptized?!

Understand your participation in Christ a little more clearly, especially since scriptures say that it was Jesus’ job (and NOT YOURS!) to FULFILL all righteousness!

God’s Coming Humanly Means God’s Going Humanly!

victory in jesus

Do you wonder how you can live through suffering in a way where you are still filled with FAITH, HOPE and LOVE? Where you can know VICTORY and experience New Life and a Higher Dimension of LIFE and DIGNITY? 

On this 1st Sunday after Christmas, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore points us to the answer to this dilemma in this GOSPEL FILLED GOOD NEWS message entitled, “God’s Coming Humanly Means God’s Going Humanly”and shows through Hebrews 10: 19-25  that, God Father, Son and Spirit KNOW and SHARE IN our real suffering through JESUS CHRIST! In Christ, God reveals that He is not one who stands apart from suffering, but One who stands WITH US, stands ESPECIALLY IN HUMAN SUFFERING!

Listen and understand better that:

~God’s coming as a human being, him becoming human through Christ, means He comes not just in our celebrations but in the depths of our human sufferings!

~Since the Ascension of Christ, humanity has a hope built on an accomplished fact that humanity could not have before the Ascension. That God has taken up our cause in CHRIST and not only cried our cries but in the resurrection and ascension He has ANSWERED our cries and has VICTORY over them now, IN HIS PRESENT HUMAN BEING! In Christ, God has been a Gift for Himself and for us!!

~The most clear understanding of who God is, IS JESUS CHRIST! Understand our participation with Christ now in the “Rhythms of Grace” and not “Regulations of Law”, as ways of relating with Our Father and Jesus in the Spirit !

~The most clear understanding of who man is, IS JESUS CHRIST! To see Jesus from His birth to His Ascension before the Father is how we understand what it really means to be human, since Jesus is and always has been God’s Plan for Man in man’s adoption!

~God’s Coming Humanly Always means God’s Going Humanly! His coming always means His going = God’s Being a Living, Active and Dynamic Lord, filled with Life and Movement! NOT A STATIC GOD!

WILL YOU COME AND GO WITH HIM, as His chosen disciple?

Proposal: An eschatology where God is more present than absent

When Jesus talks about “the Son of Man coming on the clouds” (Matt 16, 24, 26; Mark 13; Luke 17, 21), I believe he is using well-known metaphors to warn of a socio-political catastrophe that some of his first-century hearers would live to see.  I also believe in the future event usually called “the Second Coming,” but I believe these texts (and others like them) are not talking about that.

This is not the most important doctrinal distinction in the world. The creeds, for example, don’t address it.  But I am coming to believe it is a distinction that matters and is worth talking about.  More on that in a bit.  But first I want to give some background…

First, T.F. Torrance points out a problem in how we talk about the Coming of Christ:

It is important to recall that the apostolic witness to Christ did not speak of his advent (parousia)…in the plural, for strictly speaking there is only one saving parousia of the Son… The term parousia was used in the New Testament to speak of all three: the coming, arrival, and presence of Christ… His presence is an advent and his advent is a presence. “The hour comes and now is,” as Jesus once said [John 4:23]. The plural word, “advents” or parousiai, was not found in Christian literature for more than a century after the ascension of Christ… In one revealing statement, however, Justin Martyr spoke of what takes place in the midst of Christ’s parousia. In other words, here and now in the on-going life of the Church we live in the midst of the advent-presence of Christ, already partake of the great regeneration of the future, and share in its blessings with one another (Thomas F. Torrance, The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church. Edinburgh: 1988. pp. 299,300).

Our deistic culture believes in few things so profoundly as it believes in the absence of God.  We Christians seem to believe that he was present once and will someday be present again, but for now we mostly go along with the broader culture in saying that God is certainly not here now.  Except for being “present in the Spirit,” which we mostly use as a euphemism for “not really present.”

N.T. Wright explains:

When God renews the whole creation, as he has promised, bringing together heaven and earth, Jesus himself will be at the centre of it all, personally present to and with his people and ruling his world fully and finally at last… And since the ascension is often thought of in terms of Jesus ‘going away,’ this future final moment is often thought of in terms of his ‘coming back again,’ hence the shorthand ‘second coming.’  However, since the ascension in fact means that Jesus, though now invisible, is not far away but rather closely present with us, it isn’t surprising that some of the key New Testament passages speak not of his ‘return’ as though from a great distance, but of his ‘appearing’ (e.g. Colossians 3.4; 1 John 3.2)… For the early Christians, the really important event—the resurrection of Jesus—had already taken place, and his final ‘appearing’ would simply complete what had then been decisively begun (N.T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone. John Knox: 2011. pp. 224-25).

The Trinity and Humanity blog is part of a larger theological community that emphasizes the twin mysteries of Trinity & Incarnation, and the universal character of the Atonement which flows from them. This magnificent vision lives and breathes the good news of the Real Presence of the Triune God.  As such, our theological project includes re-formulating doctrines which teach or imply God’s Absence.  The popular eschatology of our day is one such doctrine that requires our attention.

Jesus and the New Testament writers have quite a lot to say about the impending destruction of Jerusalem “in this generation,” and the dark and difficult times leading up to it.  And when we take those texts and impose them upon our doctrines about the future Glorious Appearing of Christ, it has consequences.

It produces a worldview of fatalism and pessimism, because it makes us think we know what the world will look like immediately before Christ appears, and it looks awful.  When the beasts and tribulations of the first century get pasted onto our own future, it produces a vision of the world forever getting worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse until Jesus comes back and fixes it, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it in the meantime, so don’t even try making the world a better place, because we already know it won’t work.

Is this our vision of the world where the life of the Father, Son, and Spirit is earthing itself in human life in the world?  Where Christ is already present and becoming more present all the time?  Do we really want to be telling people to forget the prophetic visions of a world where swords get pounded into plowshares, where everyone has their own fig tree, where it will be considered unusual for someone’s lifespan to be less than 100 years, where water will flow in the wild places and flowers will bloom in the desert?  Do we really want to be telling people to forget all that because those are visions of a world where God is present, and we don’t live in that world, at least not yet?

The Gospel is better than that.

What do you think?  Have I gone off the deep end?

Some questions for a Trinitarian eschatology

I was raised in an apocalypse-centered religion.  Since my years of teenage rebellion, I have mostly ignored eschatology, and it’s been a good re-centering experience.  But nowadays I find myself less and less able to keep saying “Eschatology doesn’t matter.”  Because it does.  The ancients were right to put “He will come again to judge the living and the dead” at the end of the creed rather than the beginning.  But they did include it, and I have begun to agree with their choice.  The future of the Triune God deserves a greater-than-zero level of attention.

Now as I seek to taste eschatology again for the first time, I approach it from the perspective of the One who has given me a future—the Triune God of Grace—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; this perspective changes everything.  What I am finding has little in common with the vision I was raised with.  For one thing, I am asking different questions than I used to, and today I want to share some of those questions with my Trinity-and-Humanity family, so we can all start to think this through together:

Question #1: Where is God?

I think this is the most important question that requires our voice, because I think the standard Christian message distorts the gospel.  People flock to the churches of the world, asking “Where is God?” and the fundamental answer they get is: “Not here yet.”  I don’t usually hear it said in exactly those words, but that is what it boils down to.  Why is there so much evil in the world? Because Christ hasn’t returned yet.  Right?  People are being taught that the world is unpleasant because God is absent.  But the “good news” is that someday his absence will cease, he will smite the wicked (more on that later), and then everything will be fine for us good people.  In the meantime, we say that oh yes, Jesus is already present through the Holy Spirit.  What does that mean?  When we say “I’ll be with you in spirit,” what we really mean is “I won’t be there.”

Our answer to this question needs work.  Yes, we want to affirm that the future of creation is New Creation, a world where the Triune God will be present in a way more intense and obvious than now. But we must find ways of communicating this without giving the impression that God’s current location is anything other than Right Here, Right Now, Always and Forever.  I believe one good path is to start using fewer spatial metaphors (“Christ went to heaven and will someday return to earth”) and start using more epistemic metaphors (“Christ’s presence is now hidden, visible only to the eyes of faith”).  We can make more use of Paul’s metaphor of Christ’s “Appearing” (Greek: “Epiphany”) (Colossians 3.4; 1 Timothy 6.14; 2 Timothy 4.8; Titus 2.13).  Spatial metaphors are fully biblical, but I find that in our deistic cultural context, they are easily misunderstood.  We cannot allow the gospel of God-With-Us be misinterpreted as the bad news of Us-Without-God.

Question #2: Is human history a predetermined downward slope (Or, “Is Greek eschatology right”)?

The Greek philosophical vision of time is simple—the eternal timeless ideal world is the real world. What we live in now is an illusory world of evil disgusting things like matter and time, and that’s why the world is getting worse and worse and worse all the time.  When the Greek mind looks to its future, it sees enlightened people being liberated from their bodies, re-joining the eternal timelessness, while barbarians are banished to Hades. Hmmm. How much has this philosophy polluted the Christian vision?  The eternal Triune Life is being earthed in the world, and the gates of Hell are not prevailing against it.  The darkness cannot put out the Light.  In what ways is this compatible with the idea that the world will inevitably get worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse, until God decides to dispense with this “Grace nonsense” and start kicking bad-guy butt, because we all know that violence is the only real solution to evil. Right?

God has already given his answer to the badness of the world; he sent his one and only Son to be one of us, to make us one with Him.  But we Christians talk about the future as if the solution has not yet arrived, that the real solution is that someday God will stop loving his enemies.  I have more questions than answers here.  We need our best minds working on this.  Messages that don’t make sense get ignored.

Question #3: When Christ appears, how will he treat non-believers?

The Koran says that Allah will one day come to earth and slaughter all the infidels like me, and that my Muslim friends will help.  This is…ahem…distasteful to me.  But do I believe the same basic idea, just with a different deity?  Christian culture is awash in a schizophrenic vision of God—with the kind merciful Jesus on one hand, but behind his back a vengeful Father who wants/needs to destroy us.  I believe this schizophrenia finds one of its greatest expressions in our eschatology—where we preach the grace and kindness of God, but then preach a coming apocalypse where God’s face will have changed somehow, where he will behave toward “the wicked” with something other than kindness.

I believe most of us Trinity-and-Humanity folks agree here that the Triune God has one and only one orientation toward us—Love—and that whatever “judgment” and “wrath” are, they belong to this love and must be defined in terms of love.  Can the Father, Son and Spirit’s presence be abhorrent and painful to those who hate them?  Absolutely.  I can testify to that from personal experience.  The Bible often gives us a very limited human perspective of what God’s presence can be like to those who wish he were absent.  It’s like my baby telling the story about the time I took him to the doctor to get his shots.  I don’t come off as a very kind person in that story, but that doesn’t change who I am as his dad.  Our stories about the pain of unbelief need to be less about torture chambers and more about hospitals.

One related bonus question:  Does grace expire after “The Judgment”?  I was raised with a vision of a sort of timeline of the future where there will come a day when God says “I’m not gotta take it anymore!” and he separates the good people from the bad people, and that’s that.  Period.  Forever.  But with my new understanding of what judgment is—Medicine, not Punishment for law-breaking—this requires re-thinking.  The whole point of the tortures of chemotherapy is the hope that it will eventually cease being necessary.  As Trinitarian worship musician Caleb Miller reminded me this week, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).  We must rehabilitate “eternal punishment”—by #1). Paying closer attention to the meaning of Jesus’ idea of “aionian kolasin” (“age of discipline”) as distinct from the Pharisaical notion of “aidios timoria” (“endless torture”), and #2). Listening to the early church’s take on this issue.  The patristics were not of one voice here, and that’s okay.  Just like it’s okay to pursue diverse notions now.

In case you can’t tell, I haven’t figured all this out yet.  But I hope I’ve started having some almost-coherent questions.  What do you think?  What are the theological and biblical arguments for or against what I’ve said here?  Perhaps even more importantly, what are some other, better questions?

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