I was recently asked to comment on a colleague’s draft paper that considers theories of aid and development and a Christian theology of change. To get my thoughts organised I jotted down some of my own thoughts on a Christian theology of change.
We are in God’s world to love God and our neighbour.
We are stewards/ caretakers of God’s creation: of the environment, our neighbours and our relationship with God.
We have been tempted by evil and chosen evil before God.
We have corrupted God’s world through this rebellion against God and God’s ways.
The world is not as it should be; the relationships created by God have been ruptured and all these relationships are bathed in suffering and pain.
God has determined to rescue his rebellious and corrupted world.
Firstly, through his Son, Jesus Christ: The Incarnation, Resurrection, Ascension and the final Restoration of all things in Christ.
Therefore: Return to God through Christ, repent of our rebellion, have faith/trust in Christ and obey God.
Secondly, through the Holy Spirit: At Pentecost the Holy Spirit worked with power to bring people to Jesus Christ through convicting of sin, righteous and judgement. As people return to God in Christ they are incorporated by the Holy Spirit into Christ and into his body, the Church.
The Holy Spirit brings people to Christ and grows in them Christ’s character and gives gifts/ abilities to participate in God’s work in the world.
God invites us to participate in his work in the world by building the Kingdom/ rule of God.
Through the Holy Spirit we are in Christ and members of Christ’s body, the Church:
- we are God’s children and his servants;
- people at prayer;
- readers of the scriptures and celebrants of the sacraments;
- stewards/ caretakers applying our abilities and life experiences;
- messengers of God’s grace carrying invitations of love from the Lover of the world.
- a people being transformed into Christlikeness as we keep in step with the Holy Spirit.
THE FINAL RESTORATION:
History’s end: the return of Christ to rule in glory; humankind’s accountability both as individuals and nations; a new heaven and a new earth; his servants gathered before the throne of God where there are no more tears or pain.