Session 3: Scott Roley – Adoption and the Pursuit of Racial Reconciliation
Scott’s basic thesis was that the greatest picture of the gospel’s work in our life is the adoption of unwanted children. He consistently showed that it was not his strength to do what was done (adopting/fostering transracially and living in a broken community while doing it), and highlighted the power of the gospel to sustain in the midst of his own weakness and cowardice. I was refreshed by his honesty, and his knowledge of the gospel’s power for endurance in difficulty.
Secondly, he spent a considerable amount of time talking through the community of God as one eternal community of diversity, and transracial adoption is a tangible display of the reality that every tribe, tongue and nation is adopted into God’s family. His point is that we were meant to be God’s family of all races, and race relations are estranged because the hearts of people are still in hatred and rebellion.
This was a great pastoral talk, and definitely allowed me to see the beauty of transracial adoption and the effect it has on displaying the kingdom of God.
Session 4: Ed Stetzer – The Gospel, Social Justice, and The Missional Church
Ed Stetzer’s basic question of his talk was “how can we be the good news without losing the centrality of the proclamation of the gospel?” The talk was a discussion on the interaction of evangelism and social justice through the lens of the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of Paul.
In Luke 4, Jesus inaugurates his public ministry by quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, essentially saying that justice is coming down to earth. The ministry of Jesus was BOTH healing the sick and caring for the poor AND seeking and saving the lost. One of the basic points he made is that often the The Great Commandment and The Great Commission are pitted against one another, when they are two sides of the same coin.
Stetzer used a couple examples from church history: the explosion of the early church in the 2nd and 3rd century as Christians cared for those affected by plagues and the efforts in the early 1900’s toward global evangelization. The first was a demonstration of the power of deed ministry when coupled with word ministry – the church exploded! The second was an example of how widening your view of evangelism to include deed based ministry can derail movements of the gospel, as it did around the turn of the century.
Stetzer landed the plane by simply stating that our mission is to join Jesus in his mission, which is one single mission with many facets. The church is on the same mission to serve people and proclaim that salvation is found in Christ alone, and we need a dual fidelity to that ministry. In closing, he said “social justice is close to the heart of God and should be to ours, but we should not be so naïve to think we won’t repeat the failures of history. Speak of justice, they will praise you, speak of Jesus they will hate you.”
We cannot speak of justice without speaking of Jesus, and we cannot speak of Jesus without speaking of justice.
I only caught part of Session 5 with Michael Easley, but he focused much of his time on understanding the Hebrew notion of the alien, the orphan and the widow. Lastly, I missed the final session with Dr. Russell Moore, but heard it was excellent. I’m going to try to catch it online this week…