Monday, May 28, 2007

Vos from Wales

Stephen 'Jonathan Edwards is my Home Boy' Barton got his name from his 'Jonathan Edwards is my Home Boy' t-shirt. Perhaps there could be a range of t-shirts featuring famous preachers/theologians? If there was, I would buy my father the 'Geerhardus Vos is my Home Boy' shirt.
I'm posting my first blog update ever from Wales. After a few days in the south catching up with family, taking in a wedding, I'm now in the north staying with my parents. My Dad's a big Vos fan and put Grace and Glory in front of me this morning. In the chapter 'Heavenly Mindedness', Vos speaks of the connection between faith (and understanding the end of faith) and our mission...

A religion that has ceased to set its face towards the celestial city is bound sooner or later to discard also all supernatural resources in its endeavour to transform this present world.
Three things struck me (not immediately - I have been reflecting!):

  • Vos connects the mission of Christ's church to its understanding of the goal of salvation; this is interesting because I think that there is a strong tendency to 'spiritualise' the goal of our salvation (following good old Plato): the end of salvation becomes 'going to heaven when we die', an intensely spiritualised and individualised salvation, rather than the holistic, corporate and cosmic salvation that we see in the Bible;

  • Vos' warning has been realised to a great extent in the rise of the liberal social gospel in Welsh Christianity; but

  • Vos' assertion that Christianity should aim to transform this present world might seem a million miles away from some strands of Welsh evangelicalism that have tended towards a similar Platonic dualism in emphasising spiritual piety rather than the Kuyperian vision of transforming works of mercy, cultural renewal and public theology.