I began this website for several reasons. At various times, I have attempted to put up a site to share my own thoughts and ideas about theology and the nature of the church. Each time, my own "interest" in the project got in the way of the project itself. Lately, as I have been reading more, especially in the works of Ray Anderson (see under Readings), I am reminded that the presentation of the Gospel is not about what we want to say or others to know. The foundation of the Gospel is the good news which was presented to us in the Covenant between God and His people and ultimately through the ministry of His Son, Jesus, to us, through his life, death and resurrection. The good news is the content which is presented to us, and then to others, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit as we allow the grace and mercy which we have experienced to touch the lives of those around us. In that "touch," the ministry of Jesus, to us, reaches out to others. St Paul could request to be imitated (I Cor 4:16; 2 Thess 3:9) by those in the churches to the extent that his actions, his love, his ministry to them, was that which he also had received of the Lord. So this site is dedicated to my challenge of letting the Spirit lead my thoughts as together we explore the work we have as ambassadors of Christ.
Secondly, my desire is to disseminate the thinking of Ray Anderson to those in the church, both lay and otherwise, so that your own theological foundations might be shored up and the work in ministry that you do might continue with power and authority. But, as started the paragraph above, our "continuing" is not out of your power or your authority, bu the power and authority of the one who was/is "a servant of all." Theology, as a field of study is a secondary activity to the work of faithful obedience to the Spirit of Jesus in your ministry. Theology is a serious attempt to engage with the biblical antecedents to your actions to reflect on the paradigms already spread before us and to call ourselves into question as to the ministerial integrity of our words and actions. It is a task of the church also to discern where the Spirit of God is producing freedom in humanity, a freedom consistent with the freedom of God and to revel in the God of history who has granted to us this time to participate with him in his "reconciliation of the world to himself" (2 Cor. 5:19).
What I intend therefore, is a "blog" (in modern lingo), or a collection of musings, or papers, etc., about the journey of discerning the implications of the paradigmatic cores of the biblical stories such that our faith and confidence in the God of the Scriptures might be built up. There are challenges in the world at every stage of its pragmatic history. Our calling, as Christians, is to bring the Gospel to bear on that history with integrity and truth. We are to stand within history but not so as to be conformed by the cultural trends and thoughts of the time, but to "bring all thoughts captive" under the authority of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)
A note about Ray Anderson (1925 - 2009), in whose memory this site is dedicated:
Dr Anderson was for many years Professor of Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. As a student at Fuller from the Fall of 1975 to the Spring of 1978, it was a joy (and intense challenge) to attend his classes and to engage from time to time with him in his office, the student lounge or cafeteria. He offered a series of courses which finally gained the right to be alternatives to the standard Systematic Theology courses. His thinking was organic and fluid, full of passion and paradigms. He himself had studied under Donald MacKinnon and Thomas Torrance, getting his PhD at Edinburgh, as well as drinking deeply from the well of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Soren Kierkegaard. One of the more remarkable aspects of Ray's life was his commitment to church pastoral work in which role he served for years while teaching. Coming from the farmland of North Dakota, Ray used the lessons of his youth and stories of his parents to punctuate and illustrate the lessons of church and faith. He himself attended Fuller and was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Free church where he served in the 60's before heading to Doctoral work abroad. I have three binders of sermons bequeathed to me by one of Ray's parishioners at the time, Don Farrer. His insights and maturity of thought can be seen even in those early days.
Having passed away in 2009, Ray has left us a legacy of writings which challenge and inspire us to think theologically and instinctively out of the Ministry of Jesus and the History of God's dealings with his people. In a work entitled "Reading Ray S. Anderson, Theology as Ministry, Ministry as Theology," (Pickwick Pub, 2010) Christian Kettler starts his preface this way, "There is a simple reason for this book; to encourage more people to read Ray S Anderson." May you be strengthened in your Christian faith and ministry by what you read and ponder in the pages which follow.