Ministry in the Image of God

Church Leadership and Pastoralia

 

 

There is a subtitle for this book, “The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service.”  From this we gain exactly what its emphasis is.  The author is a seminary professor but is not over scholarly in his approach; in fact there is quite a lot of personal anecdote in some chapters that might be a bit ‘over the top.’  The main burden of the book is really very necessary and written well.  It is true that there has been a renaissance of interest and writing in the last fifty years dealing with the doctrine of God as a Trinity of Three Persons but I do not know of another book examining the relationships and manner of life revealed in scripture as belonging to the Trinity and applying these things to the life and ministry of the churches.  Seamands accomplishes this pretty well.  He introduces his subject by an overview of the Trinity and what we could say is ‘Their Life Together” and having broken that down to seven main elements as he sees them he proceeds to apply these to the life and ministry of the church.  We are born from the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit and are children of God, made to participate in the life of the Trinity in our church life and service in the world.  What does this mean?  In Seamands estimation it means relational personhood, that is, that persons are not persons and cannot be persons in isolation but only in relationship to other persons, we receive our identity from self-giving unto others as is true in the Godhead.  Joyful intimacy is the second aspect tackled; it is the foundation of the Life of the Godhead and therefore should be fundamental to the life of the church together.  Glad surrender between the Divine Persons must lead to a similar characteristic among God’s people, just as Father gladly surrenders to the Son and so on within the circle of the Trinitarian Being so each member in the assembly of God’s people thus surrendering gladly also.  The fourth element is complex simplicity.  Here is life in the center of a paradox as it is in God.  Gracious self-acceptance is used to highlight the particularity of Trinitarian Ministry.  The Father is truly the Father, He does not seek to be the Son nor the Spirit, and this is an example of how there are particular roles and gifts granted within the members of the church.  Next comes a chapter on the mutual indwelling, the self giving life of the Trinity, each to the other, so the Lord’s people must learn to ‘live in each other’ in appropriate ways and thereby find their own selves anew.  A chapter on passionate mission closes off the book.  The Father sends the Son, the Son sends the Spirit and the Spirit sends the church sums up the thrust of this chapter.  All in all this book will be a good one for anyone seeking to understand the ‘use’ (terrible word) of the Trinity, what it means for them and for the church.  It will encourage the reader towards God and more intimate service to Him in the churches.

 

 

 

 

Last modified: May 14, 2012

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