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Reflection Paper on the Hybrid Life


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For further reading on the topic today, although not completely finished, check out Pastor Steve’s recent paper.

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Reflection Paper on the Hybrid Life

  2. 2.   2   Introduction The core conviction motivating this paper is that God has indeed created the world, judged the world, and is about the business of saving the world (The Scripture Project 2003, 1). In particular this paper will focus on God’s method of saving the world through what the Bible calls in 2 Corinthians 5:18, the “ministry of reconciliation.” Although this paper will reference God creating and judging the world, the focus will be weighted far more in the direction of how God is saving the world through the ministry of reconciliation. Furthermore, implications will be addressed regarding the individual Christian and corporate church – His chief agency in that reconciling work. Shortcomings of the Modern Church and its Evangelical Theology A presupposition of this paper is that the scientific method applied to exegesis and theology during the Modern Era of Christianity has unfortunately narrowed the story of God saving the world down to purely a matter of functional evangelism. This functional evangelism puts all its proverbial eggs in one basket concerning the ability of the church to effectively broker relational reconciliation between God and humanity in the form of repentance and conversion. Evangelical mid-twentieth century commentaries such as The Beacon Bible Commentary steeped in theological modernity interpret the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20 as a summary of the whole Gospel. This summarization gives the impression that the purpose of the church’s ministry is to technically reconcile God and humanity to the exclusion of any further reconciliation, namely reconciliation of races, the physical and spiritual, or church and culture (Earle, Sanner, and Childers 1964, 254). This myopic reduction of the Great
  3. 3.   3   Commission is even more focused in another mid-twentieth century work, The Pulpit Commentary. It’s interpretation of the Great Commission passage seems to advocate a conversion-oriented evangelism confirmed by baptism as the only agenda item concerning the ministry of reconciliation (Excell, Spence 1950, 652-657). It appears that in the late twentieth century, Evangelical Christian theology has not come very far from the aforementioned position. Here we would do well to survey a more contemporary theological understanding of the ministry of reconciliation by engaging more recent systematicians. Millard J. Erickson, a recognized Protestant evangelical theologian, indicates in his Christian Theology work that the end product of Christ’s atoning work is essentially to reconcile the estranged relationship between God and humanity. Erickson’s understanding of the atonement progresses through sacrifice, propitiation, and substitution – leading to the ultimate end point of the Gospel, namely that of relational reconciliation between God and the human being (Erickson 1985, 811-815). Another influential contemporary Protestant evangelical systematician is Wayne Grudem. Grudem tracks Erickson closely on the topic of Christ’s atonement, in that the chief goal is reconciliation between God and the human being to the exclusion of all other equally relevant reconciling (Grudem 1994, 580). Albeit in the expected order of reconciliation, the mediating work of Christ naturally reconciles the estranged creature to its Creator first. Yet the extent of Christ’s reconciling work surely continues into every aspect of creation. In limiting the extent of the atonement of Christ by modern evangelical thinkers to merely a working out of the relational differences between God and the human being, it would be natural for the average Christian to surmise that the end point
  4. 4.   4   for the Great Commission ministry of reconciliation is the moment of conversion. In other words, when the sinner says “Amen” at the end of the “sinners prayer,” the ministry of reconciliation is complete. Furthermore, when both Erickson and Grudem address the extent of the atonement, they limit their treatment to a discussion on the contrast between Armenianism and Calvinism regarding the universality of the atonement (Grudem, 594- 603). Erickson goes slightly further than Grudem does to consider divine healing as included in the atonement (Erickson, 825-841). In this author’s estimation, both Erickson and Grudem do not go far enough to recognize that the reconciling power of the atonement extends far beyond estrangement between God and humanity. It is the intention of this paper to show that the reconciling work of Christ extends much further beyond the initial relational reconciliation of God and human, to the reconciling of humanity and nature, human and human, body and spirit, and between perceived sacred and secular activities. Furthermore, it is the belief of this author that if the Christian church recognized, taught and programed for such a far-reaching ministry of reconciliation – the positive holistic impact on Christian individuals who comprise the church would significantly increase the coherence and effectiveness of the full missio dei. Examples of Shortcomings By the brief survey of evangelical Christian theology offered above, one can easily see how the modern era of Christian exegesis and theology has unwittingly reduced the story of God saving the world to a matter of counting the converted.
  5. 5.   5   However, theologically selling the extent of Christ’s reconciling work short by contemporary evangelical commentators and theologians is only a trifle at the 30,000 foot level so to speak…the real trouble is on the ground in the practical life of the church. It would be naïve to imagine that the limited modern theological understanding of Christ’s reconciling work, as expressed by Erickson and Grudem, has not filtered down into the rank and file of evangelical missionaries, spurring a variety of popular and well intentioned, but incomplete evangelistic initiatives. Most evangelical Christians born before 1980 will upon reflection recall the intense emphasis placed on this functional, conversion-oriented evangelism that emerged from modern Christian theology. Conversion-oriented evangelism efforts such as tract distribution, door-to-door witnessing, citywide crusades, and street drama productions, combined to represent the primary thrust of a modernistic conversion- oriented ministry of reconciliation. Personal evidence of a lingering functional orientation regarding the ministry of reconciliation is the data requested by the 128-year- old ministry-credentialing agency this author reports to. The soteriological data requested in monthly ministry reports is exclusively discrete not dynamic, such as the number of those converted, baptized or sanctified. By using the words “converted” or “baptized” the implication is that a successful ministry of reconciliation can be measured through tallying the number of those repeating the “sinners prayer,” filling out a response card upon the conclusion of an “altar call,” or entering the baptismal pool. Furthermore, this truncated understanding of the ministry of reconciliation can be recognized in popular evangelistic efforts such as The Billion Soul Campaign launched in 2001. The Billion Soul Campaign website counts those being converted on a
  6. 6.   6   perpetual calculator as it ticks up toward the billion soul conversion goal (BillionSoul Network 2013). Although the Billion Soul Campaign is arguably the most popular contemporary evangelistic program, it’s surely not the only. Another popular modernistic evangelistic philosophy that reduces Christ’s reconciling work down to a mere measurable task, is that of the 10/40 Window introduced by Luis Bush in 1989 (Rynkiewich 2007, 219). This initiative is dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission in much the same fashion that the mid-twentieth century commentary’s cited earlier espouse, namely by disseminating the Gospel literally through missionary contact to the most remote parts of the world. The remotest part of the world is defined as a belt that extends from West Africa across Asia, between ten degrees north to forty degrees north of the Equator. Similar to the Billion Soul Campaign, the belief is that once this region of the world is saturated with the Gospel the Great Commission will be literally complete and the Lord will return to end history (Coote 2000, 161). Albeit these evangelical initiatives come from a well-intentioned heart, the unintended consequence is a reduction of the ministry of reconciliation to the classic proverbial iceberg, where conversion is only the tip. This shortsighted and purely functional understanding of the ministry of reconciliation as a vestige from modernity is something that post moderns simply find incoherent. The position of this paper is that the ministry of reconciliation given to the church out of the provisions made by the atonement of Christ, is far less functional and discrete, and far more ontological and dynamic – indeed the bulk of the reconciliation iceberg lies below the surface. In much the same way Simon Chan views the church as less instrumental and more ontological, this author believes that the ministry of
  7. 7.   7   reconciliation is essentially an ontologically holistic experience engaging all aspects of created life, and not a reductionist atomistic experience myopically focused on conversion alone (Chan 2006, 21-24). Therefore, this paper will attempt to articulate from a theological position how a more holistic understanding concerning the extent of Christ’s reconciling work will positively impact the individual Christian experience – naturally generalizing to positively impact the corporate church. To do that effectively, some key terms need to be identified and defined. Key Terms Another core presupposition of this paper is that God created the original human being as a physical and spiritual hybrid. This original human hybrid represented an original synergy that completely integrated both spiritual and physical dimensions in a confluence where no tension existed. Consequently, in the whole of creation there was no tension or disintegration between God and humanity, humanity and nature, between human and human, or between one act and another act. This orientation is not affirming pantheism, but it is affirming that all created life existed in perfect confluent ontological harmony. The problem comes in when humanity commits what Christian theologians call “original sin,” and God judges the world (Erickson 1985, 636). This original sin disintegrated the original synergy of humanity’s physical and spiritual hybrid essence, divorcing the two so to speak, and leading as the Apostle Paul declares – to death (Erickson, 636). In this paper, based on the presupposition that original humans were perfect hybrids of the physical and spiritual, the notion of “original
  8. 8.   8   sin,” and the ensuing consequences of spiritual and physical death, will be understood as dehybridization. Dehybridization is both the expected result of sin and judgment of God. However, God’s plan for saving the world directly relates to a relational, progressive and ultimately complete reconciliation of everything in the original synergy of creation. Therefore, the answer to the dehybridization problem, which concerns God’s story of saving the world through the reconciling work of Christ, will be considered as a holistic rehybridization of the human being and ultimately creation itself. This rehybridization involves the initial conversion nexus of reconciling God and human via repentance and redemption as expressed in modern evangelization. Yet for the purposes of this paper, initial conversion as understood in the modern theological sense, extends far beyond conversion, to reconciling humanity and nature, human and human, and what is generally understood to be the mutually exclusive sacred and secular realms of life, e.g. work and faith, sports and faith, sex and faith. These particular words: hybrid, original synergy, dehybridization and rehybridization, will be used throughout the paper as pertinent theological doctrines are engaged, albeit with some necessary limitations. Limitations Considering the length limits of such a paper, the theological doctrines engaged will be restricted to the most pertinent for the subject matter including the doctrines of: Creation, Christology, Pneumatology and Ecclesiology. Other doctrines such as
  9. 9.   9   Sanctification and Eschatology, will be addressed in the running course of the paper, but not given dedicated space. Since the best place to start a discussion of any important subject is the beginning, the doctrine of Creation as it relates to the interests of this paper will be engaged first. Creation The ministry of reconciliation assumes that there is something to be reconciled. This paper espouses that ontologically the ministry of reconciliation is between the physical and spiritual realms. God represents the spiritual realm, and as assigned by God in Genesis 1:25-28 the physical realm is represented by humanity – both serving as the federal representative of their respective realm. It is assumed that early church theologians such as Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Augustine got it right when they taught that original creation was perfect without flaw (Oden 1992, 139-140). Furthermore, as Brueggemann posits in his commentary on Genesis, the word used in Genesis 1:31 for “very good” not only indicates ontological, functional, and moral perfection, but also aesthetic perfection (Brueggemann 1982, 37). In other words, the original synergy of creation was perfectly beautiful. Presupposing that creation was originally synergistic in every way, one can expect that creation existed in perfect harmony, both internally and externally. Internally in that there was no trace of any intrapersonal dissonance within humanity. Externally there existed no interpersonal dissonance between humans or with nature and humanity, in any sense, or at any level. The physical and spiritual realms were perfectly
  10. 10.   10   integrated and synergistic. The physical realm was in no way antagonistic to the spiritual realm as the Docetists, Gnostics, and Manichaeans argued – indeed the spiritual and physical realm existed in a complete and perfect harmony (Oden 1992, 140). Therefore, perfect creation can be considered an outworking of the perfect will of God. As Erickson puts it, because God is responsible for all physical and spiritual creation, there is no segment of the original physical creation that was devoid of spiritual significance (Erickson 1985, 371). In light of the harmonious hybrid nature of the original creation, it is a natural extrapolation that the original humans were also created with a harmonious hybrid nature. Furthermore, the original human synergy between the physical and spiritual was not only ontologically perfect, but represented a perfect beauty that pleased God deeply according to Genesis 1:31 – for they were created in His own image. The Imago Dei Hybrid In keeping with the biblical narrative of creation, God ensconced the human hybrid as the crown of creation – a creature that fulfilled a unique role in the scope of God’s will for creation. The original human hybrid was an expression of perfect synergy between the physical and spiritual. As seen in the actual creation account of the first Adam, he was initially fashioned of that which was purely physical (dirt). Albeit perfect dirt, Adam was at that point primarily physical – inanimate. However, God fully animated him into a unique hybrid creature as the early church father Tertullian recognized, by breathing into him His very breath or Spirit (McGrath 2011, 345). This
  11. 11.   11   original and perfect full hybridization of the physical and spiritual uniquely equipped humanity for God’s intended purpose. Therefore, according to the eternal wisdom of God it was decided that humanity would serve as the primary nexus between the spiritual and physical. In the Genesis account of creation, it’s clear that God created humans to not only enjoy their perfect hybridization of the physical and spiritual, but to partner with Him as stewards of His love for physical creation by entrusting the caretaking of creation to them He breathed His Spirit into (Walton 2001, 134). Therefore, it can be said that the essence of creation’s harmonious hybrid perfection between the physical and spiritual depended on the continuation of an unbroken covenantal relationship between God and humanity – a union that ultimately could not be depended upon. Dehybridization Presupposing the essence of perfect creation as described in Genesis 1, the original synergy between the physical and spiritual realm, and further that the nexus for this synergy is located primarily in the human hybrid, it rationally follows that the whole of creation depended upon this hybridization. Even more pointedly, considering humanity is described as the world’s designated federal representative and caretaker, creation therefore is ultimately dependent upon this perfect hybridization as it relates directly to humanity’s connection to the life-source of all creation – God. Therefore, it can be said that so goes the life-giving synergy of humanity’s hybridization, so goes the rest of creations life-giving synergistic hybridization. As Sergius Bulgakov puts it in his
  12. 12.   12   characterization of the “people of God,” original pre-fall humanity can be considered as a “divine-humanity” (Chan 2006, 23). This being the case, humanity’s relationship with God is the touchstone for preserving this “divine-humanity,” and secondarily that of “divine-creation.” Reaffirming what was emphasized early concerning creations dependence on humanities hybrid nature, in can be said that so went humanity’s harmony with the Divine, so went creation’s harmony with the Divine – in domino-like effect. In other words, created life depended upon humanity’s connection with the Divine. The account of humanity’s loss of connection to the Divine, as recorded in the 3rd chapter of Genesis is a description of what this paper considers the dehybridization of humanity, and subsequently creation. As was stated earlier, humanity is only fully alive as the breath or Spirit of God indwells it. Therefore, upon humanity’s collusion with the evil one, humanity had the “Breath” knocked out of them. And being emptied of the breath of life, suffocated by sin they died just as God promised them they would if they violated the covenantal relationship implicit in their creation. So it could be said that sin dehybridized humanity and creation followed suit. Now with humanity and creation separated from the Divine, and by default their spirituality, the answer to this dehybridization problem is the reconciliation of humanity to the Divine. The reconciliation between the Divine and human will result in a reverse domino effect that involves the generalized reconciliation between humanity and creation, creation and God, and between human and human – a process summarized by the word rehybridization.
  13. 13.   13   Recreation The Christology of Rehybridization The Imago Dei was expressed in the first Adam by the perfect original synergy of the spiritual and physical – the hybridization of a divine-humanity if you will. The fall of the first Adam resulted in dehybridization, and as a consequence, death for humanity and creation. By Genesis 3, the original expression of the Imago Dei was dead in the first Adam, and the long wait for a second Adam ensued (1 Cor. 15:47). In Jesus Christ, as even indicated by His name, God has provided a second Divine-human Adam. Jesus Christ, as N.T. Wright would say, is God’s answer to setting all things to rights (Wright 2006, 217). Through His incarnation as the God-man, although He was unlike the first Adam regarding eternal Divinity, He was recognized as the first-born (Rom. 8:29) among many humans to be born again, or rehybridized in the fashion of His divine-human likeness. In other words, the incarnation provides the answer in God’s plan to save the world, where the physical that was cut off from the spiritual is reconciled in the God-man Jesus Christ. The goal of the incarnation is ultimately the reconciliation of all things (Colossians 1:20). First is the matter of conversion and redemption in the classic sense where the estranged human creature is reconnected with its Creator – thereby resurrecting that which was dead to new life as a rehybridized divine-human being. And second is the matter of an ongoing reconciliation or rehybridization between God and creation, humanity and creation, human and human, and human act and act. It is this ongoing extended reconciliation or rehybridization that is simply not
  14. 14.   14   addressed in the bulk of standard contemporary Christian theology as noted earlier regarding Erickson and Grudem. However, Jenkins in his Invitation to Theology does better by positing a more inclusive understanding of the atonement. Although he recognizes the atonement as a restoration of the divine-human condition of original creation, he gives the impression that the end game of the atonement is to transport humanity “somewhere else” – rather than making here “something else” through the ministry of reconciliation (Jenkins 2001, 150-151). He gets closer to the understanding of reconciliation espoused in this paper when he references Irenaeus regarding the work of the Spirit relating not only to human salvation, but also to the salvation of creation as a whole. Yet unfortunately Jenkins also stops short of advancing the ministry of reconciliation into all aspects of created life as an equally relevant aspect of Christ’s atoning reconciling work (Jenkins 2001, 197). According to Oden in his summarization of classic Christian theology, it seems that early church theologians had a more expansive understanding regarding the extent of Christ’s ministry of reconciliation. He cites the likes of Basil, Athanasius, and Gregory of Nyssa, as all understanding that the reconciling work of Jesus includes all of creation. Particularly referencing Colossians 1:20, Basil recognizes that the reconciling work of Christ will have restorative effects on corrupt creation equally as it does on corrupt humanity, effectuated primarily through the continuing work of the Holy Spirit (Oden 1992, 688). The Pneumatology of Rehybridization
  15. 15.   15   Whereas the atonement of Christ has provided for the reconciliation of all things, it is the actualization of said reconciliation that the Holy Spirit is charged with. Here again it is the opinion of this author that much of standard contemporary Christian theology seems to stop short of connecting the ministry of reconciliation to daily human grind experiences such as eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31). Certainly the Holy Spirit is sent to continue the reconciling work of Jesus as Turner describes (Turner 1992, 349). Yet as most modern evangelistic thrusts are emphasized, this continued work of reconciliation by the Holy Spirit relates exclusively to conversion, and then to sanctification (Paige 1993, 408-410). No doubt that the Holy Spirit is the prime mover in the ongoing sanctification of every Christian. Yet as Grudem’s treatment of sanctification in his systematic theology indicates, to most contemporary evangelical theologians, the central doctrinal tenant of sanctification is myopic, relating to morality and little else (Grudem 1994, 746-758). Certainly morality is a concern, however the way sanctification is addressed in the theology of modernity seems to be focused on the more behavioral issues of morality. Namely obvious moral issues such as adultery, alcohol abuse, murder, stealing, violence, rather than on the less observable issues of morality such as environmental apathy, sexual manipulation within marriage, lack of physical exercise, and little compassion for the legitimately poor. Therefore, like focusing on measurable conversion-oriented evangelism restricts the ministry of reconciliation, so does a theology of sanctification that focuses on behaviorally moral issues, to the ignoring of a deeper etiology regarding human immorality. This paper is advocating for a theology of sanctification as a work of the Holy
  16. 16.   16   Spirit that is more in keeping with how Jenkins presents the issue. Jenkins advocates for a sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit as the process of making the Christian more like Christ. He does this by avoiding the common trap of emphasizing a simplistic moral sanctification related to behaviorism, indeed Jenkins promotes sanctification more holistically in a manner that involves the entire person – from the amorality of sleep, to the morality of adultery, and everything in between (Jenkins 2001, 203-206). In this way the work of the Holy Spirit conforming the Christian to Christlikeness is not so much getting rid of the sinful nature, as it is rehybridizing the physical and spiritual nature of creation’s original synergy. Consequently, sanctification is less a process relating to behaviorism, and far more a process of restoring the original synergy of the physical and spiritual natures as was perfectly exhibited through the incarnation of Jesus Christ – the Divine-human. In the Divine-human Christ, there was no tension between the physical and spiritual. As the crescendo in God’s plan to save the world, the incarnation shows us the end goal of the ministry of reconciliation, namely rehybridization where there is less and less tension between the physical and spiritual. Now let us turn our attention to implications related to the ministry of reconciliation as it concerns the individual and the church – God’s chief visible agency on the matter. Ecclesiological Implications This author agrees with Chan in that the chief purpose of creation was to provide a context for God to gather a people, not merely to correct a cosmic wrong (Chan 2006, Kindle location 161-165). This is to say that the purpose of creation was not to create
  17. 17.   17   “people” in the general sense, but to create “a people” in the specific sense. Therefore, a necessary presupposition of this position is the anticipation by God of the need to gather a peculiar sub-set of people out of the whole of humanity – the people of God, if you will, gathered from the people of creation. So it could be said that before humanity’s original sin corrupted original synergy by cutting creation off from the spiritual life source of God, all humanity were indeed the “people of God”, existing as perfect hybrids in perfect synergy with God, nature, and each other. Only, subsequent to the dehybridizing effects of sin was the world along with its human caretaker relegated to exist as part of a now dead unspiritual creation. The events of Genesis 3 account for “the people of God” becoming “not-the-people of God.” According to the presupposition above, God anticipated this condition and therefore the need to provide a savior to rehybridize dead humanity and ultimately creation by resuscitating humanity with the breath of His Spirit. According to God’s redemptive providence, Jesus Christ the second Adam of Divine-human synergy appeared on the scene of creation to broker reconciliation of the long estrangement between God and humanity. According to the euaggelion of the New Testament, Jesus died as an acceptable substitute for the first Adam in order to atone for the cosmic crime of original sin. Jesus actually entered into death as the second Adam and defeated death through the resurrection, thereby providing for the reconciliation of all things. Post-resurrection Jesus ascended back to the right hand of God. Subsequently He sent the animating breath of the Holy Spirit to operationalize His provision of reconciliation by empowering those who believed in Jesus as the savior of the world to carry on the ministry of reconciliation – indeed the rehybridization of all things as Paul characterizes
  18. 18.   18   in Colossians 1:19-20 as the primary work of Christ. So in this ecclesiological context, the reconciliation of the Divinity of God and the physicality of humanity in the life of the individual by the wind of the Spirit provide the rehybridizing nexus of modern evangelism’s conversion. This conversion of the individual is the first step toward executing a postmodern missio dei that goes far beyond the “sinners prayer.” No doubt that the genesis of the new people of God starts with the individual. However, as more and more people are converted by the Spirit, and begin a life of rehybridization as occurred in Acts 2-6, the collective of these new persons of God has come to be called the church. The church is a collective of many distinct individuals making up a united body – and this body has been assigned a mission. As Jurgen Moltman said, one of the strongest contemporary impulses toward the renewal of a theological ecclesiology is related to mission (Moltman 1993, 7). However, Moltman understands the mission of God for the individual and the church, not as a decided task to accomplish, but far more an ontological matter inherent in the creation of the new people of God (Moltman 1993, 10). Following Moltman’s lead, this paper recognizes that the missio dei emerges naturally out of a rehybridized humanity, in that the new people of God called the church are to pick up where they left off in Eden, that of being fruitful and multiplying as co-partners with God in stewarding creation. This recovery of the original divine-human caretaker/partnership regarding the health and well-being of all creation is the rest of the euaggelion iceberg. It lies just below the surface of the ministry of reconciliation, whereas discussed earlier modern evangelism is concerned only with the tip – that of conversion.
  19. 19.   19   Practical Implications for the Church According to Jesus in Acts 1:8, the very rehybridizing breath of God in the form of the Holy Spirit has been for a second time, poured out on humanity primarily to make the church a living breathing witness of God’s desire for reconciliation. This is initially and necessarily experienced through conversion. Therefore, as on the day of Pentecost, Peter established the pattern of preaching and teaching as the front line so to speak in the evangelistic effort. Consequently the church, as an order of first priority, needs to have a strong emphasis on evangelism for the sake of conversion so the “not- people” of God might become the “people of God” as John 1:12 indicates can happen through adoption. However, as Moltman is quick to point out, “evangelism is the mission, but the mission is not merely evangelism (Moltman 1993, 10-11).” The missio dei of the church cannot stop with a good rate of conversion under its belt. The church must press forward, seeking to recover thoroughly the memory traces of Eden for the individual Christian. In light of this, the church would do well to promote and teach the original synergy of creation, and encourage individual members of the body to no longer be conformed to the dehybridized ways of this world, but have their minds renewed by the Spirit toward a rehybridized life where they even eat and drink to the glory of God. Therefore, the ministry of reconciliation must include intentional and strategic teaching for the new people of God on the true extent of the atonement of Christ. An atonement that extends into every aspect of a Christian’s life, including but not limited to glorifying God with his/her money, sex, exercise, racial relations, work,
  20. 20.   20   attitude, politics, social action, and compassion for the poor. When churches accommodate the dehybridization of the sacred and secular by promulgating a come to church rather than be the church mentality, the church is part of the dehybridization problem, not the rehybridization solution (McNeal 2009,19). The witness of the Spirit- filled church must be that conversion makes a greater difference in the whole life of the Christian, rather than conversion meaning merely church attendance. In addition to conversion and church attendance, the extent of the atonement must also be revealed in the programing of the church as a whole. Some things individuals can do best, but some things only a group can do best. For instance consider the exponential difference at the social level that can be made by the church as a group rather than any one individual can make alone. The local expression of the universal church has the potential to identify specific community issues that an individual cannot touch, but the corporate church can. Therefore, the rehybridized divine-human church must embody the interest of Christ the head as articulated by Jesus Himself in Luke chapter four, namely that the corporate new people of God be concerned about the captive, blind, oppressed, and poor on a local and global level. This interest in the ongoing reconciliation of all things must be an equally important dimension of the church’s ministry of reconciliation. In summary when a church believes God’s plan to save the world is through the ministry of reconciliation, it will operationalize that belief in the following three ways. One, by promoting a strong evangelistic emphasis oriented toward conversion. Two, by actively teaching the extent of the atonement as permeating every aspect of human life, to the point where intentional programing such as in small group ministry is designed to
  21. 21.   21   promote accountability of the holistic rehybridized Christian life. Thirdly, by strategically identifying and intervening in the most significant social impediments to community health and well-being. Then according to this paper’s position, it can be said that this church is well on its way to embodying the ontological purpose of the ministry of reconciliation through rehybridization. Conclusion Described by Genesis 2, the hybrid dimensions of creation, the physical and spiritual, were integrated and held in a life-giving perfect synergy where there was no tension. As it turned out in Genesis 3 with the introduction of sin through the first Adam, the hybrid dimensions of human nature – the physical and spiritual – dehybridized and death ensued as a consequence. However, the providence of God provided for the death of creation as it was cut off from its life source, through the sending of a second Adam – Jesus Christ. The ultimate intention of the incarnate Divine-human Christ was to provide through the atoning sacrifice and resurrection of His own life, the opportunity to reconcile all things back to God. This ministry of reconciliation was intended to be both positional and progressive. Consequently the ongoing nature and work of the ministry of reconciliation as spoken of by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:18 is given to the church and must reach far beyond conversion. Indeed the bulk of the ministry of reconciliation that God has given the church is the ministry of reconciling the original hybrid components of human nature, namely those of the physical and spiritual – including humanity to nature, human-to-human, and human act to act. This ministry of reconciliation through Christ alone, empowered by the Holy Spirit alone, and perpetuated through the church alone, is the manner whereby God is saving the world.
  22. 22.   22   REFERENCES Billion Soul Network. (accessed June, 2014).   Brueggemann, Walter. 1982. Interpretation A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Genesis. Atlanta: John Knox Press. Chan, Simon. 2006. Liturgical Theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. Childers L. Charles, Ralph Earle, and A. Elwood Sanner. 1964. Beacon Bible Commentary: Matthew through Luke. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press. Coote, Robert T. 2000. “‘AD 2000’ and the ‘10/40 Window’: A Preliminary Assessment.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research April, 2000. Davis, Ellen F., and Richard B. Hays. 2003. “Nine Theses on the Interpretation of Scripture.” In The Art of Reading Scripture. Edited by Ellen F. Davis and Richard B. Hays. Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans Publishing Co. Erickson, Millard, J. 1986. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company. Excell, Joseph F. and H. D. M. Spence. 1950. The Pulpit Commentary: Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grudem, Wayne. 1994. Systematic Theology; An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Jenkins, Michael. 2001. Invitation to Theology: : A Guide to Study, Conversation and Practice. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. McGrath, Alister E. 2011. The Christian Theology Reader. United Kingdom: Wiley- Blackwell. McNeal, Reggie. 2009. Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Moltman, Jurgen. 1993. The Church in the Power of the Spirit. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Oden, Thomas C. 1992. A Systematic Theology: Classic Christianity. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Paige, T. 1993. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Hawthorne, Gerald F. Martin, Ralph P. and Reid, Daniel G. eds. Downers Grove/Leicester: Intervarsity Press.
  23. 23.   23   Rynkiewich, Michael A. 2007. “Corporate Metaphors and Strategic Thinking: ‘The 10/40 Window’ in the American Evangelical Worldview.” Missiology: An International Reveiw Vol. XXXV, No. 2 April, 2007.   Turner, M. M. B. 1992. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Green, Joel B. Marshall, I. Howard and McKnight, Scot, eds. Downers Grove/Leicester: Intervarsity Press. Walton, John H. 2001. The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Wright, N.T. 2006. Simply Christian: Why Chrisianity Makes Sense. New York, NY: Harper Collins.