Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Holiness is Indicative and Imperative

John Webster, professor of Systematic Theology at University of Aberdeen, provides another way of saying what I’ve been trying to say:

Evangelical sanctification is not only the holiness the gospel declares but also the holiness that the gospel commands, to which the creaturely counterpart is action. Holiness is indicative; but it is also imperative; indeed, it is imperative because it is the indicative holiness of the triune God whose work of sanctification is directed towards the renewal of the creature’s active life of fellowship with him.

Indicative holiness is no mere inert state in which we find ourselves placed and which requires nothing of us beyond passive acquiescence. Indicative holiness is the revelation of the inescapable conclusion under which our lives have been set—namely, that as those elected, justified, and sanctified by the mercy of God, we are equally those who are determined for the active life of holiness. Because grace is ‘double grace’, it is election to activity.

Double grace is always, of course, wholly grace; the active life of holiness is never apart from faith’s assent to God’s sheer creativity. But in a Christian theology of the holy life, grace is duplex, extending into the generation, evocation and preservation of action. ‘Grace’—which is, of course, nothing other than a shorthand term for the great history of God’s mercy, at whose centre is the passion and resurrection of Christ and his sending of the Spirit—is the gift of life, and life is active holiness in company with the holy God. (Holiness, 87)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Tribute to Gene W. Hoyle, my Father.

Father's Day 2011

If I have any weakness as a father, I have only myself to blame. In this age of victims, dysfunctional families, and easy alibis, I simply have no excuse. I was blessed with wonderful role models in my father and mother. Their lives are an enduring testimony of faithfulness to God and family. So if I have any strength as a father, it is only because I stand on the shoulders of a giant.

My dad is part of that generation called the "builders," sometimes referred to recently as, "the greatest generation ever." He has throughout his adult life always held down more than one job to make ends meet. He is a man of surpassing faithfulness to his church, family, and principles. He tithes to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ over his finances, and taught his children to do the same. He instilled in us a love for the Word of God by reading the scriptures to us, when we were very young, as we lay in bed each night.

My father is a pure man in a sex-soaked society. He is pure in speech and pure in mind. I've never known him to tell an off-color joke, or look lustfully at another woman. He taught his children modesty and chastity through the fidelity and respect he shows to my mom, his wife of nearly 60 years.

My father is full of joy. His greatest charm is that he truly loves people. He has made friends everywhere because of his willing smile, a servant’s heart and genuine emotions.

My father is the most courageous man I have ever known. Everyone regards him as a man of integrity and principle. Dad has the courage of his convictions. As the member of an historically pacifist church, he was a conscientious objector during the Korean war, but unlike many to follow in the next decade, he did not flee to Canada or elsewhere to escape his obligation to his country. He traveled for the government and tested milk on mid-Michigan dairy farms. (His other option was to drive ambulance.)

My father is what the world would call “a common man,” yet he has managed to leave an enduring legacy for his own children & grandchildren. What frightens me is that I am capable of undoing, in one generation, all that has been entrusted to me. One generation is all it takes; one generation is all we have. Oh Lord, let me have the same courage to pass this legacy on to my children.

As fathers, we have an obligation to give even more than we received. Let us father our families in such a way that when we die, our children will be able to stand on our shoulders and say, I had such a wonderful father that if I have any weakness as a father, I have only myself to blame.

I love you Dad, Happy Father's Day!