I had the privilege of representing Vanguard University at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society held this year in San Diego, CA, November 20-22. The venue for this year’s meeting was the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Almost immediately after checking in, I took this picture of the evening view from the room.
Then, I dutifully conducted an online class session (Theological Themes of the New Testament) right there in my hotel room!
Unfortunately, the view the next morning was pretty gloomy. Except for the celestial city this photo captured a glimpse of, the skies were quite gray.
(I must admit my heart skipped a beat when I looked at this pic on my phone later in the morning! It’s actually the reflection of the hotel room lamp reflected in the window’s glass.)
The 2019 Meeting Theme
The theme of this year’s meeting was “Christ in All Scripture.”
However, the morning breakout session in which I made my presentation focused on the theme of practical theology/homiletics—i.e., all the papers presented focused on leadership and preaching issues.
Thus, my paper, which focused on how to present Paul’s “armor of God” discussion in a way that’s both exegetically responsible and existentially impactful fit right in!
There’s need for a treatment of Ephesians 6:10-20 that, precisely because it’s Spirit-sensitive in its approach, is catalytic (change effecting) as well as exegetically careful.
Then, I went on to provide them with:
An Overview of the Aim and Method of the Paper:
Identifying the basic contours of what an accurate yet life-story shaping understanding of Paul’s “armor of God” discussion might look like is what this essay aims to accomplish.
After identifying some of the key earmarks of what I consider to be an exegetically responsible handling of this passage, I will discuss what a pneumatologically real interpretation of, and approach to, putting on the full armor of God might look like.
Along the way, the reader will, I trust, intuit some of the pastoral implications of a Spirit-sensitive understanding of this famous but often neglected biblical passage.
In the end, I’m hopeful the interpretation of Ephesians 6:10-20 presented in this paper might function as a helpful resource for church leaders as they take seriously their responsibility to encourage and equip their parishioners to put on (and keep on) the full armor of God.
A lively time of interaction followed my presentation, though I was somewhat surprised by the fact that many of the questions focused not on my advocacy for a Spirit-sensitive engagement with this critical formation text, but my observation regarding the increasing number of students from Christian homes who arrive at the Christian university in which I teach already having adopted a post-Christian perspective, or possessing an inclination to do so.
Words of hope and promise:
Just think of it: more young adults arriving at Christian and secular colleges and universities already suited up in the armor of God and thereby steeled against the post-Christian impulse that’s rife in our culture due to the insidious influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil!
I’m convinced that providing church members (of all ages) with some Spirit-sensitive endurance training is a big part of what pastoring is about. Or should be. Once again, I hope this paper helps.
In any case, I’m pleased the presentation proved to be stimulating, and that those in attendance gained a positive impression Vanguard University—a Christian liberal arts university that is committed to helping students develop the capacity for a vibrant, fruitful, enduring walk with Christ.
My sincere thanks to everyone in the offices of the Provost and the Institute for Faculty Development for their support in this endeavor.
Soli Deo Gloria!