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Today, I begin a new series on the ministry of reconciliation. With each post, I’ll look at the various dynamics of reconciliation in the context of unity, as well as how the ministry of reconciliation supports a multicultural, heterogeneous church environment.

Jan Paron / June 23, 2012

Jesus alone is “the center around which alienated human beings can be drawn together in reconciled fellowship”(Newbigin, 1991, p. 64).

Christ Reconciled the Word to Himself with His Redeeming Work at the Cross

 As ambassadors for Christ, the body of believers uphold the ministry of reconciliation to the multitudes. Ambassadors represent Christ’s redeeming work at the cross in New Covenant ministry to advance reconciled fellowship in Him. This fellowship exists in two forms: horizontal reconciliation and vertical (See below chart.) — Horizontal reconciliation crisscrosses the household of God, binding brethren-to-brethren in one accord and like-mindedness in Christ (Rom 12:16). As such, reconciliation supports the very unity and oneness Jesus prays for in John 17:22, “that they may be one, even as we are one” (KJV). As opposed to horizontal reconciliation that focuses on relationship between believers, vertical dwells on fellowship between God and His elect through Jesus Christ to unite them as one with their heavenly Father.

(Paron, 2012, Ambassadors for Christ)

For the purpose of restoring and maintaining full reconciliation, both vertically and horizontally, God gives us this ministry. Ambassadors for Christ must extend grace and bring others into harmony with Him through their word and deed, whether directed to the brethren from the household of God or a single person (2 Cor 5:18). No person or people group should feel alienated from God or fellow brethren. Oneness in Christ always must prevail.

To Ponder

“But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]” (2 Cor 5:18 AMP).

  • How do Christians, as ministers of reconciliation, support unity of the Church?
  • In what ways does the ministry of reconciliation impact diversity in the local church?

References

  • Brandon web. (n.d.)  Respecter of persons. Retrieved on May 29, 2012, from http://www.brandonweb.com/sermons/sermonpages/james10.htm
  • Colon-Emeric, E. (2012). The Mestizo symphony of heaven. Divinity Magazine. (11) 2. Retrieved on June 2, 2012, http://divinity.duke.edu/community-student-life/divinity-magazine/spring-2012/mestizo-symphony-heaven
  • Cornwall, R. (1995). The ministry of reconciliation: Towards a balanced understanding of the global mission of the Christian church (Disciples of Christ).  Lexington Theological Quarterly.
  • Farrant, B. & Farrant, S. (2012). Bridges of reconciliation: It’s all about grace. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishers.
  • Furnish, V. (2005). 11 Corinthians. New Haven, CO: Yale University Press.
  • Newbigin, L. (1991). Truth or tell: The Gospel as public truth. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.
  • Rice, C. and Katongole, E. (Spring 2012). A Christian vision for reconciliation. Divinity Magazine. (11) 2. Retrieved on June 2, 2012, from http://divinity.duke.edu/community-student-life/divinity-magazine/spring-2012/christian-vision-reconciliation?page=2
  • Rice, C. and Katongole, E. (2008). Reconciling all things: A Christian vision for justice, peace and healing. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.
  • Samuel, V. and Sugden, C. (eds). (1999). Mission as transformation. Oxford, UK: Regnum.
  • Thompson, J. (2006). Pastoral ministry according to Paul: A biblical vision. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
  • Tizon, A. Transformation after Lausanne: Radical evangelical mission in global-local perspective. Eugene, OR: Wiph & Stock.
  • Turner, D. (1989). Paul and the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2. Criswell Theological Review. 4.1(pp. 77-95).
  • Willmer, H. (July & October 2007). Vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ in Paul’s theology of reconciliation in the letter to the Romans. Transformation. (24) 3.
  • Witherington, B. Conflict and community in Corinth: A socio-rhetorical commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans’s Publishing.

Cross Image: Retrieved on June 23, 2012, from  http://reconcilingtheworld.org/?News