In Christianity Today, Eric O. Jacobsen writes about how we understand the new creation

A key to this significant paradigm shift has been a reconsideration of the provocative text in the second half of 2 Peter 3:10. As the King James Version has it, “The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” One common way to understand this text is that the earth and sky (heaven) will be completely annihilated, then later replaced with a brand new heaven and earth.

However, another possibility—and the one that some of the more contemporary translations use—is that the earth and everything on it will be disclosed or laid bare. That is to say, the fire will not annihilate the entire earth, but will refine it by burning away everything that is unworthy (Malachi 3:2-3). This newer translation seems to fit the context better, as the author had just made a parallel reference to the destruction of the Flood, which wreaked havoc on creation but didn’t annihilate everything.

We’ve talked about and argued about this with each other and our readers in the past. We’ve all been up in arms over various doctrines that we are passionate about. And while I believe that our doctrine shapes and defines how we live our lives, I have a hard time believing that we’ve got it all together. Or that those of us who have argued for a refiners fire have let that belief shape us enough. We look at the evil around us with sadness but do nothing to participate in God’s redeeming work. Well, I don’t really think that. I’m sure you do something to that end, but when I see stories like this -

I wonder about the work that the church is participating in. I live an hour away from Indianapolis. Sex trafficking has been on my radar as a problem the church in the U.S. needs to be aware of and working on. We’ve done nothing. 11 Catholic churches worked on this effort. A lot of our churches are invested in a lot of good and Godly work around this world and in their communities. I get that. I encourage that. But this isn’t another tax seminar, or specialized conference, or study series, or the latest book that can be ignored because there is something better to do with our time. This is mercy for the hurting, justice for the abused, humility for the proud.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012 at 12:52 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Devotional, Open Thread, quote. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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2 Comments(+Add)

1   Chris L
February 6th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

FYI, Christian, this was a major focus of Passion 2012, which raised $4MM to combat sex trafficking, including some missions/projects in place for the Super Bowl in Indy. My son, Jordan, was at Passion, and I know the Purdue Campus house was planning something for this weekend, as well…

A couple other notes: Past Super Bowl cities have rounded up the homeless to remove them from the streets during the game weekend. The city of Indianapolis, and many of the churches here, thought that seemed rather hypocritical and inhumane, and they’ve stepped up the effort w/ the homeless and had some special programs this past weekend. Part of the effort, as well, was to remove the “background noise” that hides sex trafficking in plain sight, and to put a lot more eyes and ears on the streets to combat it.

I know a number of churches here in the city that were at work in Indy this weekend. There was also special training I went through, as a Super Bowl volunteer (for the NFL-X early in the week) to recognize and report trafficking.

2   Christian P
February 6th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

That’s good. I’m not sure if there was a lack of press about a lot of that from the Indy news stations or what.

I still see it as a ball that many churches are dropping. I didn’t mean it to be critical of Indianapolis churches, just churches that aren’t doing something, even when the need comes to them.

Thanks for the update.