May 27, 2004

continuous outpouring, continued

I'm going to make it my goal to blog about this book once a week, so that I continue reading it. At a chapter every two weeks, it'll be on into the fall before I'm done, but it is giving me a chance to re-read and let things sink in.

The balance of chapter one is an in-depth stating of Best's concept of worship, built on three foundational concepts:
  1. the concept of continuous outpouring as it describes the nature of God
  2. the doctrine of imago Dei
  3. the sojourn of Christ on earth
Some of his comments on the ramifications of imago Dei:
We were created continuously outpouring. Note that I did not say we were created to be continuous outpourers. Nor can I dare imply that we were created to worship. This would suggest that God is an incomplete person whose need for something outside himself (worship) completes his sense of himself. It might not even be safe to say that we were created for worship, because the inference can be drawn that worship is a capacity that can be separated out and eventually relegated to one of several categories of being. I believe it is strategically important, therefore to say that we were created continuously outpouring - we were created in that condition, in that instant, imago Dei. We did not graduate into being in the image of God; we were, by divine fiat, already in the image of God at the instant the Spirit breathed into our dust. Hence we were created continuously outpouring.1
While the first section of chapter one dealt with the definition of what worship is, this part of the chapter shows it in the light of Christian theology. It addresses all three concepts in the kind of logical detail shown above, acknowledging the possible shortcomings of the definitions, as a preparation for the framework of the rest of the book.

The chapter ends with a summary of our current state: the fall did not mark the end of worship, but the beginning of idolatry: worshipping anything but God alone. But there is hope, because the Continuous Outpourer has come down among us.
We are not left comfortless. Christ has come.2

1Harold M. Best, Continuous Outpouring. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003) 23.
2Best, 26.

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