In chp 7 of The Divine Embrace Robert Webber tells “My Story” of God’s embrace. This is not what you think it might be, and for me it reveals the genius of the Ancient Future approach of Webber. “My story” somehow avoids the rampant individualism so that “my story” becomes “God’s story.” The capacity to tell my story as God’s story is what Webber offered to his students for years, and I’d love to hear some of his students speak up about this today.
How has Webber’s theology shaped you?
How do people response to God’s embrace?
Baptism. After Peter preached at Pentecost, the folks responded with “What shall we do?” Peter’s response: “Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit.” That’s how “God’s story” becomes “my story” and only by telling our story through these is “my story” God’s story!
Repent is the reversal of our present identity: it is a continuous turning away from the old life of union with the First Adam to a union with the Second Adam. It means renouncing Satan and his ways.
Baptism is the mark of our spiritual identity: we are to live out our baptism of death to sin and life in Christ. Webber contends our identity is our baptism, not our conversion. The water is God’s recreative work. It is the physical, tangible sign of God’s new and creating power.
The Holy Spirit is the seal of our new identity: it seals our communion with the Triune God, giving us God’s vision, revealing that our life is now in God’s community, the Church, and it reveals God’s mission as well as God’s victory over evil.
Jesus did all this for us and we, in repentance, baptism and receipt of the Spirit, enter into his life.