Creation is never an extra in Christian faith; it is foundational. All else moves outward from there. That idea is not always as obvious as it should be. It is easy to flip things around and think of God as the Redeemer who also creates, rather than as the Creator who also redeems. But that would be a mistake borne of placing ourselves at the center of the universe, rather than the one who truly belongs there – God.
Christian faith is deepened and enriched when we get the order right. This is especially true in the arena of evangelism, where our focus is often on individuals and our fervent hope that they might come into relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no doubt this is an extremely important focus. Yet, where we begin a journey often has a significant impact on where we find ourselves at the end. Thus, where we begin our thinking about evangelism is very important.
The faith we receive when we encounter Jesus Christ is faith in a Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course, the second person of the Trinity is vital; but our creeds remind us of the order: we believe in the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. Starting there widens the scope of redemption considerably – it is indeed good news for all creation.
When the essence of evangelism, those values that lie beneath our practices, rests firmly on an understanding of our Triune God, there will be a consistent ethos, a “way of being in the world,” that colors all our efforts, regardless of where we live or the distinctive aspects of our culture.
As Christians, we worship a creating, redeeming, sustaining God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the God who redeems not only human beings, but the entirety of creation, which Paul tells us is even now groaning as God continues to work within it for God’s redemptive purposes.
We worship a creating, redeeming, sustaining God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the God who is working, even now, to eliminate evil and bring to fruition the justice and peace of the kingdom inaugurated in Jesus of Nazareth. It is this God who creates. It is this God who redeems.
Adapted from Dr. Kim Reisman’s “Embrace” faith-sharing study.