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Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church

ISBN: 9781441248886

Digital Logos Edition

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Accomplished theologian J. Todd Billings recovers the biblical theme of union with Christ for today’s church, making a fresh contribution to the theological discussion with important applications for theology and ministry. Drawing on Scripture and the writings of figures such as Augustine, Calvin, Bavinck, and Barth, Billings shows how a theology of union with Christ can change the way believers approach worship, justice, mission, and the Christian life. He illuminates how union with Christ can change the theological conversation about thorny topics such as total depravity and the mystery of God. Billings also provides a critique and alternative to the widely accepted paradigm of incarnational ministry and explores a gospel-centered approach to social justice. Throughout, he offers a unique and lively exploration of what is so amazing about being united to the living Christ.

Essential for students, scholars, pastors, and laypeople, this informative volume brings fresh perspectives on theological matters. With the Logos Bible Software edition, searching by topic or Scripture references will further help your understanding—you’ll compare, for example, the systematic theologies of various scholars or denominations.

Resource Experts
  • Presents the idea of a theology of union with Christ
  • Examines the ways union with Christ can affect different aspects of Christian life
  • Builds upon Scripture and the works of Augustine, Calvin, and others
  • Salvation as Adoption in Christ: An Antidote to Today’s Distant yet Convenient Deity
  • Total Depravity in Sin, Total Communion in Christ: How the Bondage of the Will Mirrors a Theology of Salvation as Communion
  • Encountering a Mystery in Union with Christ: On Communion with the Incomprehensible God
  • The Gospel and Justice: Union with Christ, the Law of Love, and the Lord’s Supper
  • Ministry in Union with Christ: A Constructive Critique of Incarnational Ministry

Top Highlights

“what is so amazing about God’s action in uniting believers to Christ?” (Page 2)

“The power of God’s salvific action in uniting us to Christ is connected to the utter powerlessness of sinners to save themselves.” (Page 36)

“The Christian life, involving the mortification of the flesh, is a restoration of who we were created to be.” (Page 44)

“Again, this characterization of the imago Dei makes sense with Calvin’s view of humanity: to be fully human is to be united to God, and although sin seeks autonomy from God, there is still a trace of this union with or participation in God in all humanity.” (Page 44)

“Calvin uses the image of adoption as a way to describe the double grace of justification and sanctification received in union with Christ. Calvin understood that as an image for salvation, the act of becoming adopted is a legal, forensic action, but it has another dimension as well: as an image for the way Christians are to act as children of the Father who promises ‘to nourish us throughout the course of our life.’” (Pages 20–21)

An important book on an important topic. Billings brings his expertise regarding Calvin to bear not only on misconceptions about the great Reformer, but also on contemporary misconceptions of Christ and Christian ministry. He offers an accessible and rewarding study, demonstrating that the centrality of union with Christ can solve many theological problems in a way that has direct practical significance for today.

George Hunsinger, Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

Drawing upon the likes of Augustine, Calvin, Bavinck, and others, Todd Billings ably demonstrates why the biblical truth of union and communion with God has had such historical and theological significance. Thankfully, he doesn’t leave us out of the story. Along the way he highlights why union with Christ continues to matter for our understanding of the Christian life, making insightful connections between adoption and participation, incomprehensibility and accommodation, justice and Eucharist, grace and action. Let Billings take you into a deeper appreciation of what it means to be united to Christ—you won’t regret it.

Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College

  • Title: Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church
  • Author: J. Todd Billings
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2011
  • Logos Release Date: 2013
  • Pages: 192
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Christian life › Reformed authors; Jesus Christ › Person and offices; Mystical union; Reformed Church › Doctrines
  • ISBNs: 9781441248886, 9780801039348, 1441248889, 0801039347
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-01-24T18:25:44Z

Dr. Billings approaches the discipline of theology with a commitment to the ministry of the church. His varied experience in Christian ministry includes work in community development in Uganda, teaching theology in Ethiopia, working on staff at a Boston-area homeless shelter, and serving his local church in various leadership roles. He is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. Dr. Billings’s special interests include Reformed theology, the sacraments, salvation, and theological hermeneutics. His first book, Calvin, Participation, and the Gift: The Activity of Believers in Union With Christ (Oxford, 2007) won a 2009 Templeton Award for Theological Promise, awarded internationally for the best first books of scholars in theology and religious studies. He is also author of The Word of God for the People of God: An Entryway to the Theological Interpretation of Scripture (Eerdmans, 2010), and co-editor of Calvin’s Theology and Its Reception: Disputes, Developments, and New Possibilities (Westminster John Knox, 2010). Dr. Billings has lectured in Europe, South Africa, and the United States, and has published in a variety of journals, including Modern Theology, Harvard Theological Review, Missiology, and International Journal of Systematic Theology, as well as periodicals such as Christianity Today, The Christian Century, and Sojourners. II


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