by Wye Huxford
I have no experience in the world of first responders – fire fighters, police officers, EMTs, and the like – but I've read enough to know that there is a difference between "rescue" and "recover" in that world.
Where there is hope, the word is "rescue." Where hope is lost, it's "recover." While "recover" is certainly an important task, "rescue" is a much more attractive one.
In Colossians 1:13 Paul seems to be aware of the idea of rescue over recovery when he says, "He has rescued us from the power of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his son, the beloved one.”
The verbs of this text, rescue and transfer, are about as missional as biblical language can be. The gospel not only "rescues" us from the penalties of our sin, but provides a means by which we can walk away from the power of darkness and live in God's kingdom – where, among other things, Jesus has declared himself to be "the light of the world."
If there is a rationale for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been raised and spent in the ministry of EES – and if there is a rationale for the continued ministry of research and education in the areas of early church and modern ministry – it has to be this: we are called to rescue and transfer. One without the other won't work. We aren't sent just to get people "saved from their sin," but to be transferred into the kingdom. We aren't sent to try and transfer people without addressing the rescue issue – you can't have one without the other.
Our generation likes to act as if it created the idea of "relationships." But truthfully, I think we might give God credit for that in the Garden of Eden! And Jesus might deserve a bit of a pat on the back as well. The very way God created us – "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18) – speaks clearly about the idea of relationships.
But relationships, the kind that rescue and transfer, must have an agenda. Why invest in someone? Where are we headed in our relationships? Those are among the kinds of questions we must ask. If we can't give good answers to those questions, should we use the Lord's resources to create the relationships?
Like the world that letters like Colossians seem to be aware of, we stand in a very dualistic world that thinks body and spirit are two different realities – never together. That makes us think we can be rescued, but need not worry about the transfer.
And . . . this isn't just an EES staff issue. We all are called to be agents of rescue and transfer every day, in every place, in every time. Sometimes – most times actually – that means we take advantage of our daily contacts with the idea of rescue and transfer in mind – an agenda! But it also means there are times when we must invest our resources in people we trust to create relationships with agendas. I'm grateful that not only in my daily life do I have such opportunities, but I can also invest in EES/TCMII where I know I can trust people to create relationships with an agenda.
We praise the Lord for the progress made for EES during the past year. Much work preceded the positive results that we now see. Most recently on May 12, Institute Director Beth Langstaff and Office Manager Birgit Hallmann welcomed guests to the official opening of the new office space for the Institute for the Study of Christian Origins. EES President Tony Twist and EES Board Chair Bruce Shields welcomed the Dean of the Protestant Faculty of the University of Tübingen, Professor Jürgen Kampmann, and Professor Michael Tilly. Professor Tilly has been named as the succesor of Dean Kampmann and will assume the role of Dean in October. Other guests included EES Board Members Loren Stuckenbruck, David Wright, Richard Justice Jr., and Deborah Poer.