Chapter 1 The Hidden Dispensation
Chapter 2 The Eluded Covenant of Life
Chapter 3 Justification And The Faithfulness Of Christ
Chapter 4 The Restoration Of All Things
Chapter 5 Progressive Revelation
Chapter 6 The Mystery Of Evil
Chapter 7 The Theodicy
This book arose from a “prophetic insight” the author experienced a few summers ago. It was too expansive and radical to be endorsed by any particular church, especially as it challenges the Western Church’s traditional Augustinian-derived teaching on captivity of the will and one-dimensional grace, together with the narrow, fatalistic providence that results from it. The theodicy (chapter seven) explores a related mystery: the purpose of historical human suffering, overseen as it has been by a merciful, magnanimous and sovereign deity. The author draws largely from canonical scripture paying careful attention to the New Testament Greek, but also takes account of the witness of the earliest (apostolic) Church Fathers who unlike Augustine and later writers were not dependant on biblical exegesis alone but had heard the gospel and its essential soteriology from the apostles themselves or their immediate appointees. He adduces that historical global suffering, plurality of religions and doctrinal confusion within the churches amounting to what might seem from a human perspective to be divine mismanagement is explicable and serves a positive purpose within the providential context of what churches of the Eastern tradition allude to as the divinization of humanity or theosis.
It is primarily the author’s wish that suitably adept readers open their hearts and minds and consider what he believes the Bible is teaching and the Spirit is saying to the Churches if, as he suspects, we are approaching the last days of current arrangements on Earth. The writer’s claim for such isights to be prophetic may be supported by the fact that the new scriptural interpretations accomplish an unprecedented degree of biblical coherence. Richard Barker, who was for the last thirty years of the second millennium a staunch Calvinist is convinced not only that such coherence has been provided but that this very process has been foretold in Scripture, more explicitly so in the non-canonical but (many believe) inspired book of Enoch. If he is right, the restoration of Christ’s fractured Body would also be at hand, not through a humiliating act of concession from one ecclesiological party or the other but by a mutual acknowledgement of error concerning the Church’s role within overall providence – or given that God’s chosen path for His Church has always been progressive revelation, it might be considered an unveiling of an intentionally sustained mystery (cf. Rev10:7).
Paraphrasing the book’s conclusion on the matter: Such an acknowledgment is the one effectual predisposition for the children of the Reformation to be reconciled with their Catholic/Orthodox fathers in the Faith, whilst our Jewish Fathers of the Faith may in turn come to terms with their Gentile children: many of the former having been in error concerning the messianic claims of Jesus of Nazareth, whilst the latter have failed to grasp the substantive nature of God’s earthly promises to His first-choice nation set out in the Old Testament – namely that such are not currently all being fulfilled in a spiritualized or allegorical sense by the Church but have been subverted and (in part) placed on hold as a result of Paul’s misapprehended Good News concerning “the fellowship of the secret (plan)” in which elect Gentiles are unexpectedly added to the royal priesthood of God – a mystery hidden in God the Father from previous generations, even from the authorities and earlier heralds of Heaven itself (Eph3:9-11; cf. Acts1:7).
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