Last night, we introduced Dawson’s study on the Five Crowns in scripture, a study on rewards. As was evident in our discussion, context is king when it comes to the study of scripture. Dawson attempts to briefly introduce a massive study on the Christian life – specific facets of the Sanctification process – and soteriology (the study of the doctrine of salvation). One of our normative statements in this class is that it is okay to disagree with the book – and I believe this is a place where Dawson’s brevity betrays him.
Dawson’s simplistic introduction amounted to a series of proof-texting without context. A study of the five crowns must not be boiled down to the belief that there are simple trophies awaiting us if we’re faithful in doing good works… but they are the marks of Christian character forged in the very hottest fires of this life. In relational discipleship, the aim is to help another believer grasp the concept that a commitment to Christ is a commitment to Christ-centeredness in every area of life. This is my heart and I pray it was evident last night.
For instance, the crown of life referenced in James must be considered in the context of the letter’s initial audience – those in real persecution. Enduring trial of persecution – at times to the point of martyrdom – is what the “bishop of Jerusalem” was speaking about when writing. Love – as God defines it – calls us to sacrifice and even suffer for the other. Alternatively, it is often the one(s) we suffer for that we fall in love with the most.
Next week, we’ll cover the other four crowns and then consider what they really are – and what we are to do with them.
Here are the slides: ETS-SessionTwo-5Crowsn-P1