The first several installations of Blog Spotlight Monday are going to be major blog influences of mine. John Armstrong's blog is no exception. I first came across John at a ministry conference of his in 1997 held at the church I attended at the time. His ministry during that period was called Reformation and Revival. I kept in occasional contact with him for several years, and then when I discovered him online after the internet revolution gained speed, we re-connected in a much stronger way. John and I have had similar theological journeys, and I owe much to his writing and friendship over the last six years or so.
One thing that makes John stand out to me is his view of the church. Both of us have had a history of a very elite, narrow minded view of the church from within the walls of conservative Calvinism. I was taught early on that Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestant movements such as Arminianism and the Charismatic movement preached false gospels, and that to be a member of those churches (i.e. believed their doctrines) meant that you did not have salvation. John now sees a greater vision of the church, and believes - as I have come to believe - that God places his believers, and many of them, within all the various historical Christian traditions. John works to bridge the gaps between the various traditions as an earthly reality of Jesus' prayer in John 17 that we would all be one.
John believes and teaches what is known as "missional-ecumenism." In his own words: "Missional-ecumenism is a way of understanding two truths that clearly go together in Scripture and should in practice. The church is first, missional in that she is God's mission in the world, and the God who calls her is an eternally relational being, and second, ecumenical in that she is to be united in Christ and together in relationality as his mission." John is also an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, the oldest continuous denomination in America.
John and I also share a strong love for the game of baseball. He is a lifelong fan of the Braves (boo!) while I am a Giants faithful (yay!). Please read his blog at John H Armstrong.