For more on this topic, check out Patrick Schreiner’s latest book, The Ascension of Christ: Recovering a Neglected Doctrine (Lexham).
Church planters are committed to theological clarity, cultural engagement, and missional innovation. It’s imperative we think biblically through all things as we proclaim Christ and disciple believers. One of the more neglected doctrines with significant implications for church planting, though, is the exaltation of Christ through his ascension.
With me today on the podcast to discuss the relationship between Christ’s ascension and church planting is New Testament scholar Patrick Schreiner. Patrick is an author, podcaster, and professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Tony Merida: Welcome to “Churches Planting Churches,” a podcast on the theology and practice of church planting. I’m your host, Tony Merida . Acts 29 is a diverse global family of Church Planting Churches. We’re committed to theological clarity, cultural engagement, and missional innovation. We aim to train up and send out pastors to reach the nations for God’s glory.
As men and women of theological integrity, it’s imperative we think Biblically through all things as we proclaim the gospel and disciple believers. With me on the podcast today to discuss the relationship between the doctrine of the ascension and church planting is New Testament scholar, Patrick Schreiner. Patrick is an author, a podcaster, and Professor now at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Patrick, welcome to the podcast.
Patrick Schreiner: Thanks, Tony. Appreciate being on here with you. It’s good to be with you.
Tony: Man, it’s good to have you on this podcast because I have been enjoying your podcast and I just wanna say thanks for, what was the name? The “Food Trucks in Babylon,” right?
Schreiner: “Food Trucks in Babylon,” the most famous Christian podcast name. We tried to get a little creative with it.
Tony: It is a fantastic name. And that’s because you’re in Portland. You’re not now, but you were in Portland. And you have great food culture in Portland.
Schreiner: It is. And, you know, when we pitched that name to our marketing department, it was something that me and my co-host came up with and they were like, “No, no, no, no, no, no.” And we really pushed hard for it. But then I think everybody kind of came around to it. So we have a great food scene there. And so one of the things we like to do is just talk to people about the food that they’re enjoying in town. And it’s a very post-Christian culture in Portland. So, I grew up in Minnesota, then moved to Kentucky, but doing ministry in Portland felt a little different just in terms of the society that we were in. And so the question shifted there a little bit and how you minister in a city. And so, we thought it’d be fun to do something where we’re kind of looking at post-Christian culture. And it’s a different culture, but honestly, people are very… In one way, you look at it from the outside, and you’re like, people aren’t receptive to the Gospel. But because it’s so far gone from the Gospel, another way you’re looked at is just like a unique individual if you’re a Christian there. And so there’s, in some ways, more opportunity to begin to speak to people because they’re like… I just even remember when I was getting my hair cut one time. They were like, “What do you do?” And I just was like, “I’m a teacher. I teach theology,” is what I keep on saying. And they look at me like I’m an alien. And they’re like, “What is that? What does that mean?” And it opens up, like, great conversations for the Gospel. So, in one way, there’s a lot of opportunity there because it’s just so far past kind of the Christian culture that some of us know.
Tony: Yeah, yeah. I love the city. And I’ve enjoyed being up at Western seminary on a couple of occasions. You and I were gonna do a podcast together and then COVID hit. I don’t know if you remember that. It was scheduled for May, I think.
Schreiner: That’s right. I forgot about that. Yeah. Now I remember, you were coming out to speak at a pastor’s conference, I think.
Tony: Yeah. Yeah. I was so bummed that it didn’t happen. I was gonna take my bride out there. But now you are at Midwestern Seminary and I’m looking at who Patrick is. No books on his shelf. So you’ve literally just gotten there, right?
Schreiner: Yeah, we’ve been here like four days. So I’m in my new office with nothing here. And we’ve just moved here and we’re trying to find a house, and get settled here. And so we’re excited because Midwestern is really serving the local church. It’s an exciting place to be right now. They’re growing and lots of students are coming here. So we’re excited to start this new phase of ministry here. And with the leadership, we’re just really glad to be here.
Tony: Yeah, I mean, great things happening at Midwestern. I’m glad Patrick’s there, though to correct some theologies of some of those props like Jared Wilson and Kostenberger. So I was really glad to see you go there.
Schreiner: That’s why they said they hired me. They were like, “We need some corrections. You know, these guys need some help.” And I said, “I’ll come in and do what I can. ”
Tony: Yeah. What do you do with Jared Wilson? I mean, you can’t really… You just try to tame him a little bit?
Schreiner: I don’t know. I’ve actually never met him. We only talked on Zoom one time. And he lives way out in Smithville, which is like 20 minutes away from here. So I haven’t even seen him yet. And even this morning, I tried to book the podcast studio, I was telling you earlier, but he’s in there, doing great interviews, I’m sure. But I’m excited to hang out with him. He seems like a guy who actually likes theology and sports, which sometimes you can’t find those type of people, but he likes both of them. And I’m excited about that. Even though he likes the Evil Empire, The New England Patriots. Yeah, you know, I don’t know what to do about that.
Tony: Yeah, yeah. Well, man, it’s great to have you on. Are you gonna be teaching New Testament survey, New Testament theology? What are your premier courses?
Schreiner: Yeah, I’ll be doing New Testament theology, New Testament survey, books. I do Ephesians, Acts, 1, 2 Thessalonians, Matthew, I’m kind of through my career wanting to go through every book at some point and teach through it because, man, if you get to spend time in one book and just dig in deep, you learn so much. And so, I’ll be working a lot with PhD students. One of the reasons I came here, I’m excited to work with Ph.D. students, and then teaching at the MDiv level. So, we’re still working out exactly what I’ll be teaching, but I really get to focus in here on some of the more specific studies, in terms of teaching on a specific book, which I’m excited about.
Tony: Patrick is a brilliant New Testament exegete and just a joy to learn from. Now, his dad, you may have heard of, Tom Schreiner, the legendary New Testament scholar. I quote him regularly. In fact, I’ve put his name I think three times on a bibliography yesterday on a book I just finished. And what was it like growing up with such a godly, wise man like your dad?
Schreiner: Yeah, it was great. Honestly, he’s just a great example. And both of my parents, honestly, my mom and dad are great examples for me, because they not only love the Lord, but they love others. And so, watching them have people in their homes, from diverse backgrounds, from diverse socioeconomic statuses. I mean, our house, it felt like a hotel many times. And so there are just so many people in our house. And what I loved about that is that he’s not just an intellectual, but he actually cares for the people of God. He cares for the Church of God. He’s always been involved in the church. And then same with my mom. My mom raised us, but I call her all the time, and she’s going to visit older ladies in the congregation who can’t get out of the home. She’s just constantly on the road, kind of encouraging people, discipling people. And so, not only do they bring a wealth of knowledge, but they bring a wealth of just care for people. So, that’s been a great example for me because when you get in academia, sometimes you get locked in your office and you forget to come out sometimes, but their example to me has really impressed upon me, just the importance, number one, of the local church and secondly, just embodying what you learn. Like, you can’t just keep it on paper. You can’t just keep it in the books. I mean, as Augustine, the famous quote, right, said, “If the reading of Scripture doesn’t build up your depth or love of God and of neighbor, then it’s pretty much worthless.” And so, yeah, it was great growing up with them. I had a great background in terms of theology, and I only disagree with them on some things. So… We can talk about that.
Tony: Yeah. Yeah. And you told me one time that he was taking his tie off before the car was turned off, right? He couldn’t wait to get that tie off everyday he came home from the seminary.
Schreiner: That’s right. That’s right. So, they’re from Oregon. And Oregon, we were in Portland, so it’s kind of like a return home when we were there. But it’s a very relaxed environment. And so he came to Southern seminary as just a very relaxed person, but it’s a little more buttoned-up there. And so one of the things that I’ve actually somehow through osmosis or something adopted from them is just kind of this relaxed way of being in the world and relaxed dress. And so, his number one goal when he gets home is to get out of those uncomfortable clothes. And so, typically, he’s halfway undressed by the time he’s halfway up the stairs. And he’s got his sweat pants on or his windbreakers. This will be embarrassing, but for a long time, he did the windbreakers and he did the tucked in windbreakers, and I was like, “Nah, you gotta stop the tucked in…”
Tony: That is a dad move right there, man.
Schreiner: “You gotta stop the tucked in windbreakers.” But the great thing is he doesn’t care at all. He’ll wear shirts that, like, were passed down from us from, like, high school and somebody will say, “Do you love this?” And he’s like, “I have no idea what I’m wearing.” Like, he has no idea what’s on this shirt.
Tony: That’s so fantastic. I’d love to see him teach in those windbreakers tucked in.
Schreiner: You could give him a very politically probably controversial shirt and he’d accidentally wear it. You know, like, he has no idea what’s going on. You know, sometimes you’re given gifts in certain areas and then not in other areas. So…
Tony: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I just listened to your podcast on problem text, difficult texts. You know, back when I was teaching sermon delivery at Southeastern, I collected what I thought were the hardest texts in the New Testament, and guys picked one out of a hat and they had to preach that semester on one of those texts. And there was a text I always use 1 Peter 3:18, 3:18 and following, right? Yeah, down to 22. Anyway, and, man, I really loved the podcast, if you guys are interested in Patrick’s take on that. You talked about the dissent in that podcast. I preached that following week so it came out, like, perfectly on time for me. You gave me all the right answers.
Schreiner: I don’t know about all of them.
Tony: But now we’re talking about the ascent. So we’re up and down, man. You’re up and down a lot, right?
Schreiner: Actually, I have a plan to do a book with maybe Matt Emerson, and we’re kind of talking about it, on a biblical theology of descent and ascent through the whole Bible because it’s a theme that we see everywhere and we haven’t seen someone kind of tackle that. And really, from the beginning, in Genesis, you have this idea that they’re on the mountain of God, where heaven and earth connect, and then they descend into kind of an exile status. And then you go through the Torah, and you just start thinking about, they’re always trying to ascend the mountain of God, even by going into the tabernacle. And so, that theme of descending and ascending just seems to appear everywhere. And I’m excited to kind of tackle that in a more biblical-theological way.
Tony: That’ll be great. And if you just need some alliteration on how to outline and I can help you guys when you’re finished with it.
Schreiner: That sounds good.
Tony: I’ll just take Shreiner’s stuff and, you know, make it a little preachy.
Schreiner: Make it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can be my Baptist help and get all my A’s or B’s or C’s in there, whatever.
Tony: Now let’s talk kind of Ascension 101, and then think through how it might apply to church planters. So, basic questions, hit any of these in any order. What is the ascension? Why does it matter? Why has it been neglected?
Schreiner: Yeah. So the ascension just refers to the rising of Jesus, how Jesus got to heaven. And historically, it’s been spoken of in more than three different ways, but I like to think of it in three ways, locally, spatially, He left the earth visibly, it was a public event, and bodily, He’s still a man, but He’s no longer with us. And so, He rose from the dead, which is a different event, resurrection, and then He ascended to heaven. How did He get to heaven? Well, He went through the clouds. And then some people combine that with the session, the sitting of Christ, where He sits at the right hand of the Father. And so, in many ways, it’s the vindication, it’s the exaltation of the son. And what I always say is that it’s least in of evangelical circles that we seem to run around in. You get to Jesus’s life, you get to His death, you get to His resurrection, but even our church calendar, you do Christmas, right? You do Good Friday, you do Easter, and then it’s done. Like, you don’t do anything else because that’s the climax. But there’s actually an event 40 days after that, where He ascends to heaven, which is the authorization, the endorsement of Jesus’s work, which according to Acts, as they preach through what the Gospel is, they keep on including the ascension. And so really, it’s not that previously, as I started thinking through this, that I denied the importance of the ascension, I just hadn’t articulated that significance in my own mind that it’s connected to the resurrection, in terms of the vindication of the son, but it’s actually a different event. And you can see it’s a different event because there’s time in between it. You can also see it’s a different event because when Mary’s clinging to Jesus, He says, “Don’t cling to me,” at the end of John, “I still need to ascend to the Father.” And throughout all of John, really, He’s saying, “I need to go to the Father. I need to go to the Father.” And you have that language in John even that it’s better that He goes to the Father. So, I like to… The New Testament, sometimes we neglect it, because the New Testament just kind of says, the exaltation of Jesus, which I think summatively covers the resurrection, the ascension, the session, and even the physical return of Jesus. But when we think about exaltation of Jesus, we kind of maybe think resurrection and stop there. So putting our eyes back on what Jesus is doing now is hugely important because we believe Jesus is still active, He’s still working. So, sometimes we tend to think more about what Jesus did and what He will do, but we neglect what He’s doing now, and I think the ascension is actually telling us what He’s doing now. He’s reigning as the King. He’s still acting as the Prophet, and He’s still interceding for us as the priest. And that’s hugely important because we don’t believe in a Jesus who has left and who’s no longer active. In government, like parliament systems sitting in a cabinet is one of the most active roles. Sitting doesn’t mean you’re inactive, it means you’re active.
So as He sits at the right hand of the Father, He is still conducting things from the heavens. And for some reason, and this is still hard for me to wrap my mind around, but for some reason, it’s better even than when He was upon the earth. I mean, I always like to think, my kids like to think, I had said this in a sermon one time, my kids are always like, “Can we just see Jesus?” Like, it’d be really helpful if He could come down and appear to us and we could talk to Him.” And I keep bringing them to the text that says it’s better actually if you get the Holy Spirit now, for some reason, and we could talk about that reason is. But, yeah. It’s hard for us to wrap our mind around because we really believe, and there is some truth to the fact that we desire to be with Him bodily. That’s going to be the end state. We’re longing for that. But in the meantime, He says this is a good plan. So, I’m kind of getting into the reasons of why it’s neglected. I think we struggle with it, partially because the implications of it are just unclear to us. The resurrection, well, that’s great, because He’s bodily now with us again, in a exalted state. But why did He leave? And even the disciples in Acts, they’re looking up and they’re kind of like staring into heaven, like, what in the world is happening here? They just asked, “Are you gonna restore the kingdom?” And the angels come down and they were like, “Hey, time to get to work. It’s time to go. You can’t just stare into heaven.” And I think some of us when we think about that event or that doctrine, we also are kind of like, “Well, why is it better that He left? Why did He need to leave? Why couldn’t have He just stayed and established the Kingdom upon the earth? I mean, this gets into the church planning a little bit, but I think it directly relates to our mission here upon the earth, that He is now ruling and reigning heaven and empowering us to build up His church. In a way where the body, the church is connected to the head. He’s giving us life, and breath, and everything, and we are to be His hands and feet upon the earth as we spread out through all over the earth. Jesus didn’t do that because He was limited by His body, but now His body, who is the church can spread this message to all nations.
Tony: It’s such an empowering doctrine, such an encouraging doctrine. As you pointed out, I was thinking about Romans 8 as you were talking about Christ interceding for us, the idea that He’s doing something for us right now in this moment…
Schreiner: That’s right.
Tony: …is beautifully encouraging. And then, like the Apostles Creed includes the ascension and some of the earlier Creeds. Do you think it was neglected, like, just because we kind of follow our present cultural, you know, emphases? Was this doctrine, a bigger deal to the early church fathers?
Schreiner: I think so. I mean, you have it, as you said, in the Apostles Creed, you have it in the Nicene Creed, you have it in the First Council of Constantinople, you have in the Athanasian Creed. So basically, if you just go through all the Creeds, they talk about his life, his death, his resurrection, and they have a separate line, like, literally a, Chris Traeger, literally a separate line for the ascension. And so they thought, like, “If we’re gonna summarize what’s going in Jesus’s life, the ascension is a key moment in His life that we need to put our eyes on.” So why maybe has it fallen out of conversation? Maybe partially because as modern historical-critical study of the Bible, which I’m basically just saying, as people began to study the Bible with a more modern view of miracles, it was weird. Like, Jesus floated into the sky. If we’re gonna deny that Jesus walked on the water, if people are gonna deny, and that’s not where we are, but if people are gonna deny that He raised from the dead, then the ascension kind of became, well, the disciples had to explain that He was gone, he’s not here, he raised from the dead, so they made up this Ascension thing. And so from a more modern perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. It also doesn’t make sense from a scientific perspective, right? Like, as he goes up into the heavens, like, if you get out of our atmosphere, it’s not gonna go very well for you. Right? So people are like, “All right, He went up into the heavens,” I mean, I think modern people would look at us and be like, “This doesn’t make any sense. Like, where did He go? Like, what’s happening? Did he put on Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit when he got up there? Did God give him something there? Like, what…? And then once He got out of our atmosphere or out of our galaxy, like, where’s the heaven?”
So, we need to think though, more in terms of Him ascending in terms of a relational view of space, I’m getting a little nerdy here, but in terms of, like, it’s both real and symbolic, in terms of His enthronement, the vindication of the Father looking at the son and saying, “You have done everything that I called you to do.” And this pictures back to Daniel 7, one of the key texts where the Son of Man ascends with a cloud of Heavens to the Ancient of Days, and who’s not ascending. It’s the beasts, the kingdoms of the earth, these people who have become deformed because of their sin. And now the one who has done all that God has called Him to and been the truly human one has ascended before the Father and He says, “That’s the one you need to follow. That’s the King of heaven and earth. That’s the one who’s gonna send you on mission.” And so, it’s vindicating his work. As the Father says, “He has accomplished all that I sent him to do. He is the truly human one.” And that’s a beautiful thing because as humans, we look to the truly human one who embodied everything that we’re meant to do, everything we are called to do. And we follow Him because we say that is good, that is true and that is beautiful. And, you know, while I was in Portland, that resonated with people because the world is such a mess right now. There’s so much heartache. And you say, “Hey, I’ve got a person, a human being, who is king, who is a good king, and He served his people, and not only served His people, but He actually died for His people. He sacrificed Himself for His people. And He’s not here, but He’s reining now. And He’s gonna come back and manifest that reign in the last day and He’s gonna build a beautiful city. And I think starting with that endpoint, rather than starting with, and you have to get to, you’re a sinner, you need salvation. But starting with an endpoint for at least people in post-Christian cultures, it’s helpful to just kind of say, “What’s the goal? What’s the tell loss? Where are we going? Why do we need this?” And then come back and say, “The way that you actually enter into that is that you need to pledge your allegiance to Him and admit that you have failed, that you are broken, and that we are all broken, and we need help.” And, I mean, as I talk to people in Portland, you know, and not everyone accepted it, but at least it resonated with them.
Tony: Yeah, yeah, man. That’s good news, man. That’s good news. So, Dr. Schreiner has just written a new book. Is it called “The Ascension of Christ?”
Schreiner: Yeah, “The Ascension of Christ.”
Tony: And so you guys wanna definitely pick it up. As you were doing your research, the most surprising thing about your study or most challenging thing? You’ve described some very encouraging things.
Schreiner: Yeah. Yeah, maybe the most surprising thing to me, I’m trying to think back. You know, you write books a while ago, once they come out, I’m like, “What was surprising when I wrote it?” Is that in the New Testament, there’s not a lot of reflection upon, like, when they narrate the ascension. So at the end of Luke and the end of Acts or beginning of Acts, they give a few, like, three verses to it. It’s not very long, and they kind of just say He ascended And you’re left kind of wondering, what’s the theological importance of it? And what you have to do is actually go back to the Old Testament, and see in Daniel 7, as we already mentioned, in Psalm 2, where the King Yahweh puts his king on this holy hill, and Psalm 110, “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I make all enemies your footstool.” What I’m trying to say is that the theology of the importance of the ascension comes many times from the Old Testament and what I call these shadow stories of what’s happening. So, I think part of the reason we don’t know what to do with it is because there’s just a neglect of the Old Testament. It’s so big, there’s so much going on. And as you read the Old Testament, you get all of these stories of people ascending, and there’s some little piece of theology that’s in there that helps inform what’s going on with the ascension. So one of my favorite examples, just to give one here, more specifically, is 2 Kings 2, when Elijah ascends and gives Elisha the Spirit.
And you’ve got this thing where Elisha says, “Give me a portion of your spirit.” And Elijah says, “You won’t receive that unless you watch me go into the heavens.” And it’s this weird thing where, like, why does he have to watch him go into the heavens? And then Elisha watches him go into the heavens, and he receives a double portion of his spirit to be the next prophet. And I think that’s a huge story for Acts, as the apostles are watching Him go into heaven, and then they receive the Spirit of Pentecost. And I think it is a double portion of His spirit. They’re empowered to do according to John, the very works that Jesus did, even greater works, John says. And that’s always confused me, I’m like, “Greater works. Like, I can’t do greater works than Jesus.” But that’s what John says. And in one sense, it’s a very empowering doctrine is, as you said, because as we have this spirit of Jesus, we are empowered to do greater works as we spread out over this whole earth, and Jesus empowers us through His Spirit. And so, you don’t have Pentecost without the ascension. I mean, that’s just one way to put it, right? You don’t have the breaking of heaven and earth without the ascension. You don’t have the mission of the church without the ascension. You don’t have any mission of the church because He must be enthroned as the Lord of heaven and earth. That’s Matthew 28, that’s Acts 1. That’s, I mean, tons of texts. He must be in throne, and, therefore, we can then go to all peoples because He has been crowned as the king of all peoples. He came… Why was He crucified? For being the King of the Jews? But there is a shift when He raises from the dead, now He’s still welcoming people in, and even the Old Testament they’re welcoming people in, but there’s a distinct salvation historical shift when He ascends that He is now declared to be the king of heaven and earth, and then He says, “You go to all people now, all people.” So there’s something going on there with that relationship.
Tony: I love it, man.
Schreiner: I don’t even know if I got to your question. But…
Tony: But it was good for my soul, so I don’t care. You know, it’s like the halftime, you know, questions to coaches, they never really answer the question. They just say what they wanna say. So that’s probably…
Schreiner: I’m a good politician. They’re like, “What’s your plan for healthcare? And he’s like, “Well, I just want to tell you how terrible this other person is.
Schreiner: They’re the worst human being ever.” And they’re like, “So what’s your plan for healthcare? And we’re like, “We’re not gonna get into that right now.”
Tony: Exactly. But you didn’t answer. Like, what surprised you? That story in 2 Kings is also a typological of Elisha saying, “Let me go say goodbye to my family.” Right?
Schreiner: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
Tony: There’s a lot going on in that story that you need the whole Bible to understand it, right?
Schreiner: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, read the Old Testament. I mean, that was one of the things that I just… Like, man, every time you have a New Testament doctrine, just to summarize, you gotta fill it out with the Old Testament, because if you look at your Bible and just split it, most of it’s the Old Testament. There’s a ton of theology in there. That’s history and theology. I think sometimes we’re tending to view it as a nice historical account. No. All of the theology of the New Testament is birthed from what’s going on the Old Testament.
Tony: Absolutely. I love that a New Testament scholar is arguing for the importance of the Old Testament.
Schreiner: You know, I wanted to be an Old Testament, but there’s just too many weird props over there. No, I love the Old Testament props, but… No, I’m just kidding. The real reason is I was much better at Greek than Hebrew. So I was like, “I better go to New Testament.
Tony: Yeah, I was or I am too. I told Mike Byrd recently that my secret goal in life is to excavate Colossae. So would you be on that team with us if we get to do that?
Schreiner: Let’s do… Are you trying to figure out what the false teaching is that nobody knows?
Tony: That’s it. That’s it.
Schreiner: Yeah, yeah, there you go. Yeah.
Tony: I was there last year and it’s just a mound, and it just said, a sign that said Colossae, and yeah.
Schreiner: Invite me. Send me a Zoom link and I’ll come at least and watch you do it.
Tony: See, I’m a pastor, but I have this inner nerd, Patrick, that just comes out sometime and I gotta temper it.
Schreiner: Mine’s not even inner, it’s just outer nerd. I’m just full-on nerd and I’ll just own it so you can own it too.
Tony: You’re not a nerd unless you tuck your shirt into your windbreaker pants.
Schreiner: Oh, man, he’s never gonna listen to this probably, so we can say whatever. He just sits there in his windbreakers and writes books, you know.
Tony: Man, I would love to talk more. I could hang out with you for hours, man. You know, you talked about Matt Emerson, but you’re way cooler and more enjoyable than Emerson as well. But just maybe final question or two here for the listeners. You’ve touched on this already, like, some of the implications for church planners, but maybe for preaching and for encouraging church members, how does the ascension impact those things?
Schreiner: Yeah, yeah, I preached a sermon on it once in terms of the ascension and one of the things that I got a lot of good feedback on, and you’ve already mentioned this was the intercession of the priest, the high priest at the right hand of the Father. I mean, read Hebrews, read, as you said, Romans 8, “When you don’t know what to pray, remember that Jesus is praying and interceding for you.” And so you think about, here’s the Old Testament again, as the priest went into the temple, in the tabernacle, he had the 12 jewels of the 12 tribes represented on his shoulders and on his chest. And think of it this way, He is representing you before the Father. And according to Colossians and Ephesians, you are actually there with Him…
Tony: Praise God.
Schreiner: …in a mysterious way. And so, I mean, prayer life, as you struggle with sin, as you fail, remember that Jesus is there saying, “These are my people, and I love them, and I have died for them.” And, you know, that’s just gonna make you want to, number one, pray more, and it’s gonna want to make you follow Him more, and kill that sin in your life even more.
Schreiner: So rather than getting so down on yourself, you can actually remember this is, like, hugely encouraging. And then the other thing I’d say for pastors is, I mean, the core of the Gospel, the core of the message that we believe is that Jesus is Lord and Messiah. And so the ascension is just that crowning achievement where they show in the New Testament, that’s the reality. And so if you’re not getting in almost every sermon to the reality that Jesus is Lord Christ, Messiah, He is the king of the universe, and that you need to follow Him in everything that you do, well, then you’re missing the message of the Bible, “This is the one who we follow,” and really the ascension is just so key to that. So one of the big emphases of my writing and of just my ministry and my preaching is to just continually return to the central aspect of what we confess. And what we confess is that He’s the king. And so I just think we have to return to that in everything that we do. So…
Tony: Amen. Amen. Pick up the book guys, “The Ascension of Christ,” Patrick Schreiner. This has been a very edifying and enlightening interview. Brother, thanks for taking some time to be with us. We wish you all the best that your new post there at Midwestern.
Schreiner: Thanks, Tony, and I will forgive you for wearing the University of Kentucky shirt as we talk. But, I appreciate you having me.
Tony: Jesus is reigning overall, brother. You’ll be fine.
Schreiner: That’s right.
Tony: Rest in him.
Schreiner: Thanks, Tony.
Tony: Thanks, bro.