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Douglas Schuurman on Vocation

July 3, 2010

The following quotes are from the teaching of Douglas J. Schuurman, a professor of religion at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and are found in Vocation: Discerning Our Callings in Life. (2004, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

In the Bible, vocation has two primary meanings. The first, and by far more prevalent, meaning is the call to become a member of the people of God and to take up the duties that pertain to that membership. The Puritans referred to this as God’s ‘general calling;’ Luther referred to it as God’s ‘spiritual calling.’ The second meaning is God’s diverse and particular callings – special tasks, offices, or places of responsibility within the covenant community and in the broader society. Luther referred to this as God’s ‘external calling;’ the Puritans referred to it as God’s ‘particular calling.’ It is this second sense of vocation that many Bible scholars and theologians in recent years have disdained.” (Page 17)

… Put in general terms, the purpose of God’s call is for the people of God to worship God, and to participate in God’s creative and redemptive purposes for the world, to enjoy, hope for, pray for, and work toward God’s shalom. This is what it means for Christians to be in Christ and to follow Christ.” (Page 18)

To think more about historical views about Gods broad / diverse and personal / specific calls to every person and how these might apply to you today consider reading Professionals: Men and Women Partnering with the Trinity in Everyday Life.

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