Agents of hope

Orthodoxy may be 111 years old, but it still feels relevant

Ryan Rosenbaum
  • Ryan Rosenbaum

Seacoast Community Church

1050 Regal Road, Encinitas

Membership: 550

Pastor:  Ryan Rosenbaum

Age: 42

Born: Fort Benning, GA

Formation: University of Washington, Seattle. WA; Talbot School of Theology-Biola University, La Mirada; Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Years Ordained: 18

San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

Pastor Ryan Rosenbaum: I want people to find hope, and I believe hope is found in God. Along with finding that hope, we have to recognize we’re in an increasingly divided world. As we become more “enlightened” – as a culture we’re supposedly progressing more – we become less gracious, forgiving, and accepting of one another. In a way, we’re becoming more tribal – “as long as you believe what I believe.” I am most concerned with seeing people transformed by Christ to become agents of hope, peace, light and love in the world. We’re a world searching for hope and in need of real peace, real answers, and real hope; I don’t think we’re finding that in a lot of places.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PR: To help people discover life in Christ, whether for the first time, when someone is coming to Christ; or for those who already have experienced life in Christ, to help them see how that experience plays out throughout their lives. We want to be a home to those lost or wandering in their faith; a safe place for everyone to come and hear the truth and meet people who care for you.

SDR: What work of literature has influenced your life as a pastor?

PR: G.K. Chesterton wrote a book called Orthodoxy. I guess it’s now 111 years old, but it still feels relevant. I love Chesterton – he’s my favorite author. I love his style of writing — he has a profound and almost prophetic way of seeing the world. What I appreciate about Chesterton is that he has a good balance of faith, intellect, and logic — not to mention he’s also entertaining to read! In Orthodoxy, Chesterton does a good job thinking through the logic of faith—and that encourages me personally, and reminds me as a pastor to see the world as Chesterton sees the world – with wonder. It’s important for Chesterton to know the names of the trees and flowers you walk by every day, and to be fully present and experience the wonder of the world God has created. I think we can get so used to creation we forget to step back and see how amazing it really is.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PR: I don’t believe heaven is a boring place where we’re floating on clouds looking for something to do. Rather, it’s like the Garden of Eden restored, where there’s no separation between God and man, and perfect harmony between men, and with God and creation. It’s the grace of God that saves us, through the work of Jesus Christ, and so if we reject Christ, we won’t have eternity with the creator. There is mystery in salvation, and God holds us accountable for what we know and not for what we don’t know. Hell is for those who know the story and reject God. There’s this view of hell that it’s a devil’s playground, with burning and torture. But God designed hell for the fallen angels, the demons; it wasn’t designed for mankind, according to Jesus. But anyone who rejects God and doesn’t want him in their lives – God will give them what they want. Hell is a separation from God.

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