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Showing posts from January, 2013

Newbigin on the Church's Anxiety Issues

Christianity is perceived to be a good cause which is in danger of collapsing though lack of support. Or - in a quite different manifestation of the same fundamental attitude - there is a strident summons to a more energetic efforts in evangelism and social action. But I do sense an underlying Pelagianism which lays too much stress on our own activities and is too little controlled by the sense of the greatness and majesty and sufficiency of God. I am saying that there can be a kind of Christian activity which only masks a lack of confidence in the sufficiency of God. . .

In a pluralist society there is always a temptation to judge the importance of any statement of the truth by the number of people who believe it. Truth, for practical purposes, is what most people believe. Christians can fall into this trap. It may well be that for some decades, while churches grow rapidly in other parts of the world, Christians in Europe may continue to be a small and even shrinking minority. If th…

OT Hermeneutics the usual (wrong) way

For more on this sort of thing try 
which still requires a follow up to Tim's pertinent question, don't worry it is coming. ;-)

coming out on gay marriage

Steve Chalke, a UK Baptist, a pastor, evangelist and social advocate, has come out in support of gay marriage in a article in Christianity magazine, although few outside the UK know or care who Steve is, many will (and already ) used this as an opportunity to display their orthodox colours, lambast this heretic and show clearly to anyone who is watching that they do not approve of such behaviour. Steve ends his article saying "I am committed to listening and trying to understand the intricacies of the arguments on both sides." which suggests he is still open to be persuaded. This is nonsense, Steve has stuck his head above the parapet on this issue and there is no going back. he will pay a high price, probably much higher than he would anticipate for taking the stance he has taken, and in defending it and suffering for it he will only become more entrenched in it. The time for making your mind up was before you wrecked you career as an evangelical.

Although I did not agree …

brick-a-brack 170113 Bumper Summer Edition!

Tom Rainer does some sloppy research and comes up with a list of ten things church members want from their pastor. A good list to make us pastors to feel unworthy, but then living up to other people's expectations is a crock anyway. I just include it here because blog that list things are really hip. No, really.

More usefully Marc Cortez examines "the call", that mysterious thing pastors get before they become pastors. It is a bit like getting the flu, except the flu only ruins your life for a few days. While the better looking Jonathan cries at Spiderman the Musical when he considers his and the New Zealand Baptist Research society have a couple of talks on leadership for your delectation.

Larry Hurtado as usual makes us all feel guilty for not knowing as much as he does with a very helpful blog on the state of scholarship around the Roman Imperial Cult and it's influence on the NT. If you are ever stuck for a PhD idea just pick one of his blog posts at random and …

Explicating Omnipresence

Oden in his epic Classic Christianity (pp47-8), "No particle is so small that God is not fully present to it. No galaxy is so vast that God does not circumscribe it. No space is without the divine presence. God is in touch with every aspect of creation."

Oden provides a nice summary of scholastic teaching on the subject (here abridged),
God is:-
naturally present in every aspect of the natural order (Ps 8:3)actively present in every event of history as provident guide of human affairs (Ps 48:7)attentively present to those who call upon his name (Matt 18:19-20, Acts 17:27)judicially present in moral awareness, through conscience (Ps 48:1-2)bodily present in the incarnation of his Son (John 1:14, Col 2:9)sacramentally present through the means of grace in the church (Eph 2:12, John 6:56)sacredly present in special places where God chooses to meet us (Gen 28:16, 23:18) A more youthful theologian (my 5 yr old daughter) explained to me that God's omnipresence was the reason …

Evangelicalism a Definition

For those of you who like this sort of thing, there is a fairly workable definition of Evangelicalism in an essay by Marcia Pally,
For the purposes of this essay, American evangelicalism is an approach to Protestantism across denominations, its central features including: the search for a renewal of faith toward an “inner” personal relationship with Jesus; the mission to bring others to this sort of personal relationship; the cross as a symbol of not only salvation but also of service to others; individual acceptance of Jesus’ gift of redemption; individualist Bible reading by ordinary men and women; and the priesthood of all believers independent of ecclesiastical or state authorities. It was a progressive movement from the colonial era to World War One. Its emphasis on individual conscience made it anti-elitist, anti-authoritarian, economically populist, and socially activist on behalf of the common man. Twice in the twentieth century, evangelicals turned to the right, the second ti…

Faith vs Fanaticism

Fanaticism is never truly spiritual because it is not free. It is not free because it is not enlightened. It cannot judge between good and evil, truth and falsity, because it is blinded by prejudice. Faith and prejudice have a common need to rely on authority and in this they can sometimes be confused by one who does not understand their true nature. But faith rests on the authority of love while prejudice rests on the pseudo-authority of hatred. Everyone who has read the Gospel realizes that in order to be a Christian one must give up being a fanatic, because Christianity is love. Love and fanaticism are incompatible. Fanaticism thrives on aggression. It is destructive, revengeful and sterile. Fanaticism is all the more virulent in proportion as it springs from inability to love, from incapacity to reciprocate human understanding. Thomas Merton, Disputed Questions, 1953/88, p132

Sermon Outline: 2 John 4-6

Whilst listening to a sermon last night on 2 John, I noticed you'd get a rather nice outline for a preach or even a series from verses 4-6,
Walk in the truthWalk in obedienceWalk in love I think it is a fair observation that Christians and churches often tend to emphasize walking in one path over another, e.g.fundamentalists focus on ( aversion of the truth) truth, sects focus on obedience, liberals focus on love, all to the detriment of the other paths. But for the elder each one flows seamlessly from the other two. It is not about balance or tension, they naturally encourage each other.

Just a quick thought ;-) let me know what you think.