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Showing posts from November, 2013

The Disconnected Church

Congratulations to Dr. Mike Crudge on the successful completion of his PhD in communications on the disconnect between the perception of the church in society and the perception of the church in the church!

Go here to read the abstract  (Mike's blog)
Go here to read the thesis

The research is from New Zealand but I'm sure would be applicable to other western countries as well.

Fighting for . . . ?

There is a sad tendency for Christianity to become associated with belligerence and intolerance and to be know for fighting over issues which seem only loosely connected to the gospel. Perhaps this is inevitable when we insist on a morality which goes against the flow of mainstream society. But what if we could be known for fighting for other things too, like

an end to slavery
the dignity and worth of every human life
or an end to unjust and artificial systems of debt and credit

those three are just by way of example, but my fear is that it is easier to fight about things than for things. That we can easily spend a great deal of time and energy fighting about the correct view of marriage or something else, all the while the world goes to hell in a handbasket because God's servants have stopped doing their job in order to quarrel.

It is not that I don't think that these arguments are not important - they certainly are, but my observation has been that we find we have plenty of e…

Hermeneutics and Same Sex Marriage

There are (I think) three basic hermeneutic approaches for those who want to align a pro-same sex marriage view with scripture. And, let's be fair, they may have even arrived at these views from scripture through applying these hermeneutics.

The first is the no comment hermeneutic. It says "the Bible does not address modern homosexuality, i.e. a consensual loving monogamous relationship between equal adult parties." This is true and should be recognised as a reason for caution by both sides of the debate in how scripture is applied to contemporary categories. OTOH the implication cannot be, but often is, that therefore the Bible doesn't speak to this issue through its general teaching on sexual ethics. This is because (Christian) biblical ethics, properly understood, is not a list of doos-and-don'ts and then when those doos-and-don'ts fail to cover a situation we have to make it up. Biblical ethics give us an ideal, a goal, they are teleological more than deo…

quote of the day: Marshall on criticism

Honesty compels me to admit that there are times when exactly the wrong person at exactly the wrong time with exactly the wrong motives has nevertheless said exactly the right thing.
Tom Marshall, Understanding Leadership, 1991, p97
An important principle, not to discount what can be valuable criticism just because it's source is suspect, even a broken clock is right twice a day, provided it has stopped and is analogue not digital. (cartoon from here)

Same Sex Marriage and Baptist Ecclesiology

My friend and fellow worker in the Lord's vineyards of western central Auckland, Rhett, has a couple of good posts first before last weeks national assembly of the Baptist Union of New Zealand and then one reflecting afterwards. I like and respect Rhett, I'm grateful for his provocative posts as they help me formulate my own thoughts for coming discussions with my own church and the union.

Like Rhett, I do consider the biblical teaching on marriage being between a man and a woman and the wrongness of homosexual behaviour to be clear.

However, his posts alert us to some issues not around sexual ethics but how we fellowship with other believers who do not hold to the same sexual ethics we do. In Rhett's first post he compares the issue of same sex marriage to that of infant baptism. He suggests if a church changed their stance on infant baptism the honest thing to do would be to stop pretending they were baptists. I would agree with that. However, I do not see it as being an…