Tuesday, 12 May 2015

DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?


"The church has bought into the concept. Our sermons must be entertaining, our locations must be convenient, and our music must be exciting. If the location is not convenient enough then offer Internet church to each person’s own living room. If the message of the cross, the blood, or sin offends too harshly, then tone down the message, and speak motivationally about having your best life now. If theology gets in the way, then claim individual liberty, and allow everyone to have an equally valid yet completely contradictory true opinion."

Well worth a read


Monday, 4 May 2015

COLD DAY IN SEATTLE

Well, it looks like the Driscoll bus is soon going to be back on the road again, and having added my tuppence-worth to the saga in the past I suppose I must say something about his impending resurrection.

In truth I stopped listening to The Comeback Kid's performance at the Thrive 2015 Leadership Conference once he began to make the overt comparisons between himself & Jesus on the cross. 

 Perhaps if I could have stomached more I might have got to the part where he offered his profuse apologies to all the families he destroyed at Mars Hill.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

THE USES OF THE LAW



When we looked at the WestWing Question we observed that theologians have traditionally divided the Law of Moses into different categories.  

 That these 613 regulations cannot simply be taken as a monolithic whole is something that churchmen as far back as Augustine at least have noted.  

However, it is the esteemed mediaeval theologian Thomas Aquinas who is generally credited with the division of the Law of Moses into three distinct categories, that of moral, ceremonial and civil.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

HOW RELIGIONS START



 During his long ministry in Jerusalem, Jesus stirred ever-increasing opposition to his teachings from the Jewish establishment.

Eventually, driven out of Jerusalem by persecution, he emigrated north & consolidated his political & military power in Nazareth. After several years of conflict he eventually returned to the Jewish capital in 33AD at the head of an army. By this time fear of the coming conqueror had caused all opposition to his rule to melt away. Jesus reigned as Messiah from Jerusalem throughout a long & prosperous life.

After his death, it was assumed that the leadership of the Church would automatically fall upon the apostle Peter, indeed he & his followers believed that only one of the Twelve Companions who had been with the Messiah all of his life could succeed him.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A MILE-WIDE AND AN INCH-DEEP

This article by Tom Ehrich over at Religion News Service is a classic of its kind.

Every conservative believer needs to learn how to spot the emotional manipulation that is on display here.Tragically most of us are helpless in the face of this kind of writing.

Tactic: issue a few vague prognostications of (conservative) Church decline but wholly lacking in actual detail, just enough to leave us feeling vaguely alarmed & unsettled.

Then sprinkle in a few warm fuzzy words about joy, depth and “fresh energy” to prepare the unthinking masses for whatever “new idea” you next want them to blindly accept.

What will this “healthy new phase” look like? Which “institutional ideas” do we need to leave behind? “Transformation of life” from what and to what?

We never learn. Not in this article anyway.

Instead we are left to guess at just what “new ideas” the brave new thinkers have in mind for us (though I reckon I know).

Well done, Tom.

A classic example of how to use 500+ words to say precisely nothing & yet get across everything you intended to.

 

   

Thursday, 12 March 2015

COMPARE & CONTRAST



Sir Terry Pratchett’s final tweets:

“Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night. The End.'


The Apostle Paul’s final “tweet.”

“…the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness…”


Compare & contrast


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT



Blogging has been overtaken, for the time being at least, by “events, dear boy, events.” though the site will remain open for the posting of occasional articles.

However I couldn’t resist posting the photographic outcome of this morning’s early (very early!) riverside walk.




Piercebridge Roman Fort was founded around 260AD when Christianity was a rapidly growing (though persecuted) force in the Roman Empire. The fort protected the adjoining bridge, an important crossing point over the Tees for the ancient Dere Street route. 




 In the fort’s heyday, it dominated the locality both visually and militarily and stood as a proud symbol of the Roman Empire’s ability to project power even to the far ends of the world (Britain!).

 I sometimes imagine a conversation taking place here amongst the fort’s soldiers huddled around a winter fire. They are wishing they were back home in Italy where it was warm and dry, yet they continue - even here on the remote fringes of the Empire- to pick up the rumours of the dramatic spread of that strange death-cult called Christianity.   

 Despite Imperial disapproval it continues to spread like wildfire. Where might it all end?  Yet, they comfort themselves that Rome will triumph over it at last. After all, Rome conquers all eventually & would stand forever wouldn’t it?

 I then imagine whisking them 18 centuries forward in time to show them the sad remains of their fort & bridge, now just a few dejected stones hardly protruding above the ground. 

 And that building over there, the one gazing so serenely over the feeble ruins of long-vanished Imperial Rome?



Oh, that belongs to the “strange death-cult.” ...it is still here! 

 Indeed not only has it survived but it continues to circle the globe & draw countless millions into its irresistible gravitational pull despite atrocious oppostion. It has seen off the Roman Empire and it will see off every threat to its existence. 

 And when Caesars and presidents, politicians and ministers, magnates and billionaire CEOs have all ceased their "vital" business and seen everything they worked for crumble into dust it will stand triumphant over all the works of men. 



              I will build My Church & the gates of Hell will not stand against it


Monday, 9 February 2015

MOSES THE LAW-RECEIVER



        Continuing the series on God's Law & the Christian Believer begun here 

  
The Hebrew Bible is traditionally divided into three sections which together form the acronym Tanakh.

Torah      (Law)
Nevi’im   (Prophets)
Ketuvim (Writings)

Our focus is to be upon the first of these, the Torah (law, instruction) which consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy

 In fact our study will in time narrow down still further to that legislative section of the Torah containing the 613 Mosaic regulations which are so intriguingly bracketed between the two songs of Moses (Exo 15; Dt 32). 

Monday, 26 January 2015

GOD'S LAW & THE BELIEVER





“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;  the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 19:7-8)


 For this year’s District Bible Study hosted by the Oxbridge Church I have chosen a most ambitious area of study, and one that is certainly rarely tackled in the modern Church.

 The subject is God’s Law, as presented to us in the Torah, or the Five Books of Moses, and looking especially at the modern Christian believer’s relationship to that Law. I will aim to post regular updates from these teachings on the blog as we go through the year. 

Special blessings accrue to the person who spends time in God’s Law

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

THANKS MUMMY

A little more info here on that find of a Gospel fragment believed to be from the 1st Century.

God sure has utilised some odd things in preserving His Word!