Thursday, 23 February 2012

Allegiance and Obedience

Sam Cooper led a most interesting and informative Biblical Thinking Forum this Monday. We looked at how the early church interacted successfully (or not so) with the civilizations in which it was embedded, and how, as the Caesars came to view themselves as gods, they became increasingly hostile to the church.

One thing that struck me was a letter where Pliny, a Roman official, writes to the emperor asking what he should do with Christians. Taken from one angle, you wonder what he was making a fuss about; the Christians seem innocuous at worst:

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

What's NEW About the Good NEWs?

What would you say is new about the Gospel? What's new about the good news? Why is it new and why is it good?

Is it being justified through faith in Christ? 
Well, no. Abraham was justified by faith in Christ, when he believed and then obeyed the LORD who appeared to him back in Gen.15:6. The LORD who appeared to him was the Christ - the Son of God: Jn.1:18,8:56. Everyone who was saved in the "BC" age was saved like Abraham. The Law gave the Faithful a more detailed framework for expressing and enjoying that hope.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Half Term Hiking Competition

Half term has kicked off with a bit of hiking. I'm doing two days of walking and putting the world to rights with my good friend Chris, an outdoor expedition leader who led the school expedition I went on to Borneo back in summer 2011.

Here I am atop some Fell in the Lake District. £20 to the person who can name which one it is!!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

So Close and Yet, So Far

If you had never seen the sun, you could be fooled into thinking that this guy is actually holding it. Of course, all of us have seen the sun and can laugh at his pretend attempt to grab hold of a 7000 degree fireball that is 2.85x10 to the little 28 times (that's a big number) bigger than him and 93,000,000 miles away!

But turn your attention to spiritual matters, and things suddenly become quite sobering. 

In Jesus' day as in any day, people were trying to make sense of their lives, understand the nature of reality, find their place in the world. There were therefore many raised up to teach the people how to do just that - how to approach the living God. The most zealous of these were known as Pharisees.

(Aside: If Jesus wasn't formally one of them (and I reckon he probably was) he certainly grew up in society that was dominated by them.)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Biblical Thinking Forum 2012: "Beyond Church!"

The visible church is the beginning of Jesus Christ's mission in the world, but it isn't the end. He doesn't say "That's all, folks!" when the meeting is over (even if you and I often do). Worship leads to a mission of transformation.

From the invisible throne room of Christ the visible church flows out into the visible world, a Spirit filled people, with a mandate to bring everything, yes everything, not just individuals, but the whole created order under the loving, wise, life-giving and beautifying reign of the God-Man Jesus Christ. (Perhaps like this.)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Happiness is Existential not Circumstantial

Who you think you are is more indicative of how (un)happy you will be than any of your external circumstances. I wonder if this guy below has ever read Paul in Phil.4:12:


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Bashing the Sacred Cow of Marriage...

If you ask most thinking people why the early church had segregated worship (men on one side, women on the other), most will tell you that it was because of the culture and/or because they wanted to stop people falling into the temptation of lust. James Jordan says that is bunk! The reason for segregation is eschatological reality not cultural relevance. He says:

(Hyperlinks and emphases are my insertions.)
The simple fact is that for 2000 years, the Holy Spirit moved the church to have men and women sitting separately during divine worship. This is because in heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. There is neither male nor female, bond nor free, child nor parent. Hence, ascended worship, taking place seated in the heavenlies, involves an affirmation of God’s Family and a setting aside of the earthly family. As a matter of fact, if you want God to give you a healthy family, let Him take it apart and put it back together each week, for that is how God always glorifies and empowers His people (Hebrews 6:12-13, Genesis 2:23-24).
He goes on: