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Showing posts from June, 2010

On Sheep

Let me just say that I know nothing about sheep. Although I did grow up in sheep-farming country, I didn't grow up on a sheep farm, so sheep have generally been on the other side of the hedgerow from me. Today, however, I went for a walk surrounded by sheep. And, while I was walking I noticed two things that made me think about the sheep of God's pasture. 1. Sheep are scared of people! I was a bit surprised at this; after all, sheep are domestic animals and the particular sheep I met today were grazing on a field through which ran a public footpath. Yet, every time I got within a few metres of a sheep, it ran away. I didn't even have to get very close. Some ran, others walked away calmly; but every one of them got out of my way before I could get too close. Now, the sheep didn't mind at all that I was in their field. I was quite welcome and they were quite content, provided that I didn't get too close. This made me think about us as Christians. Sometimes we ca

Reading the Bible: Jesus vs Moralism

Unless Jesus is the central message of the Scriptures, many errors abound. The most common is moralizing. Moralizing is reading the Bible not to learn about Jesus but only to learn principles for how to live life as a good person by following the good examples of some people and avoiding the bad examples of others. That kind of approach to the Scriptures is not Christian, because it treats the Bible like any other book with moral lessons that are utterly disconnected from faith in and salvation from Jesus. Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (Crossway, 2010), p.47

Preparation for Evangelism

On Sunday morning someone in our assembly read from 1 Peter 3. It was one of those great moments where you see God's hand directing open worship. Little did that person know, but another group in the assembly had been looking at the same passage during the week. Specifically we had been looking at the instruction to be always 'prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect' (1 Peter 3:15). According to 1 Peter 3:15 we Christians need to be ready to answer people's questions about our faith. We need to be able to explain why we believe what we believe. In other words we need to be prepared for every evangelistic opportunity. In our housegroup in East Leeds we've been endeavouring to do just that. In order to be prepared to share our faith we've spent the last 2 months doing a Two Ways to Live course. Two Ways to Live is probably best known as a gospel tract (and a very good

True Spirituality & the Cross

We are already at the stage where many evangelical leaders simply assume the message of the cross, but no longer lay much emphasis on it. Their focus is elsewhere. And a few, it seems to me, are in danger of distancing themselves from major components of the message of the cross, while still operating within the context of evangelicalism. It is at least possible that we are the generation of believers who will destroy much of historic Christianity from within - not, in the first instance, by rancid unbelief, but by raising relatively peripheral questions to the place where, functionally, they displace what is central. And what shall the end of this drift be? We must come back to the cross, and to God's plan of redemption that centres on the cross, and make that the point of our self-identification. We must consciously resist all blandishments from movements and philosophies and value-systems that tolerate the cross, or even nominally promote it, but in reality displace it. We mus

Not an Afterthought

The Cross of Calvary was planted in past eternity to make Creation, Redemption, Forgiveness and the Eternal Plan possible. W.R. Thomas, On Ephesians , 132