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Showing posts from July, 2010

It's Time!

Yes, it's that time of year again. Tomorrow sees the beginning of Ablaze UK in Swansea. This is the 94th year of the Convention and even after all that time it's as popular as ever. In fact, we're not having any services in Leeds this Sunday as so many of the members of the assembly will be 275 miles away in Swansea for Ablaze UK!

In the balance: Music or the Word

Yesterday I wrote about having confidence in God's Word. Today let's take it out of the abstract and into real life.
A month or so ago we ended up in a situation where we usually don't have any musicians to play in church on a Sunday. When I knew this was going to be happening, I have to admit that I was a bit discouraged. Music has become so much a part of the western church that the idea of no musicians is almost unthinkable.
(In fact, the early church didn't use musical instruments, so it's perfectly possible to follow the 1st-century model without a piano or guitar. In the village where I grew up, the village church only sings psalms and without any musical accompaniment, on principle. There are even many Apostolic assemblies in the world who sing without musical accompaniment; when I was in Malawi, the only instrument in the assemblies was a hand drum - nothing to carry a tune.)
Anyway, I digress. I was somewhat discouraged about our impending lack of music. How …

Confidence in God's Word

As evangelicals, we believe that God's Word is inspired, inerrant and authoritative. Sometimes we refer to ourselves as 'Bible-believing Christians'. So the Bible is clearly of great importance to evangelicals.
Yet, having a high regard for God's Word is not always the same as having confidence in God's Word. Sometimes, even though we believe the Bible, we act as though we think it needs our help. And hence the plethora of methods and programmes which abound within the confines of evangelical Christianity. We become beholden to the latest fad, because it promises to work. We become pragmatists, placing our confidence in what works (or seems to work, or perhaps is marketed as if it works) rather than in how God has promised to work.
The problem here is that our trust is misplaced. Instead of trusting in God to work in His way, we can easily end up trusting in men and their man-made ways of doing God's work.
So is there a remedy to the predicament? Yes. Trust in Go…

Back from Bangor: Theological Conferences & Pentecostals

There we were, sitting in a trendy cafe-bar, eating fashionable finger-food on a university campus in Welsh-speaking North Wales, a British pastor, a Swedish missionary/theology lecturer, a Swedish mega-church pastor and a Swiss pastor-theologian. Not exactly my typical day off! Earlier that morning my Swedish missionary friend and I had had breakfast in the same place with a Singaporean theologian, whilst chatting about liturgical worship and Cambridge experiences. But back to lunch. I'm sure it's not too often that influential mega-church pastors chat with the pastor of a church less than a hundredth of the size about the Trinitarian theology of the Cappadocian Fathers. To be honest, I was quite surprised to encounter a mega-church pastor at an academic theological conference, yet over lunch he raised a very valid (and important) point; the theology circulating in the academy today is the theology that will be circulating in the pews in 30 years time and so it's importan…