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Showing posts from April, 2013

Wednesday Words: Fellowship

Fellowship is a very Christian word. We use it all the time for all sorts of things. We use it for organisations. The CUs are part of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship. And for doctors there’s the Christian Medical Fellowship. Many local churches even call themselves fellowships. Now, fellowship exists and is of great importance in all those places, yet sometimes we mistakenly think of the structures and organisations as fellowship. But that’s not what the Bible means.

We also talk about fellowship a lot in terms of activities. There are fellowship meetings, times of fellowship after the service, and fellowship over tea and coffee. But again, the temptation can be for us to equate fellowship with the activity. We can end up thinking of fellowship simply as talking to people or drinking tea. Yet, in the Bible, fellowship isn’t something we do, but rather something we have.

The Most Essential Article of the Christian Faith

The early Apostolics loved the Trinity and they loved the doctrine of the Trinity. They even said it was 'the most essential article of the Christian faith' and that ‘it is absolutely necessary to believe in the Trinity in the Divine Essence before we can fully grasp and appreciate the other doctrines of our faith.' Just look at where they put the Trinity in the Tenets. Unlike most other evangelical statements of faith (but like the ancient creeds), the Trinity stands in first place. (Most evangelical statements of faith start with the authority of Scripture, which doesn't make it into the Tenets until number 8, when they have moved on to consider the Church). And for the early Apostolics, the Trinity wasn't just a doctrine to be checked off the list to ensure you were 'sound', but rather it was of vital importance to all of the Christian faith and the Christian life.
The two quotes at the beginning both come from Thomas Rees, one of the early Welsh apostl…

The Problem with Preaching

‘The emphasis on daily personal walk means that a central motivation for attendance at worship is the desire to be admonished toward a godly lifestyle. The typical evangelical sermon takes up the challenge to embody this concern. Although the specific topic may vary, the point the evangelical preacher makes each Sunday is the same: “If you are a believer, holy conduct must characterize your life not only Sunday morning but also Monday through Saturday. What is heard in the Sunday worship service must be translated into action throughout the week. If this is not the case, then your faith merely fades into a useless ‘churchianity.’”’ 
(Stanley J. Grenz, Revisioning Evangelical Theology: A Fresh Agenda for the 21st Century, p.49) 
I came across this description of typical American evangelical preaching while reading Grenz for some academic work. I’d like to say that things are different here in Britain, but, in reality, often they’re not. Even here it seems that often enough the epitome …

Wednesday Words: The Resurrection

This week it’s been Easter, so what else could we have for today’s Wednesday Word other than the Resurrection. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in simply defending the historicity of Christ’s resurrection. I’m not going to do that though. I’m just going to start from the fact that the Bible proclaims that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead on the third day. And so what I want to look at today are three implications of Christ’s Resurrection for us (some theology of the resurrection, if you will).

And, as well as that, I've made you a video. It's not amazing, but it is the most technological thing I've ever managed to do. And it's got some diagrams too. So, if you can only see a black box above, click through to the blog for the video. Otherwise, the text version is below.

Raised for our Justification

Rom. 4:25 says that Jesus was ‘raised for our justification’. So our salvation rests on Christ’s resurrection. But didn’t Jesus die for our sins? Yes, He did (and t…

Speaking Jesus

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.’ 

Dickens might have been writing about life before the French Revolution, but I’m writing about our lives. About my life. Best and worst, wisdom and foolishness, belief and incredulity, Light and Darkness, hope and despair, everything ahead and nothing ahead, Heaven and the other place (and this time I don’t mean Oxford!) can all seem to mingle together at times in our lives. Something happens to make it the worst of times and so we foolishly focus our attention on the worst. Instead of trusting in Christ in the situation, we turn our gaze to our disaster. We despair. We s…

Grace for Ministry

A few weeks ago I was writing a lot about the nature of grace. My whole point was that grace isn’t some THING that we get from God, but rather, grace is Christ and Him crucified. So getting grace means getting Jesus. Now that’s all very well when it comes to salvation, but what about when it comes to ministry? Surely grace for ministry is a THING we get from God. Well, no. If it was a different thing, God would use a different word. The Bible could have talked about power for ministry or something else like that, but instead it talks about grace (Rom. 1:5; 1 Cor. 3:10; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:7; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). Just as we’re saved by grace, we serve by grace. And it’s the same grace which saves and which ministers: Jesus. 
And that’s the way the Bible talks about Him too. Not only is Jesus the Saviour, but He’s also the Minister. He is the apostle (Heb. 3:1), the prophet (Acts 3:22-23), the evangelist (e.g. Luke 4:18,43 where the verb is used of Jesus), the pastor (1 Peter 2:25; 5:4; Re…