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Showing posts from October, 2013

Preaching Sessions (Understanding the Bible & Christ in All the Scriptures)

Last night we had the second set of preaching sessions for the Bradford Area pastors and elders. Last month in the first two sessions we had started off with a theology of preaching. This time we were looking at understanding the biblical text, so the first session was a very rushed, brief guide to interpreting the text. It was supposed to be Hermeneutics: Grammatical, Historical & Christ-focused (but we didn't actually get as far as the Christ-focused bit until the second session.) The second session was on Christ in All the Scriptures, and this was the most important (and I think most people would agree, most enjoyable) part. An overview of hermeneutics by itself is useful, but not enough. After all, Jesus made clear in John 5:39-40, 46 that you can exegete as thoroughly as possible, but if you miss Him, you won't have properly understood the Scripture.

I didn't get to cover a lot of the stuff I had planned for each session (hence the rushed-ness of the first sessio…

Glorified, Risen and Ascended (Basic Theology Session 6)

Want to know about the glory of the Lord? Well, we talked about it in the latest Basic Theology session. Thinking about Jesus' glorification, we talked some more about the Cross, seeing that, not only did Christ die for us, but we died in Christ. Then we went on to look at the importance and implications of Christ's resurrection and ascension. Oh, and there's a bit about rainbows too (but it's all relevant, I promise).
The first six weeks of Basic Theology sessions are all available on the Audio page. And there are another six weeks to come after half term!

Strange Fire?: Responding to Tom Pennington's Case for Cessationism

I know some people have already written responses to Tom Pennington's 7 arguments for cessationism, but I'm going to go ahead and write my response as well. Why? Well, 1) because, in the immortal words of Magnus Magnusson, 'I've started, so I'll finish' - I said in the last post that I would and it's been going round in my head, so I'm going to write it; and 2) I think every Pentecostal or charismatic pastor should be able to put forward the case for continuationism and defend it against the claims of cessationism, so putting such an argument into words myself will be good for me myself.

So let's just dive in and look at Pennington's 7 arguments for the cessation of the gifts of the Spirit one by one. (By the way, you can find the summaries of Pennington's message on Tim Challies blog and at the Cripplegate. My quotes of Pennington are from the Cripplegate.)

1) The Unique Role of Miracles

Pennington argues that there were only 3 primary perio…

Strange Fire?: Some Musings on Revelation, Scripture, Cessationism and Continuationism

I've succumbed to the temptation to write about Strange Fire, or rather to write around it. For John Macarthur's conference isn't the only thing rolling around in my head at the moment.There's a book I don't want to write about, but which is playing on my mind. There's a meeting I was at recently where everyone was talking about revelation. There are some words from a prophecy. And there are talks I'm preparing both on theology and on preaching, both of which rest on the (very biblical) conviction that Jesus is the revelation of God. All of this is turning round together and all of it interlinks.

Back in my undergraduate days, if anyone accused me of being a charismatic, I'd reply that I wasn't - I was a Pentecostal. To me charismatic was just too broad and nebulous, and too much associated with strange unbiblical things (whether it be barking like dogs - the 'Toronto Blessing' wasn't such a distant memory back then - or health and weal…

Jesus Our Substitute (Basic Theology Session 5)

Jesus our Substitute was the subject of the latest Basic Theology session. (You can listen to it here.)We looked not only at His substitutionary work on the Cross, but also at His life as our substitute. Jesus didn't just die for us; He also lived for us and obeyed for us.

We didn't get time to cover all the aspects of the Cross I had hoped to look at, and so mainly focused on Penal Substitution and Propitiation. But even there time was limited, so here's a bit more on propitiation that I didn't have time to cover in the talk:

6 Bullet Points on Propitiation from Romans 5:24-25:

Jesus' Baptism is the Real Baptism

I’m not sure we (and by we, I mean good conservative evangelicals) think all that much about Jesus’ Baptism. Now, I’m sure some people do, but I tend to find it’s something that almost seems to get skipped over. We love to talk about His birth (after all, Carol Services are one of the evangelistic highlights of the year), and we don’t really neglect His temptations. His miracles and His teaching are both quite big deals to the pens and pulpits of we evangelicals. And of course, His cross and resurrection are ‘of first importance’ (1 Cor. 15:3). But (apart from children’s Bible lessons) Jesus’ baptism (and probably His transfiguration as well) don’t seem to get a lot of attention from us.

And that’s a bit odd. Here’s a moment where we catch a glimpse of the life of the Trinity. Here we see something of that eternal love and fellowship. Here we see the unity of will and purpose. And yet, on the rare occasions on which we do talk about it, the main focus seems to be on settling argument…

Creed or Chaos [A Repost]

Reposted from February 2012.

Last Sunday morning we began our service in Leeds with something that I'd venture to say is a bit unusual in a Pentecostal church. It's not something unusual in itself; in fact, it's something that's done in the majority of churches in the UK every week, but just not in most Pentecostal ones. What was this strange practice? We said the Creed.

Hang on now. Before anyone gets too upset with me for doing something so "unbiblical"/"Anglican" (I'm not sure which is meant as the harsher criticism), let's just clear a few things up.

Firstly, the Apostles' Creed is in no way unbiblical. Rather it's role is to give a succinct summary of what the Bible teaches. And that it does rather well. That means that, far from being an unbiblical statement, the Creed is one of the most biblical things we could possibly recite. In an age when all sorts of "preachers" are commanding their followers to turn to the pers…

More on the Trinity, plus Creation & Sin (Basic Theology Session 4)

We started off our theology sessions looking at Jesus who is the Revelation of God and who is God, we then went on to look at His Incarnation, and from there we got to the Trinity. Last week we had the fourth session, looking some more at the doctrine of the Trinity, plus a few quick points about Creation (mainly on what it means that Creation is the work of the Triune God) and finally spent about a twenty minutes or so on the doctrine of sin. It's quick. Yep, that's not a lot of time to think about big subjects, but it's quick, it's an overview, and hopefully it's a bit helpful.

Suffer the Little Children: On Infant Baptism vs Dedication, Mark 10, and Jesus

On Sunday I accidentally found myself at an infant baptism. Yes, I know, that's a rather unusual place to accidentally find oneself, but that's what happened. I was preaching in another Apostolic Church at the far end of the country and they share a building with another congregation of another denomination. So the local Apostolic pastor and I went along to the other congregation's service before ours, discovering when we arrived that they were having an infant baptism. 
Now, as an Apostolic pastor, I rarely find myself at infant baptisms. It's not something I'm used to, so I was paying quite close attention to what was going on. And it was very interesting. You see, I had spent the whole day on Friday in a committee meeting, where a large part of the time had been devoted to discussing infant dedication. We had talked about how the practice could be justified biblically, what it meant, and what it actually involved. And now on the Sunday, I was seeing exactly the …