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Showing posts from May, 2017

3 Minutes on the Holy Spirit & the Church

It's Whitsun this Lord's Day, when we remember Jesus' outpouring of the Holy Spirit on His Church after His ascension. So here's a three minute video on the Holy Spirit and the Church. It's based on Tenet Catechism 6.4 : Q. What does the Holy Spirit do for the Church, the Body of Christ? A. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ the Head of the Church, unites the Church to Christ her Head, builds the Church up in Christ through the Word and the gifts, and always points the Church and her members more and more to Christ. You can find the video on Youtube here , and you can find the whole Tenet Catechism on the Catechesis page .

5 Minutes on the Ascension (Happy Ascension Day!)

It's the most wonderful day of the year! Happy Ascension Day :) And, as we were talking about catechesis yesterday , here's 5 minutes of catechesis on the Ascension of Christ and its significance for His people. (The visuals aren't terribly exciting, but I explain each bit of the catechism answer.) It's based on Tenet Catechism 3.16 . (If you can't see the video above, click here to get it on YouTube .)

Catechesis and Why We Need It (With Catechisms to Help)

‘The church of God will never be preserved without catechesis!’ So declared one of the great leaders of the Reformation. The other great Reformer saw catechesis as equally important: ‘Those who are unwilling to learn the catechism,’ thundered Luther, ‘should be told that they deny Christ and are not Christians!’ Perhaps that might all sound rather over-dramatic and a bit of an overstatement to you. After all, most Evangelicals and Pentecostals don't often use words like catechesis. But, if we understand what catechesis is, we’ll see that these are rather biblical statements indeed, and ones which have been proven over and over again in the history of the church. If we’re to understand the vital necessity of catechesis, then we first need to know what catechesis is. Catechesis means ‘instruction’, and particularly ‘oral instruction.’ In other words, to catechise someone is to sit down with them and teach them the faith. In the earliest days of church history, new converts were

Charismatics and the Cross

Theologically then, the absence of the atonement is one of the most marked features of Charismatic worship ... Classical Pentecostalism did not lose the crucicentric emphasis ... To the contrary, classical Pentecostals seemed to be especially attached to atonement themes. Its pneumatological emphasis was added to but did not supplant the atonement emphasis. ... There has clearly been a very dramatic shift in emphasis. We are forced to potentially redefine Charismatic Christianity as something other than evangelical if Bebbington's quadrilateral holds. Charismatic Christianity's quadrilateral, if it has one at all, has dropped at least two of evangelicalism's most distinctive identity markers. Most significantly of all, it has dropped crucicentrism. ... We search in vain for anywhere else in Charismatic faith where crucicentrism has been maintained ... I had been a Charismatic for four years when a spiritual crisis led to me finding some life-changing answers in the

Of Pastors and Presbyteries: ‘To all the saints … with the bishops and deacons’

Paul tells us at the beginning of Philippians that he and Timothy are writing ‘to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons’ (Phil. 1:1). It’s the first verse of an epistle, so we might easily be tempted to think of it as nothing more than a fancy way of saying ‘dear Philippians’ and skip ahead to (what we might think is) the meatier stuff of the main contents; however, if we pause here a moment there is much here for us to learn, not only about who Christians really are (which is not my subject today), but also about the governance of the church and about its ministers (which is what I want to write about). How, you might ask, can we learn anything about the governance of the church and about the ministry from a simple address? After all, Paul barely names the orders of ministry in Philippi, tacking them onto the end of his greeting. But those few words are significant. And those few words are part of ‘all Scripture’ which is ‘profitable for do

Breaking Bread in California and Britain: Transatlantic Thoughts on Pentecostal Eucharistic Practice

In his essay ‘Communion: A Pentecostal Perspective’ (in Michael Root and James J Buckley, ed., What Does It Mean to “Do This”?: Supper, Mass, Eucharist ), Telford Work starts off with a description of Pentecostal Eucharistic practice: What would you see at a Pentecostal Lord’s Supper? You would see a congregation in pews or chairs – perhaps passing brass platters and cupholders the way I did as a Presbyterian, or perhaps proceeding to the front of the sanctuary at their own family or individual initiative to dip a morsel of bread into a cup of grape juice. You would hear a worship band playing contemplative hymns – or perhaps slow, amplified stadium-rock worship songs, or perhaps celebratory gospel – with some of the congregation singing along. You would see quiet, reflective expressions on churchgoers’ faces, and you might pick up the sounds of prayers muttered so quietly that you couldn’t tell whether or not they were in tongues. You would probably hear the words of institutio

A Good Brief Introduction to Martin Luther from the BBC

As you might know, this year sees the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg. So, this week, in honour of that, BBC Radio 3 has been broadcasting a series of essays on Luther and his "Reformation Gang." The first programme is on Luther himself and it's a great 14 minute introduction to the man from Lyndal Roper, the Regius Professor of Theology at the University of Oxford (a.k.a. "the Other Place"). Listen to it while it's still online! Professor Roper packs a lot of Luther's life into a really interesting short programme and gives the sort of balanced introduction to the great Reformer that, while not hiding his flaws, will draw you in to want to know more about Luther and the Reformation. This isn't hagiography, but fantastic history. The other programmes in the series are on Thomas Muntzer , Katharina von Bora , Johann Walther , and tonight's will be on Philip Melanc

All the Father's heart mine own— Mine—and yet His Son's alone

Would you like a song about what it means to be united to Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly realms? Of course you would! So here's a forgotten treasure from the hymnbook. And what's more, everyone knows the tune, which works equally well with piano or organ, or with a guitar and band: it's set to Irby , which everyone knows as the tune to Once in Royal David's City . No more veil! God bids me enter By the new and living way— Not in trembling hope I venture, Boldly I His call obey; There, with Him, my God, I meet God upon the mercy-seat! In the robes of spotless whiteness, With the Blood of priceless worth, He has gone into that brightness, Christ rejected from the earth— Christ accepted there on high, And in Him do I draw nigh. Oh the welcome I have found there, God in all His love made known! Oh the glory that surrounds there Those accepted in His Son! Who can tell the depths of bliss Spoken by the Father's kiss? One with Him, O Lord, before Thee