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Showing posts from January, 2016

The Church: 15. The Essence of Worship--Part IV

The Church: The Essence of Worship: Part IV
Two misguided human pursuits are the aspiration to self-rule apart from God and devotion to something other than God.  In the ink of these two alternatives, human history is written. Over against this story, however, is the story of God in human history, creating and providing an alternative that culminates in the work of Jesus Christ.
The experiment of the Western Enlightenment, leading from a deistic rationalism to an atheistic existentialism, is characterised by human aspirations to self-rule, life apart from God. Evangelism in the West has often involved responding to the claim that there is no God.  Whereas the practical implications of such a debate used to focus around such issues as praying in public schools or on the sports fields, increasingly the issues of an a-theistic culture have to do with moral freedom.
In non-Western cultures, the issue is not whether God exists but who or what demands our devotion.  This might …

Issues Facing Missions Today: 46. (Some) Values for American, Evangelical Voters

Issues Facing Missions Today: 46. (Some) Values for American, Evangelical Voters
Dear Evangelical Voters in Iowa:
You represent the rest of us Evangelicals in the news these days as the American nation watches how you will vote in the upcoming party elections for president of the United States.  We can appreciate your opposition to Democratic candidates, who advocate killing the unborn and oppose Biblical marriage in the name of freedom.  Yet support for one Republican candidate over another is also a difficult challenge for any Evangelical.  One leading candidate who claims to be a Christian seems rather obviously to be doing so only to win votes.  He certainly has little understanding of Christian values, even arguing the other night on the O’Reilly Factor that Christians teach ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  Some other candidates are more closely connected to the Church, and yet we should cringe when hearing some of their views.  Christians are not a voting block to be …

The Church: 14. Paedobaptism or Adult Baptism?

The Church: 14. Paedobaptism or Believers' Baptism?

So, bottom line, should we baptize babies of a believing parent or only baptize believing adults?  How do we use the Bible appropriately to answer this question?  Frankly, does the Bible answer this question?
This post is at the request of a friend, and he has caught me at a busy time right at the beginning of the semester.  So, without the care I’d like to give the subject, here are a few thoughts on a very, very old debate.  Nobody should be under the impression that this is an exhaustive or detailed discussion! 
Why place this on a 'Bible and Mission' blog site?  The issue arises acutely in a post-Christian context for Western nations.  Baptism is a Christian practice that speaks to the mission concerns of the relationship between Church and society, evangelism and initiation into the Church, and the witness of believers.
This essay is meant as an Evangelical discussion, and certain assumptions are made from th…

Issues Facing Missions Today: 45. The Misnomer ‘Homophobia’ and its Theological Implications

Issues Facing Missions Today: 45. The Misnomer ‘Homophobia’ and its Theological Implications
In his opening speech at the Lambeth gathering of Anglican Archbishops this week (11-15 January, 2016), the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, allegedly stated,[1]
We can also paint a gloomy picture of the moral and spiritual state of Anglicanism. In all Provinces there are forms of corruption, none of us is without sin. There is litigation, the use of civil courts for church matters in some places. Sexual morality divides us over same sex issues, where we are seen as either compromising or homophobic. 
Indeed, the newly invented term, ‘homophobia,’ has become a standard term in Western society in reference to persons opposed, for whatever reason, to homosexuality.  It is a profoundly inappropriate term, behind which lie numerous errors with serious consequences.  The term is not only a linguistic game played by those wishing to put their own viewpoints forward by shaming others, it is also …