Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Funny yet sad

Very insightful blogger Onesimus Online has recently put up what he calls The Evangelical [...] shorter Catechtism - if there is any hint of fundie theology in your bones, this is a must read not just for the humour factor, but that we may repent and believe!

Saintly sage

I love C. S. Lewis' response to someone who is struggling with the thought that her husband (now dead) may be destined for eternal torment. The questioner thinks that if this is the case, wouldn't it be better if God erases the memory of her husband? Lewis, rather than respond in theological fantasy and semantical ambiguity (that sometimes clouds my answers) offers what in my mind is saintly (godly) and sagely advice

"When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased."

Reminds me of the greatest Saintly Sage: Matthew 6:33

Friday, 23 July 2010

Quote of the week

Sexual knowledge is the model of knowledge, the eschatological knowledge, because at the end the world will be bride. To know the world now, we love it, caress it, embrace it. We don’t uncover the secrets of the world by raping, but by wooing her.


Video of the week

We all do it... So get it right from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

one small step for woman, many sad steps for man

Isn't it painful when someone just says it as it is? I'd never seriously thought about how the ordination of women inadvertently leads to other theological errors (although I remember a fellow ordinand once saying in a lecture - to consternation/squirming from the rest of us - that the ordination of women and the "gay issue" were all part of a package). Anyway there was that issue just lounging in the deep recesses of my brain when I read this

"Looking for flourishing chastity in such settings is a sexual snipe hunt. Just ask the question directly. Those denominations that worked through the controversy of women's ordination a generation ago have certainly moved on. Their controversies now concern whether sodomites should be wearing sodomitres in solemn procession up the central aisle"

from Doug Wilson's Why Ministers Must Be Men, 23

Briefly looking at what has happened at my denomination, the mind goes huh!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Echo of the future

Soon after moving to London, I remember being urged to re-think my views on Church. The key issue was to avoid calling Church "worship" and to see all of life as a worship event. Amongst many of my friends, I remember a key book being Vaughan Roberts, True Worship which helpfully pointed out that all of life is to be lived God-ward. I embraced this ideology and became an advocate of the "all of life is worship" mantra and eschewed the notion of calling church services "a time of public worship". Over the last few years though, this ideology has been challenged somewhat. Reading through the book of Hebrews or 1 Corinthians for example it is hard to miss the NT's portrayal of our gathering on the Lord's day as a particular time of worship when we focus on the Lord in a way we haven't done all week. This is not to deny that everything we do is an act of worship but rather to recognise as Mike Cosper says, that "worship has TWO contexts—the broad context of all of life (unceasing, living-sacrifice worship) and the narrow context of the gathered church, who gathers to encourage and build one another up, offering a foretaste of what is to come when Christ returns an heaven and earth are joined together. (Jeremy Begbie calls this an "echo of the future," which is one of the coolest phrases in all of Christendom.)" So there, I'm looking forward to our time of worship this Sunday. Hope you are too.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Ouote of the week

Ministers of the gospel should expect their teaching to have transformative power over the course of years and decades. Gospel proclamation is not like the coach's half time talk in the locker room, where the exhortation is all about now, and the application, all the application, immediately follows... You might see a man do the right thing today, and not know that it could all be traced back to a sermon heard by his great grandmother on his mother's side in 1932.

via Doctrinal Leaven

Friday, 16 July 2010

Thieving Prime Minister?

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, "What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor."

via The City of God (Book IV) St Augustine

Amazing to think that Augustine understood how wicked regimes can get and me thinks that our leaders (in the Church and State) would do well to ponder this quote before embarking upon their work tomorrow so if you see any of them will you please point to them this most phenomenal of African theologians...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Love Him first

CS Lewis illumines how foolish it is to put God second

"(Sensual love) ceases to be a devil when it ceases to be a god. So many things—nay every real thing—is good if only it will be humble and ordinate." (from a 1940 letter)

“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” (from a 1952 letter)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

"Ok" is not good enough

Whilst at theological college, we had an array of visiting speakers come and lead our meditations at the Lord's Supper service. For us Anglicans, there was always some nervousness whenever a Bishop or other senior clergyman turned up. What would he be like? What new fad would he commend? Would we have to undergo the inevitable wince as heresy was slyly mixed up with the heavenly manna on the Lord's table? Thankfully in most instances, we would get general platitudes and more often than not the visiting Bishop would do their best to present themselves as a friend unto Evangelicals.

Now that I'm an ordained clergyman - with hopes of soon making it to Archbishop, I've been wondering if this is the sort of thinking is really all that helpful when evaluating the ministry and preaching of our elders, presbyters, bishops. Rather than thinking a Bishop, Minister, lay preacher, Cornhill apprentices is "good" because their sermon was "ok" and wasn't heretical, shouldn't we be applying a more biblical standard? Verses such as Ezekiel 3:16-21; Acts 20:26-27; 1 Timothy 4:16; James 3:1

Perhaps one way of visualizing this issue personally is to consider the question below that one of my college tutors posed on this subject of how to assess a preacher...

If I had full pastoral charge of a congregation and was therefore responsible to give an account to God of the nurture, nourishment and protection of these 50 or 500 people in their life as disciples of Jesus, would I, when taking a three month sabbatical, cheerfully call in X to be my stand-in pastor-teacher, confident that the congregation would be outstandingly taught, prayed for, and discipled under his ministry?

Or, the same thing put differently consider this quote from Doug Wilson

"Miss Realistic is quite a seductive little thing, but she always has ugly babies. When the cancer of corruption is well-advanced in a commonwealth, believers can easily be maneuvered into festooning themselves with the campaign buttons of the less corrupt. Such relative comparisons between 'horrible' and 'not quite so bad,' can appear quite stark, and they do give political campaigns a high entertainment value, but they still do not reflect the standards of the law of God" (Joy at the End of the Tether, p. 116).

May we abhor the "not so bad" and "ok" preaching rife in the Church and strive for preachers who will fearlessly Preach the Word, in season and out, correcting, rebuking and encouraging, with great patience and careful instruction. Amen.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Nouveau man

It has been quite a month for me-

newly married,
newly ordained,
new home,
new year (as t'was my birthday at the end of June)

Now begins the adventure of settling into and properly administering the many roles and responsibilities that God has brought my way - scary thought but with one that will be accomplished by looking constantly to the Rock our God. Join me in praying that I'd be

a faithful husband
a fearless minister
a fruitful husband
a fun-filled nouveau man