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To Judge or Not to Judge

Scripture is filled with tensions; seemingly irreconcilable truths that taken at face value can’t seem to coexist while still holding that the Bible is entirely consistent, and totally infallible in its wholeness. One such example of this is the question of judging others. How do we reconcile Jesus’ oft-quoted words in Matthew 7 (“Don’t judge others, and you won’t be judged yourself”) with instructions from, say, Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5 (“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear”)? There is a mystery here that deserves exploration.

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C. S. Lewis on the Church

When I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; . . . I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized Continue reading C. S. Lewis on the Church

Celebrating the Seeking Saviour

The word advent means “coming”. Christmas is a time when we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world, and the reason for his coming – to seek and save the lost. Similarly, Advent is a season for remembering that God is on a mission. He is sending, pursuing, searching, and saving. Two times in 1 John 3:1-10 we are told why Christmas happened – Christ came into the world to take away sin. The greatest glory that the world would ever see is when the Son of Man (Jesus’ favourite designation for himself) was lifted up on a cross to die for sinners, destroying sin.

The story of the Son of God coming into the world is so much more than historical fact. It is a message of hope sent by God to single parents, anxious teenagers, struggling preachers, depressed husbands, disabled neighbours, us. God’s message of hope this Advent is that since the Son of God lived, died, rose victorious, and is coming again, that what is bad can be changed and what is good need not be lost. Continue reading Celebrating the Seeking Saviour

What is Ministry, Anyway? (Part 2)

God is the Creator. Therefore, in order to be faithful we must inquire concerning God’s purpose in and for his creation. The world exists as the product of the outflow of divine love; the eternal relationship between Father, Spirit and Son, and his invitation for us to participate in the life of the Trinity[1]. God is not simply saving individuals and preparing them for heaven, but rather he’s setting apart a people among whom he can dwell, and who by their unity and diversity can represent his life and love to all nations[2]. Everyone gets community, but recently this took on new meaning for me when I became the step-father to a 10 year old with Cerebral Palsy, a hearing impairment and an intellectual impairment. The Apostle Paul talks about God’s sovereign and loving arrangement of His people in 1 Corinthians 12:18. So, with the knowledge that God has intentionally ordained some to be weaker, by Paul’s definition our churches are not complete without the presence of people living with some form of “disability”. But if that’s the case, why is it that we don’t see more people who are in some way disabled in our churches? Continue reading What is Ministry, Anyway? (Part 2)

What is Ministry, Anyway? (Part 1)

So what is ministry, anyway? I want to offer four ideas. Four keys that have unlocked for me what ministry is. Not that I’ve “discovered”ministry; but that as I reflect on my life, I see the gradual revealing of my participation in God’s story and how it has shaped me – but more specifically for today – how it has moulded the way that I approach this “ministry thing”. My prayer today is that God would use my story (not that you’d see me though) to give us some tangible ways in which our theology of ministry can be practically applied to our daily lives, that God might get the glory both inside and outside the church. Continue reading What is Ministry, Anyway? (Part 1)

Justification is not ‘Just-as-if-I’d never sinned’

Lately I’ve been hearing preachers declare the good news of justification – a word central to the Christian Gospel. They frequently use the catchy word-play that justified means “just-as-if-I’d never sinned”. It seems like a clever phrase, and something that we as Christians can celebrate. But it’s not really that clever, because justification is so much more than this. Continue reading Justification is not ‘Just-as-if-I’d never sinned’

Lent: Less is More

This March, I made the decision to participate in Lent. Now I’m not a Catholic, and so I didn’t worry about only eating fish for dinner on Fridays, but in this crazy-busy world it isn’t hard to see the value in abstaining from something in order to make room for more important things. So what’s it all about? Packaged simply, Lent is a 40 day period of reflection, repentance and preparation which begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends with the celebration of the triumph of Easter Sunday. This post is the summary of my first experience of Lent.

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