Archive for June, 2007
Thierry Henry has signed for Barcelona. The faithful captain has jumped ship – here’s to lasting commitment! Now we wait to see if Cesc and Wenger follow him out of the door. As far as I’m concerned the board need to go back to David Dein and beg him to come back to the club.
I’m preaching on Sunday morning at Christ Church Glenwood in Durban. My text is Philippians 2:19-30 looking at Timothy and Epaphroditus as two examples of men who conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (1:27). I think 1:27 is the hinge verse of Philippians, it pretty much sums up the central thrust of Paul’s message to the church in Philippi.
What I’m battling with is presenting the material. You study the passage, outline it in an understandable manner but then you’ve got to fill in the gaps. The filling in the gaps is becoming extremely time consuming and I’m beginning to wonder about how I’m going to do it when I have to preach every single week. At the moment I just do guest preaches and so I’ve got a whole lot of time to work on the material – in just over a years time I’m going to be on the go all the time with preaching. What do you do when writer’s block sets in and you’ve got to face a congregation on Sunday morning?
Watch out for that rain.
Yesterday was Youth Day in South Africa, a day set aside to remember the events that took place in Soweto on June 16, 1976. As South Africans (especially South Africans of all people) maybe we should be remembering something else as well…
Read more about it here.
I have finally launched ‘The Gospel Conversation – A Gospel Conversation for Missional Christians and Leaders in South Africa‘ It’s very simple at the moment, but with lots of room for growth – go have a look.
I’m still enjoying my break. I spoke yesterday at TRAC (Training Rectors and Curates) which is a training initiative for clergy of CESA. I gave a 30 minute talk attempting to give something of an introduction to the Emerging Church. We had a good time of discussion afterwards and concluded that some of us were already involved in ministries that exhibit ‘emerging’ characteristics. We also noted some grave concerns with some things coming out of the broader Emerging Church and I think we were pretty much agreed that there are some elements of the Emerging Church that we cannot reconcile to Scripture and with which can have nothing to do.
However the concern for authentic gospel ministry is at the forefront of much of our clergy’s thinking and so I’m busy trying to put together a blog that will serve us as we endeavour to be truly missional in a Biblical sense here in South Africa. The blog is entitled ‘The Gospel Conversation’ and at the moment is still a bit off being finished. My hope is to get South African authors writing posts dealing with missional ministry in South Africa.
This is an open post to anyone who might stumble across it. I’m looking for information. I’ve been having a discussion about social action and doing justice and what I want to know is if anyone can point me to literature that deals with historical studies on how the early church dealt with social action and doing justice – how much evidence is there of what they did, both to those inside the Christian community and those outside. Any takers?
I got through the foreword and the first chapter of ‘The Face of Urban Mission – Ministering the Gospel in a diverse and changing world‘ by Harie Conn and others. The foreword is a testimony to the very practical ministry of the late Harvie Conn and his deep passion for the gospel to be practised in a holistic manner.
In chapter 1 he hits the nail on the head of probably the biggest problem in modern missions – the ‘apartheid’ that separates mission from theology. Normally when one brings up this subject the blame is either laid at theology’s door for being too stuck in its ‘ivory towers’ to be of any practical use OR at the door of missions for being to pragmatically driven to take real cognisance of theology. Conn doesn’t pick sides – rather he highlights the errors on both sides and suggests, drawing quite a bit from David Bosch, something of a way forward that seems to be emerging where both are integrated. I wonder what Harive Conn would make of the Emerging Church in its current expression? I’m looking forward to the next lot of chapters and getting into some of the nitty gritty of urban mission.
I’m back in the promised land that is Durban, South Africa, for the next three weeks. I’m hoping to do a fair bit of everything in this time. Yesterday I fellowshipped at Christ Church Glenwood in the morning and at Christ Church Umhlanga in the evening. Both services we great, real low-key and informal. We had great times of questions and answers after the services which something I appreciate so much about these smaller churches is the ability of the whole congregation to discuss the sermon in public together mutually edifying and encouraging one another.
Tomorrow I’m giving my talk on the Emerging Church – so if you’re praying, pray for that one. Somewhere between tomorrow and the 2nd of July, when I head back to Cape Town, I’ll be giving details of a new blog discussing Reformed Missional thinking in South Africa so keep your eyes out for that one. Otherwise next week I’m attending the Mid-Year Conference in KZN, which is largely aimed at the students of UKZN, its always great to hang out with a whole bunch of young people wanting to hear the Bible taught and think seriously about gospel living.
Otherwise, its just surfing, soccer, reading, eating, sleeping and anything else that grabs my fancy. Holidays are so good.
I’ve been trawling through blog posts dealing with the ensuing atonement wars and I’ve become increasingly irritated by a common thread I see running through. Everyone keeps pitting their theological heroes against each other. It’s all N.T. Wright says this or N.T. Wright says that – and in defending ‘Pierced for our Transgressions‘ some bloggers have made mention of the long list of endorsements from the who’s who of evangelicalism (in fact I think I even did that – see I irritate myself!?!?). Its like this big power war.
And it doesn’t just happen over the issue of atonement but it happens in all areas where people disagree – these appeals to ‘power’ figures. This makes me think that people aren’t always concerned with coming to a God honouring conclusion but rather concerned with bullying people into their position. Now I must qualify and say that there is great value from learning from those more learned than us, and citing them when making points – but there’s a difference between that and pitting these Christian celebrities against one another in our low-level power struggles. And I hope you’re not reading this and saying ‘oh yes people who do that are terrible’ because I think we all do it. In the blogsphere I interact with Reformed folk, Charismatic folk, Emerging folk, those for Penal Substitution and those against – and you know what – you all do it! And so do I!
I think we need to dialogue more around texts of the Scriptures – I think we need to have more forums of people discussing the Bible – on the Bible’s basis – have discussions about the context, the grammar, the redemptive history of the passage, the way it would have been understood by the original readers, the difference Jesus makes to our understanding etc. etc. I think the reason that this doesn’t happen often (even on my blog) is because it’s hard work – and blogs are a quick and easy forum for discussion.
This is a rebuke for me as much as it is for anyone else who comes across it. Let’s get back to the Bible and get back with humility and a deep desire to understand.
As a self-confessed Don Carson fan I found this post quite interesting.
“Should we not remind ourselves that worship is a transitive verb? We do not meet to worship (i.e. to experience worship); we aim to worship God. ‘Worship the Lord you God, and serve him only’: there is the heart of the matter. In this area, as in so many others, one must not confuse what is central with byproducts. If you seek peace, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find peace. If you seek joy, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find joy. If you seek holiness, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find holiness. If you seek experiences of worship, you will not find them; if you worship the living God, you will experience something of what is reflected in the Psalms. Worship is a transitive verb, and the most important thing about it is the direct object.” D. A. Carson (ed.), ‘Worship: Adoration and Action’ p.15
Not the way many normally think about ‘going to worship’ is it?
Michael Spencer (the Internetmonk) has been accused for ranting on and on about the problems of the evangelical church – and he has ranted. But some of us have enjoyed reading his rants because often they make a lot of sense and keep people thinking. In his most recent post he shifts gears a bit and suggest 5 answers to today’s evangelical crisis.
I couldn’t help notice, whilst reading these 5 answers, that a lot of what he is suggesting is already being done by friends of mine who are younger CESA (Church of England in South Africa) ministers and pastors. I can think of about 5 or 6 churches off-hand who are trying really hard to implement these sorts of things. So if Michael Spencer is right – and I definitely think he’s on to something – then there’s a lot to be encouraged by here in South Africa. I know, it’s only a handful at the moment, but its growing and has grown even over the last 5 or so years. Perhaps the reformed missional church is already alive and growing in South Africa.
Read Michael Spencer’s post and see what you think.