Well Mark Driscoll has a reputation for being controversial and he kept that intact down-under with two talks he presented to the Sydney crowd at a training day. His second talk – from the notes I’ve read – seems to be something of quite a brave critique of operations in Sydney. I think it’ll generate quite a few blog responses in the not to distant future. For the low down you can check out Michael Jensen’s brief thoughts here, Mike Jolly’s summary of Driscoll’s points here and Gordon Cheng’s notes from the two talks here. With my own denomination, the Church of England in South Africa (CESA), borrowing a ton from Sydney I wonder if Driscoll would have pretty much the same critique for us? I’d have to listen to the talk myself before passing judgment, but from a surface point of view I resonate with a lot of his points from my own experience here. That said, a few of his points don’t quite make sense to me and I fear he might be missing the boat a bit on some – but they’re all worth looking at and thinking through (In reading remember that, as Mike points out, this is friendly-fire).
Archive for the 'CESA' Category
Michael has written a really good and positive review of ‘Total Church‘. I particularly enjoyed this line:
“But I think in my own teaching that the church is primarily a heavenly reality, I have allowed the significance of the church on earth to be downgraded. I felt particularly convicted by Timmis & Chester’s insistence that this should never be the case: churches must be living expressions of the heart of God for the world if they are to be true to their heavenly identity.”
Methinks many in my own denomination are suffering from this same error.
It started snowing a few minutes ago! I was watching the weather this morning and it looks like its going to be a pretty chilly week. Yesterday I did the church rounds. We changed the original plan because we’d already heard Darrin Patrick preach the same sermon twice and even though Darrin rocks we decided to check out the ‘other’ side of American Christianity. So last night I went to Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church (PCA). Twin Oaks has fairly strong ties to the Bible Institute of South Africa and so because I knew of it I went along to visit a service. So here are my thoughts…
First off I’m still trying to get used to these massive church buildings everywhere – it creates a serious ‘religious’ feel to the whole place. The service was a really formal service reading pslams and singing from the hymnbook – although they did have a Matt Redman song and a Chris Tomlin song, but they sang them a bit like hymns anyway. Now I’ve attended my fair share of formal and conservative churches (especially a number of prayerbook services in the Church of England in South Africa) but this just seemed way more formal than anything I’d ever been to before. The roof of the place was almost in the heavens, everything seemed to have these ‘gold’ furnishings, the pulpit look like the bridge on the Starship Enterprise and the pastor sat in an elaborate red chair on the stage through most of the service. Now I don’t want to knock Twin Oaks – in fact I have a number of friends who’ve been members there plus they give an absolute ton to foreign mission – but it just hit home to me how different church is in America to South Africa. It also made me understand the emerging conversation with fresh perspective – in fact I came away wondering why there are any emerging people in South Africa at all, in some ways we’ve got a whole lot less to emerge out of than they do over here.
It was a night and day distinction with the Journey service that I attended in the morning where everything was relaxed, fresh and engaging – basically very non-religious and informal. I suddenly felt quite good about where a number of our CESA (Church of England in South Africa) churches are at.
Today I’m off to have a drink with Chris Gensheer who is a regular visitor to this blog and has his own blog over at Intersection. I’m also going to tag along with Chris tonight to some lectures at Covenant Seminary – should be interesting.
Sun has come out now – the snow is already melting. I’ll have to wait a bit longer to make my snow angel!
Its 2 days to go until this blog’s very first birthday. And as we approach this landmark I thought I’d have a bit of a nostalgic trip down memory lane and some of the posts I’ve written in the past. Today I want to make mention of some of the posts that didn’t do so well in terms of hits but that I wish had got better readership than other posts which drew in many more readers. These are the ones I wanted people to read:
Pray for Zimbabwe (15/03/07)
Missional Influences (13/04/07)
In conversation with daylight #1 (31/05/07)
In conversation with daylight #2 (01/06/07)
Michael Spencer and CESA (02/06/07)
Application Beyond the Structures (02/08/07)
10 Tips for On-Line Christian Discussion (25/09/07)
These posts will tell you a lot about what’s important to me.
On Thursday last week we we’re given the opportunity at college to sit and listen to two lectures by Bishop Frank Retief who is the current presiding bishop of my denomination, the Church of England in South Africa (CESA). Bishop Frank took the two periods to simply encourage us to do evangelism. It was great to sit and listen at the feet of the man who was once called ‘The Billy Graham of South Africa’ in a newspaper article. It reminded me about the absolute importance and centrality of active Gospel proclamation.
In conversations about missional church and the emerging church it has become apparent to me that often Gospel proclamation is given a rather low position in the general day to day activities of this new kind of Christian. Its often unfairly caricatured as simply providing fire insurance against a wrath-filled God or the advertising of an escape ticket (admit one person). This is a worrying trend. If certain voices in the EC are going to adopt this line they may be in danger of losing the central thrust of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can love and bless our communities until we’re blue in the face but we would have done those same communities a HUGE disservice if we haven’t told them that God is a holy God who judges sin, and that only in Christ can they be forgiven of their sin and shielded from the wrath of God so they might have relationship with him.
My prayer is that Gospel proclamation will never become a lost art amongst those who choose to align themselves with Jesus Christ.
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.