Archive for April, 2011

‎”Both heaven and hell are populated entirely and only by forgiven sinners. Hell is just a courtesy for those who insist they want no part of forgiveness”.

Robert Farrar Capon – Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002)

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was wary of this kind of theology as he said it opened the door to ‘cheap grace’; the idea that we could gain all the benefits of God’s wonderful kindness without paying the ‘cost of discipleship’. I think he is right.
Of course, on the other hand, there are many of us who hold a more ‘orthodox’ theology of repentance leading to forgiveness and still fail to pay the full ‘cost of discipleship’.
In the end, we can’t define God’s actions to get the best result out of ourselves. God does what God does, we respond. We can only ever respond. Interestingly the only proper response to either God’s unbridled and scandalous love (as mentioned above) or to a more orthodox ‘repent and be saved’ is nothing short of absolute humility before God leading to discipleship and obedience – nothing cheap happening there. Unfortunately it is not that we believe one over the other whichever way you put it, but that we don’t really believe either but still want the benefits of both.

I dream of a church…

Posted: 28 April, 2011 in My stuff
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I dream of a church that is centred around following Jesus.  A church where people are coming to faith and where those who have been on the journey of faith for some time are still growing.  Where those who are finding faith have the opportunity to ask  their deep and honest questions and those with experience can offer honest and thoughtful answers.

I dream of a church that does not identify itself by a building or an event but by each individual’s relationship to Jesus and, because of that relationship, have a relationship with each other.  We take seriously Jesus’ instruction to love one another.  We see it as a command not merely a suggestion or an unachievable ideal.  We recognise that loving each other is hard work and we commit to and submit to one another to make it a growing reality among us. (more…)

On Friday a number of us gathered together to celebrate Good Friday; the death of Jesus.  We read from Matthew’s Gospel the story of that fateful Friday; a day of shadows.

On that day of shadows Jesus, whom we believe to be the promised messiah, and whom many of his followers believed to be the saviour and deliverer of God’s people was betrayed by one of his own, condemned by those he came to save and executed by the authorities he was presumed to be saving them from.

Rather than being relegated to expanding ranks of would-be but failed Messiahs the story of Jesus spreads like wildfire.  Not as the good moral teacher, not as the great leader who was assassinated, not as the example of the virtuous life, but as the resurrected Kerios kai Christos – Lord and Christ.

Today we celebrate the resurrection and it is to the resurrection I want to turn.  (more…)

Life has been full

Posted: 5 April, 2011 in My stuff

Hi,
I am aware that I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks. All is well, it is just that life is full. A house guest, church and community work and the start of a new semester at TAFE have filled most of my time. Along with this has been a few changes in regard to honouring my wife and kids with a bit more time. The result has been a lag between writing, speaking and publishing. I am currently in catch-up mode but I hope to be all caught up soon.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.

Brian

We are looking at ‘what is the church’.  So far we have seen that it is not a building but a gathering, an ekklesia, of people who are ‘citizens of the Kingdom of God’.   As citizens we each have privileges and responsibilities.  Those privileges and responsibilities are not only individual but also work within the group of believers that each one of us is called to belong to.

While the New Testament is fairly quiet about what we are supposed to do when we gather it has a wealth of imagery about who and what we are.  Presumably in the economy of God what we are is more important than what we do and what we are in some way determines what we do in our own situation and circumstance.  So it is important that we know who and what we are as the gathered followers of Jesus. (more…)