Archive for November, 2005

Congratulations Jayson

Congratulations Jayson

I started working with Jayson last year in the house church.  I’ve never blogged about it but it didn’t work out.  He has been hired by a local church that needs a change in direction it seems.  Jayson has passion, a good heart, and good ministry skills.  I pray that the Lord will richly bless Jayson and Estelle as they start a new chapter of their life. 

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Could you pray for me

Could you pray for me

It is best I don’t go in to any details but I’m going through a very difficult time.  I feel terrible, I’m having trouble eating and sleeping and I’m living with a lot of anxiety.  Could you pray that God would give me peace and faith to make it through?


Len has good words on the gospel

Len has good words on the gospel

It is so good I’ll quote the whole post.

There are (at least) three different versions of the gospel here in the wealthy west..

1. a personal, experiential, non transforming “me” gospel
2. a rational, dead, powerless, dissected intellectual gospel
3. a wholistic, transforming gospel that embraces the revelation of God the triune Creator, Redeemer and Healer who stands above and outside the world but who spoke in Israel’s history and entered it in the person of Jesus.

The first version grows out of German romantic philosophy, and was one of the false gospels against which Barth was preaching. In a sense this version was ultra-modern, and it became the foundation of liberalism. There is no transcendent God in this sysem. There are fragments of this non-gospel evident in most churches, embedded in popular culture and reflected in simplistic theology and individualistic and experiential orientations.

The second version grows out of the conservative reaction to philosophical and a priori readings of the gospel. It is best represented in fundamentalism, but also in much of evangelicalism. It manifests great confidence in human reason, a naive belief in the possibility of objectivity, and a tendency to deny the embeddedness of theological statements. In this kind of context preaching is the highest form of discourse, and answers are more important than questions. There is no mystery to God. Immanence and transcendence are flattened. This version is also thoroughly modern.

The best examples of the third version are manifest in alternative communities that are outside the main stream of the organized church. There are efforts at recovery in a great variety of places, however, both emergent and pre-emergent. Where the recovery will be successful, it will be founded in theological reflection that is rooted in a communal conversation that engages Scripture, tradition and culture.

I agree strongly with the direction he takes.  However I haven’t found a lot examples of what he calls the third version and am not so sure it is found in abundance in emergent circles.   I think the gospel message in emergent circles runs the risk taking the first and second versions as Len calls them and just contextualizing them for a new culture.  I don’t think this will get us anywhere.

The message of the cross is transcultural and if we try to package it too much or enhance it in away with our methods of influence we will empty it of its power. 

1Cor 1:17-18 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Central to the gospel is the message of the cross. The cross does not mean sacrificing ourselves by forsaking societies values for the values of a church subculture. Far too often people equate their way with the “narrow path” when really they are just as much on the broad and easy road. Inherent in the message of the cross is sacrifice. Not just sacrifice but selfless sacrifice. Lay down your life for others sacrifice. Not necessarily the sacrifice that comes from holding an unpopular political position. The selfless sacrifice means we repent from our desire to gain for ourselves rank, money, prestige, status etc… Our whole church culture is saturated with people in competition for these things. When we do ministry in an attempt to gain more than sacrifice God cannot trust us with His divine power. Thus we walk empowered and those we attempt to minister to remain untransformed.