Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Incidentally - just in case anyone's wondering - I have no personal or financial interest in either Logos software or the ESV.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
- Korie L. Edwards, The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008);
- Kathleen Garces-Foley, Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) and
- Soong-Chan Rah, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (Downer's Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2009).
Saturday, 26 September 2009
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- In most parts of the world, mere survival requires hard work. So ‘normal’ work for immigrants is, by Australian standards, over-the-top workaholism.
- The purpose of immigrating is to seek a better life, so immigrants work hard to achieve this.
- Australian government policy has for some time favoured skilled migrants, who are more likely to have a strong work ethic.
Friday, 25 September 2009
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
- Humans are all equal, in God’s image.
- As such, we are responsible to God, “we owe him” (p 46, italics in original).
- As God’s image-bearers we have the privilege and responsibility of governing the world.
- We are bodies, we must use our physical bodies to serve God, each other and the world.
- Sin is first of all God-focused – it is rejecting God as God, it is idolatry and pride.
- Secondly, sin is social – we break God’s law, and hurt each other.
- Yet God, in his ‘common grace’, restrains evil, so there is yet much good in the world.
- God graciously chooses a people for himself.
- The fact that the law affected every part of life demonstrates that God demands Lordship over every part of his people’s life.
- The Law simultaneously shows us to be guilty and stained by sin, and provides for forgiveness and cleansing.
- Israel’s social institutions were distinct (prophet, priest, king) but were all uniformly co-ordinated towards being loyal to God. This implies that there need not be conflict between ‘church’ and ‘state’, but God can use both to advance his kingdom.
- Israel did not exist merely for itself, but was God’s means for saving the whole world.
- Jesus is the mediator between God and humanity. He is the king of God’s kingdom, who has established that kingdom once for all, even though it remains contested in this age.
- The incarnation demonstrates God’s humble self-identification with us.
- The way Jesus established his kingdom was his cross and resurrection.
- We now proclaim the cruciform gospel, which is God’s wisdom and power, which puts all the world’s wisdom to shame.
- The risen Christ now pours out his Spirit upon his people, which gives his people a limited but genuine experience of God’s presence and power.
- The new covenant people of God are not one nation but a trans-national community identified by their allegiance to Christ.
- Current relationships between Christ and culture are not eternal.
- Nothing in this world will be perfect. Perfection will come when Christ returns.
In my next post, I'll try and use these to analyse a Christian approach to parenting. Stay tuned!
Saturday, 19 September 2009
- James Taylor, Introducing Apologetics, Baker 2006. Good, clear intro to apologetics - which is exactly what it's title says. Takes a moderate presuppositional view.
- Mark Husbands & Dan Treier (eds), The Community of the Word, IVP 2005. Chapters by such luminaries as John Webster, Allan Verhey and Jonathan R. Wilson. Every single chapter stimulating, even if I didn't agree with it!
Monday, 14 September 2009
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Friday, 11 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Sunday, 6 September 2009
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[T]here are elements in any culture to which the gospel may legitimately appeal, even if […] the adoption of the gospel will inevitably transform that culture in important ways. [Don Carson, Christ and Culture Revisted (Eerdmans 2008): 61]
We may add to this Jesus’ example of using culture to subvert culture. In the first century, eating with people meant accepting them. So when Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, he communicated that he had accepted them. This counter-cultural acceptance was often resented. So we need to use culture to subvert culture. We need to exploit culture ways of behaving and relating to clearly communicate Christian counter-culture.
Okay, that all sounds very grand, but how does it actually work...? What does enculturated counter-culture look like? I'll post some thoughts in a coupla days, based on Carson's work. Stay tuned!
Friday, 4 September 2009
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Pragmatically, the homogenous unit principle would encourage ethnically-specific churches. In 1970, Donald McGavran stated that people “like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic, or class barriers”, [Donald A. McGavran, Understanding Church Growth, (Fully Revised) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980 ): 223] and cited research that 60-90% of converts were brought to church by a friend or relative [McGavran: 225].
Not much has changed: in 2008, Edwards noted that the “homophily principle”, which “says that people like to hang out with others who are like them”, has often been used to explain the success of homogenous churches, because “people are recruited into voluntary organizations through social networks made up of people who are similar to them.” [Korie L. Edwards, The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008): 118].
But this homophilia could lead to an inward turn, a complacency, because we are amongst people who are 'just like us'. This is not unique to ethnic churches - homophilia is broader than ethnicity. People could be happy merely becuase they're with people of their own profession, or social status, or whatever. We must be wary of the 'comfort zone', which could turn our church into a mere social club.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
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Planting ethnic churches presupposes that people of different ethnic backgrounds may legitimately worship separately. Theologically, the Knox-Robinson model of church asserts the integrity of the local assembly as a spontaneous, Spirit-guided expression of the heavenly assembly. But integrity does not entail independent self-sufficiency. Catholicity is an aspect of the heavenly assembly around the glorified Christ, not its earthly expressions. On the contrary:
This is because the Christian life is about fellowship.
Both Christians and congregations need fellowship to grow in Christ-likeness [for] they are part of the larger heavenly church of Christ, and [they need] to experience that wider fellowship. This is the contribution that denominations make to the spiritual growth and joy of the Christian and the congregation. [Collected Works of D. Broughton Knox, Vol. II: Church & Ministry: 95-96]
A fellowship […] must be absolutely other-person-centred, knowing no limits to its fellowship. Such is the fellowship of heaven, and the limits we know in our earthly fellowship are simply the limits of human life and not of attitude. (DBK Collected Works II: 97)I see no great difference between Knox and the classic 'low church' Reformed view of the integrity but non-independence of local churches, exemplified by Louis Berkhof:
Protestants insist that the invisible Church [which is the earthly Church as God sees her] is primarily the real Catholic Church, because she includes all believers on earth at any particular time… [Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, New Combined Edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1996 ): 575. For insertion re the invisible church, see Berkof: 564]
- Attend conventions eg Katoomba conventions;
- Deliberately pair up with a different church & collaborate in ministry;
- Get involved in para-church ministry eg ECOM City Bible Forum & AFES.