Grace Is Profoundly Existential, Beginning With the Church
“Grace is a profoundly existential matter” (157).
That’s the verdict in Carl Trueman’s new book Grace Alone, a tour de force through the biblical, historical, and existential conversations surrounding salvation as a gift of God. How is grace existential?
[Grace] does not simply explain how the Creator and his fallen creatures are brought back into communion with each other… Grace should hold us in its grip in such a way that our whole being is affected. That which brings us from being under God’s wrath to being his beloved children is surely something that we cannot contemplate in a dispassionate manner. (157)
This is why Trueman culminates his book with an extended conversation on the means of grace through the church, preaching, the…
McKnight Outlines Ancient & Pauline Views of Sexuality, Offers a Way Forward— An Excerpt from “A Fellowship of Differents”
By “it,” I mean helping regular churchgoers engage Jesus and his world, and equipping pastors to take popular theology to the people in their pews.
His latest book firmly targets ecclesiology and its impact on the Christian life. In A Fellowship of Differents, McKnight’s thesis is simple, yet eye-opening for anyone in vocational ministry:
Church life shapes the Christian life.
One of the more important chapters brings clarity to the biblical text and a cohesive response to a conversation romping through the American church: human sexuality.
What’s The Church’s Biggest Challenge? A Fellowship of “Differents”
“Be ye separate.” (2 Cor 6:17, KJV)
That text served as the foundation to the first sermon Scot McKnight preached as a teenager. It also serves as a sort of parable for the way 90% of American churches gather:
We are a church of separates.
Yet that’s not how God designed the church, says McKnight in his new book A Fellowship of Differents. In his fresh perspective on ecclesiology, he invites ministry practitioners to rediscover how God has designed the church and remember how important its local expression is for shaping the Christian life.
McKnight argues that God has designed the church it to be a fellowship of differents:
The church is God’s world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the table to share life with one another as a new kind of family.…
Extracurricular Activities 10.25.14—J.I. Packer’s Conversion, A Softer Calvinism, & The Parish’s Death
On Sunday, October 22, 1944—seventy years ago today—it is doubtful that anyone noticed a soft-spoken, lanky, and decidedly bookish first-year university student leaving his dormitory room at Corpus Christi College and heading across Oxford for an evening Christian Union service at a local Anglican church.
18-year-old Jim Packer had arrived at Oxford University less than three weeks prior, a single suitcase in hand, traveling east by train from Gloucester using a free ticket available to family members of Great Western Railway employees…
I’ve just finished another semester teaching christology. This is one of my favourite classes. (My other favourite is the Trinity.) Really it’s one of the joys of my life to be able to explore such things…
Wednesday Giveaway – Journeys of Faith
I’m quite excited to have the chance to give away a new release this week, Journeys of Faith.
Journeys of Faith tells the stories of Evangelicals who have converted to Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism, as well as members of those traditions who have joined Evangelicalism. After each story, a representative of the tradition that was left responds by defending their choice to stay faithful to that tradition.
Contributors include Wilbur Ellsworth (Eastern Orthodoxy), with a response by Craig Blaising; Francis J. Beckwith (Roman Catholicism), with Gregg Allison responding; Chris Castaldo (Evangelicalism) and Brad Gregory’s Catholic response; and Lyle Dorsett (Anglicanism), with a response by Robert Peterson.
The average American will change religious affiliations at least once…
Here we go again (Monday With Mounce 102)
A friend of mine just left the ministry. This is a young man who felt the call of the Lord, and committed his undergraduate education to Biblical Studies. His wife and he made an additional commitment to go to seminary, a decision that involved major sacrifice on their part. It was interesting, they said, to live with all the hookers in their town. But the rent was cheap.
And when his young wife's health continued to deteriorate, they move to another seminary to finish his education.
The point of all this is that we are looking at about six years of significant sacrifice. Six years. Perhaps more.
And then the time comes; they graduate, and move to their first pastorate. He lasted about four years, and when he and his wife couldn't take it any longer, he resigned and is going into some other area of work, and the church is robbed of a bright and passionate young man who deeply loves the Lord and wants to serve the people.
And what was the cause of this man's and woman's loss of a dream? Gossip.
What is a Christian?
Early in One.Life Scot McKnight shares some of his own journey.
Early in his life he learned that a Christian was someone who had experienced an event, specifically accepting Jesus as their savior and saying a certian sort of prayer.
Later he expanded this definintion, learning how important personal piety was. A Christian then was someone who was saved and who's life was marked by acts like prayer and reading the Bible.
Though affirming both those things as good, McKnight came to a point where now he suggests that this is not how Christ himself framed what it means to be a Christian. Instead a Christian is more accuratly and simply decribed as someone who follows Jesus.
Half the Church – Are we missing out on the gifts of women?
Each week women constitute a significant majority of most congregations. Yet the church seems unsure what to do with women.
For the most part churches shape their ministries around the assumption that being a woman is defined as moving from young and single, to wife, to mother, to the sweet grandma who hugs you every Sunday.
How many women are left out in this picture? What about the 52% of women in the U.S. who are single? What about the married woman who can’t have kids? What about the wife and mother…
Christianity Today features the Lausanne Congress
John Kennedy at Christianity Today has written a fascinating article about the organizing of Cape Town 2010
"Executive Chair Doug Birdsall, an Asian Access missionary based at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, doesn't have the name recognition of his Lausanne predecessors. But he has painstakingly guided the event planning to include a cross-section of pastors, scholars, academics, missionaries, educators, and business leaders.
Darrell Bock: Hopes for Cape Town 2010
It does not happen very often. This is the third time. The others were in 1974 (Lausanne) and 1989 (Manila). On October 15-26 over 4000 Christian leaders from around the world will gather to reflect on the call of God for the church.
There will be discussions about truth, reconciliation, the gospel, and the needs of the church worldwide. Each region of the world will get to speak. Beyond this over 600 sites in over 90 countries will be hooked up to watch and participate, so that the event truly will cover the globe.
I am looking forward to hearing what God is doing around the world. I hope to be inspired and renewed in my sense of call. I also hope to sense a greater connection with other believers around the world as we consider what God has called us all to do in and for the world.
My role is Communications Coordinator for the command center of over 600 global link sites. I am overseeing 15 people who will work three shifts around the clock to bring summaries of the events to the Globalink sites to make the conference even more global. Our job is to produce video summaries of sessions within 5 hours of their ending and post them on the Net so other locales can get a sense of what is going on. We will have video material, and reflection questions, as well as summaries of the content.
The schedule is a full one. Exposition of Ephesians will lead off each day. Key topics are a part of the second set of daily meetings of the full gathering. Topics are truth, reconciliation, world faiths, priorities, integrity, and partnership. In addition, specific topics will be the focus of certain afternoon sessions. In the evening sessions, reports on what is taking place in various continents and among various kinds of people groups will take place.
Internet Campuses and Virtual Community – Sound Ecclesiology?
There has been a bit of talk regarding internet campuses, virtual community and such from on different blogs. Here are some of the conversations going on regarding these subjects. What do you think about this? Do internet campuses promote sound ecclesiology?
Would love to hear what you think.
There is no Virtual Church by Bob Hyatt (part 1) http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/08/there_is_no_vir.html
There is no Virtual Church by Bob Hyatt (part 2) http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/08/there_is_no_vir_1.html
Responses to Concerns about Church Online by Tony Steward http://www.catalystspace.com/content/read/concerns_about_church_online/
Doubters could learn a thing or two from the Telephone http://churchcrunch.com/2009/01/10/doubters-could-learn-a-thing-or-two-from-the-telephone/
Internet Campuses: A Blessing or Bogus? http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/08/internet_campus.html
Three Campuses, Three Changed Lives http://blog.mcleanbible.org/mbcloudoun/2009/07/03/three-campuses-three-changed-lives/
Should We Do It All Online? http://genesys11.com/lessonsfrombabel/2009/02/12/should-we-do-it/
Zondervan has also just released two books that interact with this conversation. Here are excerpted chapters: SimChurch: Being the Church in…
FREE book giveaway: SimChurch
Attend a service online, get a free book
SimChurch: Being the Church in the Virtual World by Douglas Estes (PhD, University of Nottingham, UK) explores the idea: The meeting place for the church of tomorrow will be a computer screen. Douglas wrestles with ecclesiology/theology issues and practical issues involving internet church and offers a balanced critique.
To get a FREE advanced copy of SimChurch we’d like you to attend an internet service this weekend and tell us about your experience on Zondervan Academic’s Facebook page.
The issue of online services is embraced rabidly by some, and condemned as vehemently by others. After attending an online service what do you think?