Saturday, May 29, 2021

Why is Jesus the only way?

Or, Yeshua/Joshua, as his real name is.

Greg Koukl seeks to answer this question, but fails at square 1. But, he's a Calvinist, so can't help himself, unhappily so.

Yeshua is the only 'way' because he is the creator!

The only alternative way would be within the creation, indeed, the creation itself. And the problem is the whole creation is alienated from the creator because man has turned against his creator from the get go.

As the creature in God's image, created to enjoy free fellowship with God, created to steward the great playground of the material creation, when man falls, it all comes down around his ears. So looking for the way in the creation is like doing a burnout in a cul-de-sac. You get nowhere, make lots of noise and smoke in empty show, and destroy stuff.

Yeshua offers new life if we turn and reject the life of rejection of creator (him) and alienation within the creation.

The signal of the alienation and futility of the world adrift is that we are not linked to God: this is in our souls. We know we are not what we should be. We are not with the one who made us because the link is broken. The ancient Jews were told this in the Torah, in distinction to the paganism (the 'worldism') surrounding them: the 'law' that tells us what God is like. But he provided forgiveness then under Torah, and now in Yeshua. Personally.

Go prosper.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Now, let's try communion

In the mid 1980s I was part of St James, King Street, Sydney. Philip Hughes was the rector. A wonderful pastor he made.

I church in which I received much and I hope gave as well.

One Sunday our communion service was joined by a tribe of visitors. It multiplied the number of communicants by about 3, with much consternation and activity at the table as more elements were prepared.

At morning tea, which the visitors also descended upon, like this was intermission at a show, and communion was the show.

I spoke to one of the tribe. They were all attendees at a course on spirituality. It was a 'New Age' course on how all spiritualities were but aspects of the one core spirituality that all people shared.

I can't recall my response but I'm sure it was lame, as I sought to contain my indignation that we were used, our Lord was used, to fulfill their pagan fantasy.

As I was watching Peter Jones lecture "Truth Matters" given at Helix Bible Church (65 subscribers on YouTube). This event came back to me.

Peter had not at this time really started his work on paganism, and the few writers I had read had little to say of any value.

How I would have loved to see this video then.

The conversation would be much more penetrating.

I might have started with: 'why do you think that there is such a thing as  spirituality and why are all 'spiritualities' aspects of the one basic spirituality?

It could have gone many places from here, but at least some of them may have planted a seed of doubt in the fellow's pagan world view that 'all is one' in delusional denial of reality and our inevitable experience of it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Let's go sailing

Many years ago, I attended a convention on evangelising men.

We had a session on 'ideas' for such. And you know how crazy 'ideas' can be.

The conversation roiled around ideas for switch and bait games.

At last one of the paid Christians told us he'd hit on the winner idea.

He had a friend with a large sailing sloop. He'd invite men along and at the conclusion of a trip around Sydney Harbour, we'd head to a beach near North Head have a BBQ and the paid Christian would give a 'gospel talk'.

Knowing how most gospel talks go, it would be as helpful as a slap in the mush with a wet fish.

It was so lame, I was tempted to suggest a brothel crawl. It would have a similar 'medium is the message' and possibly attract more men.

All wrong. Bait and switch is unethical in business, and unethical in evangelism.

Sure, have a couple of outings 'Hunting for Fun' type adventures (could be anything, sailing is as good as any) a year that you can invite your pals to, if you have any. And just have fun together. Not corny, no 'give the gospel' like its a multi-level marketing press-gang, just mix as men. Outsiders meet Christian men and all have a good time.

Maybe then invite the pals to the annual Blokes, Beef and Bloviate (food and talk) dinner with a great speaker. No gospel presentation, but a talk that connects life and our Lord.

Naturally, there'd be quite, in the background opportunities to publicise engagement sessions: four week 'courses' on 'connection' topics that open up faith-life-work issues.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Social justice

Lot's of people in the church are excited by 'social' justice.

Only they don't realise that social justice = individual suppression. Justice for none.

It leads to the assertion of hegemony by the winners. That's all.

Same for 'environmental' justice and its opposition to the flourishing of the family.

The locus of justice is the individual. 'Social' justice suppresses the individual for a figment of the group to enable the domination of society by the hemagogues.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The good was good, but the bad was...bad

Back to the government imposed over-reaction to a virus with a CFR of .011!

No congregational singing at church. Not even a group of formal singers, but only one person singing.

The precentor read a psalm.

I didn't see anything in the public health order to prevent the congregation reciting the psalm. But we didn't!

Prayer was good, mostly.

I quite liked that the new archbishop was referred to biblically as a 'new overseer'. Excellent that we avoided the very worldly ambiguity of 'leader'.

Unfortunately in the prayer the government authorities in India were referred to as 'leaders' of India, as though they were kings. No, they are 'the authorities'.

Then we had a 'God make everyone better' prayer, as though the Christian faith is a 'protect us from suffering' club.

The prayer should have been: that Indian Christians, missionaries, etc will have opportunities to witness to their faith in many ways, that they will preach the gospel at every opportunity with boldness, and that desperate people might be caused to turn to our Creator in repentance.

We could then go on to ask that we have opportunities to bring the gospel to our nearby Sikh worshipers and introduce them to Christ, and that this might echo through their friends and relatives in India.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Everyone on the front line

How many 'outreach' or 'open' activities does your church have?

I'm thinking of events or activities that seek to make contact with people outside the church  (the real 'church', i.e. not Christians).

A quick look around my location shows 'Mainly Music' for young children and their mothers (or fathers), English lessons, family education (generic life skills: raising children, managing marriage, handling separation, etc.), men's sheds, knitting circles, bush walking, fishing club, Whisky Tasting Sessions...and so the list goes on.

All good in their own way, but from people who I've met in these in many places, they are rarely part of a a church strategy for making contact with out-siders. There's no conscious 'relationship development' pipeline, and no mobilising of the many helpers to have Christian conversations.

Many helpers, I surmise, do these ministries because they are not confident in faith conversations.

Like many church-goers this would be because they've not be intentionally discipled.

All such helpers need to be trained: the Story of Reality the Bible gives us, how the Bible communicates this, the core beliefs Christians have taken from the Bible ('classical' Christianity), the most popular antagonistic views of the Bible and Christian faith and how to deal with them, and 'creative conversations'. Really confident conversations.

Units on Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses Unitarianism in its various stripes and Monism, in its many stripes are also relevent.

Then prep for some obvious questions: 'why do you: do this, go to church, believe the Bible, pray?' What do you believe, what is church about, etc.

All pretty easy and very threat-reducing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Plenty for women

At church there's a women's lunch and get together every month. Probably except January and December (although January would be good for mums to have some adult time, one may think).

Church generally is very womanly, feminine, it some of its language, sentiments and affective orientation.

So says Morrow in Why Men Hate Going to Church. The summary, care of Xenos. And a review.

I agree.

Here's my action plan (see, men have 'action plans'):

1. The C1228 Squad (the 'helps' of 1 Corinthians 12:28): a loose group that does the work around the place. Comes with a T-shirt of the same name. Breaks for coffee, cake and chat.

2. De-brief three times a year: an evening, dinner with speaker. Starts casually: 'get going' circles with some ice-breaker (e.g. cards with images of car parts and find the assembly you are part of. Then one sentence about what you have read, seen, heard or done recently, then another on what you would have liked to...). These are non-evangelistic, and have 'interest' content and any relevant spiritual connection. Bring your non-Christian friends, if you like, cause it's usually interesting.

3. Unit Training/Debrief/Re-group (all serious masculine names), hanging off the de-brief and done in trimesters: could be working through the 'story of reality' of the Bible in highlight books, or working up some practical skills, work, hobby, craft or spiritually related.

4. Monthly groups to work through life issues: disciplining or just reading a book of the Bible together. BB groups.

5. Manoeuvres/Re-group/Refresh (anything is better than 'retreat': 'cool your heels'?): men's away weekend: re-equipping, re-creating, re-laxing. (3Rs): biblical content, practical content, training content (for communicating convictions). Free time, nice dinner plus speaker who hangs around afterwards. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

How church can be decoupled

The sermon this evening was great. On 1 Peter and the increasing anti-christianism of our society with its pollution by paganism and Neo-marxism (in the guise of critical theory, so-called).

The call, therefore? To be bold. The implication? Be informed, learn conversational tactics, know their world-view better than they do. If this is too much. Just understand your own convictions and be able to chat about them in ordinary language from your own experience.

Then came the prayers: not for boldness in proclaiming the gospel, not for wisdom and knowledge (from our hard work) to properly so proclaim, but for money, medicine and oxygen for India. No mention of the Corona circus playing out there, but that was the reason. The prayer then asked for blessing on 'our brothers and sisters in the Sikh temple nearby!! and a vague prayer for the Indian diapora.

I get the picture.

The prayer got the wrong picture.
  • gospel opportunities that might come from this crisis?
  • Indians might be shaken from the Hindu/Muslim fatalism?
  • The diaspora might include Christians who can take Christ to their relatives in India?
  • Indian brothers and sisters (our fellow believers) might be encouraged and enabled to boldly, wisely, compassionately and compellingly proclaim the gospel or witness to the Spirit through their kindness, calmness and confidence in Christ?
India could do with help, but the biggest help it needs is the gospel to destroy the powers and principalities in Hinduism, its dreadful caste system, its 'what will be will be' monism and the demon courting of its cultus.

Boldness. We never pray for it.

Paul always prayed for it.

But the new carpet for the church building will have recycled plastic bottle backing. That got a cheer from the young people and some murmurs of gratitude from some enviro-deluded olders. Man. Like this is 'on-mission' but prayer for the gospel is a nullity.

The curiosity of the cathedral

I walked past the St Andrew's cathedral in Sydney today.

I've done this from time to time on Sundays, more so when I lived in Surry Hills and walked up to St James King Street, where I spent Sundays with other Christians.

Back in those days, the cathedral presented a mute fa├žade to the busiest street in NSW, if not Australia. Plenty of action inside, a huge plaza beside it, of which the cathedral owns a sizable slice, and proselytizers on George St and in the plaza...for Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Hari Krishna gong club.

I alluded to that in my previous post.

Similar today, except the outside trespassing stands, roving leaflet givers and conversations havers were Muslims and Buddhists (Falun Gong).

Here we have the cathedral as black hole and not light on hill. 

First, the staff could kick the anti-Christians off their land.

Next, they should have teams on the street all day every day from 8am to 8pm. Conversations, discussion stalls with coffee, tea and water and leaflets to hand out.

Not the lame trash normally conceived by Christians, but arresting, confronting, informative material and teams of people who can have  arresting, informative and detailed conversations with the paganism walking by.

Not kiddies with 'Two Ways to Live' but  people who have sufficient detail on Islam, JW, Mormonism, the the diverse mock-Eastern cults and paganism to have deep conversations.

The cathedral should be the Gospel heart beat of the city, not its faith cul de sac.