Tuesday, August 24, 2021

How to check out a church

If you want to check out a church, seek responses to these quotes:

a.     The Humanist Richard Kilty asks if evolution and religion are reconcilable, complementary or both. He answers by expressing that, “We are not dealing on this amorphous level, instead we want to know about the antithesis of man in evolution and man in Christianity. And we do have an anti-thesis: Acceptance of evolution precludes the fundamentals of Christianity, to wit, Garden, Adam and Eve, Fall, Redeemer, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. Acceptance of evolution requires the concatenation: fish-amphibians-reptiles-mammals-apeman-man with all transformations occurring naturally. This dichotomy is irreconcilable.”

b.    Kilty goes on to conclude with acute insight that the two are not reconcilable, that a child taught evolutionary concepts (including long ages), will have his belief in God disturbed: “How subversive is evolutionary theory to Church dogma.”

c.     Another atheist looks at the long ages supposedly expressed in the fossil record, and concludes, quite logically, that as this indicates death on a high order, a loving God cannot exist: “We astute rationalists have no qualms regards the predation of primeval organisms as having commenced as dire necessity well over one billion years ago or more under the most inhospitable of prevailing conditions...The fossil record bares no record of lenity throughout the bulk of an estimated 70 kilometres[sic] deep accumulation of sediments in the whole of the visible fossils geological sequence...benevolence has no place in the realms of reality or survival of the fittest.”

Sunday, August 22, 2021

The new minister

When I say 'minister' I mean what some call 'pastor', 'rector', 'congregational convenor', 'teaching elder', etc.

How does one recruit a new minister?

I get the impression it is hit or miss, given the rapidity with which some congregations become disenchanted with their minister, and ministers become so with the congregation.


Avoid it by:

1. Develop a profile of your congregation and where it wants to be in, say 3 years. And detailed. Concrete, no biblical fluff words.

The profile has to describe the church: its interests, history, demography, how it works at the moment. What its practice is with respect to music, ministry (that is what groups of volunteers form), how it is governed (often this is read down from the denominational affiliation), its mission history (how activities and groups have formed, dissolved, been organised, trained, etc.), how its formal gatherings work, what social activities it has, etc.

2. Ask the prospective ministerial candidates for their 'profile' of themselves in equivalent terms to the church. Not more than 1000 words, and cover how they work with people in the congregation, what their ambitions are for the church in general.

3. Their resume needs to be detailed on the most recent three church/mission postings they've had.

4.  The top 3 candidates speak to the congregation: not a sermon, but speak to their view of their role, how they conduct it and how they see it growing. Then, how they want to grow through it.

5. They give a sample sermon, a couple of sample small group studies/meetings.

6. The final two attend social afternoons that includes some history from them, and a Q &A from the floor.

7. Then we vote. Referees and first interviews occurs after step 3. A second interview after step 5.

The successful candidate then has a contract for 1 year, no getting out for either party except for extenuating reasons: criminal activity, mainly. Or on a negotiated basis, including payout of the full year's salary. There, that should keep the congregation honest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Special bits (of the Bible)

 Locations of some passages that have great historical or liturgical significance:

Ancient hymns
Phil 2:5-11,
1 Tim 3:16
2 Tim 2:11-13

Liturgical passages
Benedictus: Luke 1:68-79
Gloria in Excelsis: Luke 2:14
Nunc Dimittis: Luke: 2:29-32
The Grace: 2 Cor 13:14

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Helicopter theology

In a recent video by Dr. Dr. WLC (he must have been inspired by the Thompson Twins), he spoke to the question of Christian particularism by means of a word play. I don't disagree with his view, but he failed to throw full light on the issue.

An illustration might help.

You've possibly head the illustration of salvation: man in ocean, about to drown, you throw him a life preserver. He calls back, 'no thanks, I can do this myself'. He drowns.

The universalist (everyone is saved view) has it like this:

Sees man in ocean drowning, calls helicopter. Rescuer in a wet suit with scuba gear lowered beside him. Man pushes him away, fights, kicks, scratches, tries to pull the scuba air tubes off. Rescuer retreats. Lowers a cage that will close around man. Encloses man and winches him to safety. Opens cage, expecting a thank you. Man fights again, punches rescuer, attempts to knock him out. Co-pilot joins in. They handcuff man. He starts using his body as a bulldozer. Wants to jump out the door. They close the door, more violence, shouting abuse at them. They throw the man into a cage on the helo.

Back at base they let him out. He tries to wreck the helo. batters the crew. They have to put him in a cage. There's a huge room, full of the rescued in cages shouting abuse, gnashing their teeth in anger, railing against rescue, calling out they loved the ocean, why were they saved. Not happy.

That's the outcome of being forced to a party you don't want to attend, where you don't know the music and won't eat the food and run around spiking the drinks, spitting on the food and soiling your pants in spite.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

We're here for you...

What are most churches in your area doing during the Covid circus?

To my knowledge, most are praying for 'protection' and 'healing' and that others will be spared.

I was pleased to see one of the pastors at my church urge prayer for the ability to be able to meet together in person and join in fellowship: because that's how we encourage one another, grow in knowledge and understanding and make disciples.

As I have taken to saying,  Paul seemed to spend more time praying for boldness and courage than for safety and protection.

How about praying for opportunities to bring the gospel to people who've previously not heard it, for re-igniting faith in those who have become apathetic, for vigorously attacking governments who in a fear crazed myopia think that the only way to save a village is to destroy it? And this for a disease that largely leaves the under 60s unaffected, while the over 60s can self protect if they choose, with a little government support, if they want to take it. Indeed, we could seek for opportunities to further our own study of the Bible and learning about our convictions, to deepen our prayer life.

We could look to advocate for those who are facing significant personal and mental challenges. But no, not us!

While thinking of all this, I came across the card below, brightly coloured -- black and white version shown -- in my letter box:

"We're here for you..." How wonderful. A warm, outward looking headline. And the opening words recognise my probable concerns.

But, here's the rub. It's not a church, its a real estate salesman. What would stop a church from thinking about its own  navel and think about opportunities instead.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Go woke and go broke - spiritually

Melissa Dougherty gives the run-down on five new age teachings in the church.

They are not really 'new age'. The New Age is over, we are now in a culture that is entirely pagan. The 'New Age' has gone mainstream.

But that said, here they are:

  1. The Law of Attraction
  2. Oneness
  3. Religious Pluralism
  4. Universalism
  5. Mysticism

The 'law' of attraction: what you put your positive energy into wanting, the universe will send it to you: sort of like a pantheistic sugar daddy that includes you, because you are part of the divine, right?

Wrong! We are re-born, regenerated, to follow Christ, not the desires of the world, and its fake gods.

Although it does have an element of truth. If you keep an objective in mind you will work towards it, sort of a self-coaching. Just try it. Here're some sample objectives: read the Bible through in a year. Spend at least 30 minutes each day in thoughtful Bible study and  prayer. Visit one 'shut-in' or single dweller a month. Get goin'.

Oneness: everything in the universe is 'one'. Wrong Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Or, we all have to agree all the time. Don't disagree, don't challenge, question or 'judge'. Just misread the Bible how I do, and agree with me . No, just remember the Bereans. Acts 17:11.

Religious pluralism: we each have our own truth, and there are many ways to salvation. Au contraire John 14:6. Jesus makes exclusive claims. He alone is the Messiah. He alone is the creator who is outside the cosmos entered into his creation.

Universalism: all are saved irrespective of being in Christ or not. Disregards the sheep and goat distinctions in reality and who God is. Everone is a 'child' of God. But no, we start as a child of wrath, and are only adopted upon repentance.

Mysticism: getting hidden knowledge by 'contemplating' God as your special pet. Linked to 'oneness' above. Richard Rohr is the chief current peddler of this twaddle.

Her conclusion is correct. These pagan ideas come into the church because teaching, reading and living out the word of God is not the priority.

Do churches encourage with not only words, but with behaviour and programs, the reading of the Bible?

Do ministry leaders echo this teaching in their own ministries and demonstrate in their own practice?

Melissa goes more on this in another video.

Friday, August 6, 2021

7 Lies to light up.

After the 5 basic questions to be able to answer, there are 7 lies contemporary society peddles that you will need to be alert to and be able to discuss with your children, or reflect upon yourself.

They are discussed by Bible Thinker.

  • If I feel it, it must be true
  • Follow your heart
  • Love is affirming everything I feel
  • Faith is the opposite of knowledge
  • Humans are the product of blind, unguided, evolution
  • You are the one you've been waiting for
  • A good God wouldn't judge.

 All of them are dealt with in the video, although the one on evolution (also in the top 5 questions) needs some further work.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

5 basic questions

What would be the 5 basic questions of Christian faith?

1. Does God exist?

2. Is God good?

3. Can one trust the Bible?

4. Did Jesus resurrect?

5. Doesn't science disprove the Bible?

Others have a different number '5': what is the gospel?

I think that property flows from number 4 in a fulsome response and avoids the critical question of this post-secular age: that 'science' disproves the Bible, A question that is often put, despite a trend where people seem to be losing confidence in science as the Christian consensus evaporates, to be replaced by a pagan monism. Monism has no place for science because it cannot conceptualise a rational cosmos.

Nevertheless, people grab for 'science' as the fire hose to put out Christianity. When they say 'science' they really mean the neo-Darwin evolutionary synthesis. It has to be dealt with, as it forms a significant part of most children's schooling and underpins the vacuous manipulation of 'critical' 'theory' (which is neither critical nor a theory -- its a political ploy).

They are the first five questions that your church's debating society should tackle.

You don't have a debating society in your church? Sheesh. How do you practice giving an account of the hope that you have?