Missional Ecumenism: For the Sake His Name The Value and Challenges of Faithfulness to John 17:21-23

Valuing Missional Ecumenism

Missional Ecumenism: Our Commitment to Brotherhood in Peace.

Ecumenism is usually low on the spiritual hierarchy of values for most. Passive indifference to passionate disdain—the equivalent of dancing with the devil—parenthetically enclose a wide spectrum of perspectives.   If not the alleged compromising work of the devil, ecumenism is often viewed as something reserved for the academy. There, grizzled and gray theologians parse and probe the subtlest of theological nuances trying to come up with “unifying statements of faith.” Its value-relevance to ground-level realities of parish or local church life is simply not recognized. What follows is a true story of the human pain that can occur when ecumenism is not valued.

 

Continue reading

Reconciliation: The Cruciform Cost of Relational Peace-Making An Object Lesson from the Jacob and Esau Story

Josefina Alys Hermes de Vasconcellos - "Reconciliation"

Reconciliation by Josefina Alys Hermes de Vasconcellos

Grace is costly. It may accrue to us freely, but it cost Jesus dearly. Love is costly, as is peace-making reconciliation. It is not enough to  understand these things as abstractions. We must grow in grace-ness (graciousness) toward others—even those with whom we may disagree or those who may have hurt us. Jesus was wounded in the house of his friends and betrayed by one of his most intimate friends.[1]  The disciple is not above the Master. We have been given a ministry of reconciliation to, and for, the world and it is a tall order. Would it not make sense that it actually work among those who call upon Jesus as Lord, before we try to export our convictions to others?

Continue reading

Revelation Through Eastern Eyes – Live Stream Seminar – Sept. 22-23, 2018 Understanding the Social, Cultural, and Cosmological Background of The Book of Revelation

Deconstructing Western Metaphors in the Revelation

Revelation Through Eastern Eyes – Deconstructing Western Metaphors and Presuppositions

Really? Another seminar on Revelation? God spare us. Normally, that’s how I would feel about this topic. The fixation on the Revelation in Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism is a manic money-making machine. However, this live-stream will be unlike anything I experienced growing up in Evangelicalism: we will not be trying to predict the future! Rather, we will endeavor to look at the Revelation through the lens of first century, Second Temple era metaphors and cosmology. What would a Mediterranean-basin, Jew/Gentile audience understand from the imagery in a letter full of Jewish apocalyptic themes?

Continue reading

Paul and Propitiation – Romans 3:25

Paul and Propitiation

Paul and Propitiation – An Essay on Romans 3:25

Propitiation—few Pauline words have generated more fountains of theological ink than this (hilasterion). Debates about what Paul intended go back as far as Origen. Post-Reformation, it has pretty much been five hundred years of ambiguity and theological hair-splitting. 

 

Continue reading

Wisdom in Saying Nothing: 'Saying More by Talking Less'

The relational wisdom of silence

The Wisdom in Saying Nothing: Saying More by Saying Less.

I have learned that when on spiritual and theological “adventures and excursions” it is often relationally best to say little, or nothing. The deeper the plow of the cross goes into our lives, the less one usually has to say about it. Eternal jaw-jacking and yammering about this and that spiritual thing is neither spiritually wise nor relationally mature. It is lacking in relational wisdom. It is a form of self-centeredness: what I think and what I have to say is so important that  . . .  blah, blah, blah. No one is listening.

Continue reading

The Illusion of Successful Professional Ministry: 'A Warning to Those with Ears to Hear'

Success or Fruitfulness?

The Illusion of “Successful” Professional Christian Ministry

Our dominant Christian culture rewards beauty, fame, and success rather than wisdom, fruitfulness, and faithfulness. The following is a true story from someone who learned the hard way and too late that “successful Christian ministry,” based on money, size, acclaim, and fame is a dead-end illusion. Jesus said we should beware when everyone speaks well of us because the false prophets were popular in Israel. I pray young women and men reading this will heed and spare themselves unnecessary sorrow and heartache.

Continue reading

Jesus Through Eastern Eyes: 'Seminar Session Summaries'

Jesus Through Eastern Eyes: Understanding the Semitic Background of the NT.

Jesus Through Eastern Eyes: Understanding the Semitic Culture Background of the NT.

If you are considering participating in our live-streaming seminar (click here for details) on June 9 and 10, 2018, you may be interested in the content of each of the six sessions. Here are brief session summaries of each:

Continue reading

Religious Buildings: Projections of Power: 'Guest Blog by Steve Hill, Harvest Now'

Western Values Regarding Church Buildings

Religious Buildings: Projections of Power

My friend, Steve Hill (Harvest Now in Ontario, Canada), does what I consider to be genuine and biblically sound “apostolic discipleship” around the world. He does it based on the values of Jesus in the Gospels (See his Luke 10 Manual), not Western values of success. He empowers local people in countries around the world to full kingdom functionality in their communities, without dependency on Western “experts” or money.

In this brief article he asks challenging questions regarding the emphasis (and cost) of maintaining millions, if not billions, of dollars in religious buildings, real estate, and property when the needs of others around the world are so demanding. It is my understanding that between 80-95% of all church budgets in the West are devoted to buildings and salaries. Is there not a better way to do “ministry,” a way with a global perspective and burden? I believe there is. I believe it is the Jesus-Way, and Steve and his coworkers  are doing it. This article is reprinted by permission.

Continue reading

The Hidden Idolatry in Charismatic Worship: 'Feeding the "Worship Experience" Beast'

Prophets of Baal

Prophets of Baal Worship Their God – J.J. Tissot

I have been a Charismatic believer for forty-two years. I was a weekly “worship leader” in Charismatic, “prophetic and apostolic” environments for thirty-five of those years. I get the picture as someone who has been on the inside for a very long time. I thoroughly understand the history, theology, values, beliefs, and practices behind Charismatic praise and worship expression. I also have had serious concerns and uneasiness about the theology and practice for a very long time. 

Continue reading