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A New Role: Director of Evangelistic Leadership

In 1974, while living in the Cook Islands with my teaching parents and two sisters, I first met Jesus. A friend, Bobby (Rangi) Moekaa, invited me to a Christian group that was run in the school by Brian Chitty (who happened to work with my parents in education). Brian shared the gospel based on the amazing prophetic statue in Daniel 7. Being a logical young lad, I reasoned that if God could predict through the OT prophets the world's empires up to Jesus, I should believe in him. I did and gave my heart to Jesus. Things turned sour at home after this. My parents were not impressed, particularly my Dad. It didn’t help that I immediately tried to evangelise them. When your thirteen-year-old son shares the gospel with you, and you are fiercely antichristian as my Father was at that stage of life, it never goes well for the evangelizer. Long story short, my relationship with my Dad was wrecked, and, in tears, on my bed, I told God I could not follow him as I wanted in such a home and
Recent posts

Should Churches With "Saint" in their Name Change their Church Names?

For a long time, I have been pondering whether it is appropriate to have the name "Saint" applied to a church or Christian-based organization. My answer is, "no, it should not be."  The word "saint" has its origins in the idea of holiness. For Israel, God is the Holy One. In the Old Testament, it is also applied to God's people as "holy people" or "saints" (e.g., Ps 16:3; Isa 62:12; 63:18). It is applied to the collective and not individuals. By the time we come to the New Testament, the term is applied to Jesus as "the Holy One" a few times (Mark 1:24 and parallels; John 6:69: Acts 2:27; 13:25; 1 John 2:20; Rev 3:7) and God (Rev 16:5). Otherwise, where people are concerned, it is used for God's holy people as a collective about sixty times (e.g., Matt 27:52; Acts 9:13; Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 3:13; 1 Tim 5:10; Phlm 1:5; Heb 6:10; Jude 3; Rev 5:8). So, the term "saint&quo

Jesus is My Vaccine?

The concept “Jesus is my vaccine” gets a lot of bad press. It is a mantra for some with fundamentalists or prosperity Christians who preach the health and wealth gospel. I found this song ridiculing the idea against the backdrop of some song claiming Jesus will keep believers free from harm ( ). And to be fair, I don’t blame the creator of the video; the way “Jesus is my vaccine” is employed is appalling. Some prominent Christians preach such a message, repudiating Covid as a minor threat, and if it is, they assume that because they are Christians, Jesus will protect them from the vaccine. Of course, these so-called Christians are utterly flawed in their theology. They have not realized that the gospel propounded by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the other early Christians, is not a health and wealth gospel. They never said, “if you become a Christian, you will be protected by right by Jesus from the sufferings of life.” Instead, they preached,

Christian “Freedom” in a Pandemic

I am intrigued at how the word “freedom” is being used by those opposing NZ government regulations concerning Covid-19. The word is being thrown around all over the place with people considering it is a violation of their freedom to have the government bring in Covid vaccination certificates for certain vocations, for travel, and for entry into a range of venues. I thought it would be good to consider this from a biblical point of view to show that the word is being utterly misused and abused when we consider what Christian freedom really is. I will show that the freedom we have has nothing to do with governments, our own wants, and desires, but is all about serving one another in love. The New Testament is clear in its theology—those who sincerely believe in Jesus are free in Christ. So, Paul says in Galatians 5:1, “for freedom, Christ has set us free.” John writes, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), “If the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you are free indeed” (John 8:36). What

Is It Time for Kiwi Churches to Disobey the Government? Short Answer for Me: No.

I was asked the other day by a pastor whether it is time for the church to say no to the government requirements concerning vaccine certificates. The pastor spoke of not wanting to be a bouncer and having to find ways to block the unvaccinated from services. I sent off an email later that day, but the question is nagging away at me. I thought I would throw some thoughts down. The injunction to obey the governing authorities is clear in the NT. First, Jesus endorses the payment of taxes to Caesar (Mark 12:17 & parallels). Second, Paul twice urges readers to submit to the government authorities including paying taxes (Rom 13:1–7; Tit 3:1). Third, Peter urges his readers to subject themselves to human authorities including the king. On the whole, this picks up the OT threads of the same including the likes of Joseph, Daniel, and Esther, being obedient (in the main) to the governments of the day. The general view is that governments are used by God as a means to govern his world to d

Let There Be No Division Among You

The world is being divided into two social groups, the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. The rift is growing, with vehemence on both sides. This division is seen in social media where people express their thoughts, friendships are wrecked, families are divided, and society is split. It threatens to leave members of our society marginalised.   In history, things have divided people with tragic consequences—whether it be race, religion, politics, gender, etc. Now we have a new thing dividing us—whether a person has taken the Covid-19 vaccine or not. How should the church respond? Do we allow this division to take hold? Or is there a better way? In the history of the church, many things have divided Christians. In the early church, divisions took hold over whether a new non-Jewish Christian needed to be circumcised and submit to the law of Moses (become a Jew to be a Christian). Christians were divided over the divinity and/or humanity of Christ, and the Trinity. The Orthodox Church

Neither Vaccinated nor Unvaccinated?

One of the great passages of Scripture is Galatians 3:28. In this verse, Paul tells the Galatian readers (part of modern Turkey), that “in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male and female.” “In Christ Jesus” is one of Paul’s favorite ways of saying a person is a Christian. A person who believes in Jesus as savior and Lord and who confesses this faith is “in Christ.” They are included in God’s people, sons and daughters of God, part of God’s church, called to serve God in the world and promised eternal life together with all other believers. This statement declares the breaking down of three social boundaries that dominated the Roman world. The first speaks of the breaking down of racial and ethnic boundaries for those who are Christians. Paul speaks of two categories. Jews were those physically descended from Abraham or who had converted to Judaism by becoming a proselyte. Such people, if men, were circumcised. They beca