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Showing posts from 2010

Give it away Goff!

The latest TV 3 Reid Research political poll spells the end of Goff's leadership (http://www.3news.co.nz/Goff-falls-further-behind-Key---poll/tabid/419/articleID/190496/Default.aspx). He is being slaughtered by Key. The stats say it all:
National 55.5%; Labour 31.2%; Greens 7.3%. The rest are also-rans: NZ First 1.9%; Maori 1.7%; ACT 1.3%; United Future 0.1%.
The preferred PM rankings are no better: Key 54.1%; Goff  6.8%; Helen Clark 5.3%.
A few things jump out of this: 1) National can govern alone so don't need ACT. They will have to make a call on Epsom, will they effectively stand aside for ACT or consign them to political history? I suspect the former because long term the centre right will need the extreme right, but is Rodney worth it? In recent years his hypocrisy has been exposed. 2) NZ First for all the noise about Winston's return are not making much of a dent. He is fish and chip wrapping now; 3) United Future is virtually dead in the water, can't see any way…

Brian Tamaki and Others and The Abuse of the Notion of Being In Christ

Paul uses the language of 'in Christ' some 83 times and 'in the Lord' 47x (Dunn, Theology, 296-97). It is part of his participationist Christology. If we accept what appears on the Cult Watch website about all believers being Christs, there is a lack of understanding of the idea of what Paul means by 'in Christ.' BT is not alone in this, in my view, many theologians are little better flirting with the way in which Paul uses the idea. BT appears to think that as we are 'in Christ' we are 'Christs' ourselves. The implication of this could be that we are of the same status and empowered to the same level as Christ himself. He reminds me a little of contemporary theologians who argue that all humans are 'in Christ' by virtue of Christ being the 'elect one' and all humans are now participants of him, they just have to realise it. Another element of 'in Christ' thinking that is held by many today is believing that, as we are &…

The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus and Brian Tamaki

I got an email yesterday which connected me to an article on the Cult Watch website which discusses the latest claims of Brian Tamaki (see http://www.cultwatch.com/BrianTamaki.html). The site has audio of Brian Tamaki saying that the Jesus who died (Jesus of Nazareth) is not the same Jesus who came out of the tomb; rather 'the flesh Jesus died in the tomb.' Jesus then put off his 'flesh body' could become a 'life giving spirit.' He also claims believers are all God, 'they are the actual same divinity and substance of spirit as God.' He says that the church is made up of 'many Christs.' Assuming that this is the position of Bishop Tamaki, here I will deal with the first of these issues. Did Jesus of Nazareth enter the tomb and not come out? Is he merely a 'life giving Spirit?' If we take the Scriptures seriously the evidence points strongly away from this:
1. Mark 16
The ending of Mark is difficult with it likely that v.8 is the end of th…

Alien Life? Yeah Right.

So all over the news yesterday was the great headline that a great discovery had been made greatly increasing the possibility that there is alien life out there (e.g. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10691723). It turns out that all had been found was some bacteria that can grow not only off scoffing phosphorous but arsenic. As far as we know, 6 elements are required for life, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus. It is a very interesting discovery for sure, but it proves little to me. It at best opens up the possibility that there are life forms that do not need all 6 to be around to survive, as they can convert one or other. This being still needed all 6 elements, and converted one element close to phosphorous on the periodic table into the missing building block. Such life will still need to be generated in the first place and live in conditions conducive to life. In terms of alien life, we would still have to find a wa…

John Stott, The Radical Disciple

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I have just sat and read John Stott's latest and last book, The Radical Disciple. What a refreshing, challenging and moving read. Stott introduces the idea of discipleship with a preface in which he states his preference for the word 'disciple' over 'Christian.' I think for Stott, it captures what it means to be a Christian, a student of Christ. Throughout the book, for me, the dominant idea is Christ and complete Christian submission to him.

He focuses on 8 areas of discipleship, singling them out because of their importance. These are: 1) Non-conformity; 2) Christlikeness; 3) Maturity; 4) Creation-care; 5) Simplicity; 6) Balance; 7) Dependence; 8) Death. He ends with a personal and very moving note to his readers that this is his last book and says goodbye.

What strikes me in this book is its simplicity. He clearly has a world of Christians in mind who live shallow lives without depth and who have not grasped the nature of what it means to be a Christian, to be …

Death penalty

Recently I worked through Romans 13 in preparation for teaching. Romans 12 calls for Christians to live by the pattern of the cross, conformed no longer to this age, but transformed with renewed minds. They are to live out of humility, a realistic self-perception based on their gifts. They are to allow others to do the same. They are to be marked by love rejecting evil, living lives full of goodness and purity. They are to love each other as family, Paul using two philos terms in 12:10 philadelphia ('brotherly love') and philastorgos ('family love') to define the Christian community as family. They are show respect to each other, be fervent in life and spirit, prayerful, servant hearted, characterised by joy, empathy, patience generosity and caring for foreigners. They are to live in unity no matter what their social status, characterised by a mindset of humility. This is utterly unRoman and revolutionary! When it comes to being on the receiving end of persecution they…

Smoke Free by 2025?

So a Maori Affairs Sub-Committee has recommended NZ become smoke-free by 2025. Ash (Action of Smoking and Health) agrees of course with this. Key says it is a big ask, it is!

This has got me thinking.

In the first place, I hate smoking. I grew up in a smokers' house. My mum and dad smoked up to 4 packets a day for over 20 years. I remember vividly when we left one home to move, we took the pictures off the once cream walls, and the wall behind the pictures and mirrors remained cream, but the exposed areas yellowish and grimey! It was disgusting. My mum gave smoking away one day out of the blue. A few years later my dad spent two weeks in hospital with an unstoppable nose bleed and was told, stop or die. He stopped, shocked finally into not smoking. My oldest sister has been a chain smoker since her teens. She gave up recently which made me truly proud.

I tried my first and only ciggie at 13 and hated it. I remember equally vividly the day when a nurse came to school and showed us…

The Gospel as Yes - No!

I have been thinking about what it is that saves a person. That is, what do we have to do to be saved? The writers of the New Testament cite different accounts of response to this question. Jesus responds twice in Luke to similar questions in Lk 10:25; 18:18, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' He responds by inviting the enquirer to answer from the Jewish law. The lawyer responds with Lev 19:18, 'love your neighbour as yourself.' Jesus affirms he is correct, if he does this he will live. This leads to the account of the Good Samaritan as the enquirer questions 'who is my neighbour?' The answer seems to be unconditional and unlimited love.

In Luke 18:18 a rich Jewish leader asks Jesus the same question. Jesus answers by asking him if he knows the law to which the man responds he has kept these laws through his life. Jesus then exposes his failing, money! In other words, he has failed to really live the law. Jesus then goes on to say that such people can …

Commonwealth Game, yes or no?

As I write, we are waiting for the result of a meeting concerning the Commonwealth Games in India. What to make of it?

The first question is whether the games should ever have been given to India in the first place. I find myself struggling to understand the decision. On the one hand it seems a wonderful gesture which could have the spin-off off encouraging the nation. The nation could receive great international kudos for it. The building of facilities will give jobs. Great wealth might flow in from the many tourists and athletes who come in to the nation. Like the football World Cup in South Africa, it may have a great positive effect on the nation.

Yet, is India really able to manage such an event? Does it have the infrastructure to manage preparations? Can the safety of athletes and visitors be ensured in a nation which is so crowded and unstable. And who will make the money as the nation builds the great stadia and other facilities. Will it go to the poor, or just further line …

Qu'ran Burning and All That

What to make of the proposed Qu'ran burning?

First, we the issue is complex. The whole western world is now embroiled in a clash of world views. The clash of world views is complex in that it involves many variables. It is not merely a Christian - Islam clash. It is a clash within Islam between moderates and extremists. It includes secular humanist socially liberal westerners who advocate tolerance and freedom of religion vs other westerners including some Christians who advocate action to suppress what are seen as threatening forms of religion. It includes different understandings of the use of force and involvement in the state with some wanting preventative action against the perceived threat of Islam. It involves questions of identity and value in the west including the freedom of religion, cultural identity, the status of women and so on. It relates to whether a person who comes to live in the west should assimilate and adapt to the western way or is free to retain their rel…

The Relationship of the Elements of Mission

Assuming the elements of mission in the previous blog, here are some thoughts on the relationship of evangelism to the other elements of mission. All elements need to be involved together at all times to see effective mission. When one or other element is lacking, the progress of the mission is to some degree thwarted.All mission begins with points one and two above which lay the foundation from which the mission flows: the Spirit’s empowerment and leading to unconditional love, sacrifice (and so suffering) and service. This is the origin and heart that should drive all mission at all times.Mission in any context begins with engagement with people and lavish response to material need accompanied by the communication of the good news. These must continue in all contexts at all times. Any diminishing of either will see the effectiveness of mission diminished. Evangelism then is central to mission but must be set in the context of a whole strategy that embraces the fullness of the mission…

Evangelism (Evangelogy): The Elements of Mission

The Elements of Mission Mission is bigger than evangelism. The full mission of God in our view involves the restoration of all that has gone wrong through the Fall. It presupposes a rich vision of God creating this world out of love that would be free from evil in which all would be whole. Society would be based on goodness, love, peace and joy. The creation itself would be stable and cared for by those who people the world. God and people would live together in glorious harmony and peace would prevail at every level of the world. The mission then is the putting right of what has gone wrong. Central to this is the good news of God's intervention in Jesus to restore people's relationship with God, with each other and with the world.
That being the case, within this broad vision of mission: Believers are called by God to work with others to make Jesus Christ known through: -the empowerment of the Spirit and obedience to His leading[1] -unlimited unconditional love and sacrificial s…