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Showing posts from May, 2012

The First Unlikely Evangelists!

I realised something the other day that I think is rather cool that got me thinking about the first evangelists. The first evangelists were Moses and the prophets, who prophesied the coming of Messiah, the Spirit giving them prophetic insight into a coming Messiah, Son of Man, Servant and Son of God. Then, immediately before Jesus Messiah appeared on the scene, there is John, the locust and honey eating, camel wearing, wilderness wandering preacher and baptiser, sent by God to prepare the way for the Messiah, fulfilling Isaiah 40 and Malachi 3, 4. Then there is the Great Evangelist, Jesus himself, who came preaching the “gospel of the Kingdom” calling people to repent and believe the good news. Then there were those he selected, a motley crew of fishermen, tax-collectors, zealots and more, and the 72, sent to preach the King and Kingdom. 

We see the first followers at work in John’s Gospel. First, in John 1 John the Baptist who effectively instructed Andrew and another disciple to leav…

A Reflection on the Perspective of Stephen Sizer

It has been a great week having Stephen Sizer among us at Laidlaw College. We also had the privilege of having him to speak at Glenfield Presbyterian Church on Sunday and Monday night. He is a lovely man with a warm heart. Those who vilify him obviously have not met him. He is wrongly accused of being heretic, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and more. Such accusations are an utter disgrace and a direct violation of the Christian imperative to love one another! Whether we agree or disagree with him, we can walk in fellowship with him. I warmly endorse him and consider it a privilege to have met a brother in Christ who understands the central call of the gospel to justice and mercy. His preaching on the Good Samaritan (I still like the name, my bad?) gloriously reminds us of our need to above all else, show compassion. I loved the debate last night; all credit to Richard Neville and Stephen for doing so well and modelling Christian dialogue, it was a brilliant night!

The issue of the place of …

Unmasking the Quest for the Secular Utopia

Is it just me, or have others noticed that we are now in a driven world dominated by a new legalism based around the moral code which undergirds the utopian vision of secularism? The secular utopia appears to me to be of prolonged life (through medical means and seeking the perfect life [diet, exercise etc] that costs us more and more everyday), in a world without religionor at least religion in privacy (we are tolerated as long as we stay in our approved spot) and especially fundamentalism (not just Islamic, but anything that is too passionately espoused and propagated, including evangelicals) in which all peoples live together in perfect harmony and tolerance (except where public religion is concerned and that is a no no), without racial slur (even a little joke here or there which is really harmless, and especially never at the expense of women, blacks or gays, but its ok to slag evangelicals—not a Muslim though, you might get a fatwa, not that this stops some), with perfect justic…

Love, truth, and heresy.

The visit of Stephen Sizer has got me thinking about heresy. Evangelicals in particular are very concerned about correct dogma. It seems that there are evangelicals in nooks and crevices all over the world usually tagged with some name like “Reformed”, “Calvinist”, “Dispensationalist”, “Arminian,” etc, poised ready to pounce on someone who strays what they perceive to be correct doctrine. Now that we have the net and blogs, we can jump quick and all have a say!

So, for example, when someone speaks out against Dispensationalism and Zionism and offers an alternative, they are attacked through emails and internet, often anonymously. Or, when someone suggests theistic evolution, they are slated as a liberal, and of no value to the church anymore. The other sides of these throw the term around too, Zionists are heretics, as are six-day creationists—at least to some. I received an email recently about a whole movement in evangelicalism that another group of well-intentioned pastors have now…

The Gospel Call to Integrity and Honesty

The John Banks—Kim Dotcom affair has got me thinking. The question is, has John Banks been truthful over receipt of donations in the 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign? Actually, it is not just this issue, but a whole range of situations which have featured in the news later whether it is John Key, Sky City and the Pokies; Peter Slipper in Australia; the funding of the US election; and so on. The question all these situations raise is, what is the place of honesty and integrity in public life? Now, I am not going to judge John Banks or the others, there’s enough of that going on. The question that does interest me is the issue of integrity and honesty from a Christian point of view.

As I read the Scriptures, it is immediately apparent that the ideal of honesty and integrity should characterise Christian believers 24/7. Lying is not endorsed in the NT. Paul in Eph 4:25 writes, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members on…

Sir Fred Allen and Leadership

Last week we saw the death of a NZ icon, Sir Fred Allen. Being a lover of rugby, Fred Allen is a hero of mine. Fred Allen was a lieutenant in the 27th and 30th Battalions. He played rugby for the post-war “Kiwis” army team which toured Britain after WW II. He was an All Black 1946-1949 playing 21 games and 6 tests, leading the All Blacks in the infamous 4-0 loss to the Springboks in 1949. He retired after the tour, throwing his boots into the sea in disgust. He became involved in coaching and coached Auckland in the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s through the golden Ranfurly Shield era when they defended the Shield 24 times. He coached the All Blacks from 1966-68 in a period in which they were unbeaten in 14 tests—he remains the only unbeaten All Black coach. “His” team went on to remain unbeaten in 1969. In 1970 he was asked to come back and take the team to South Africa, but declined and they lost 3-1. Many of the players of that 1970 team believe that if Sir Fred had led the tour, …