Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Passing through the fire (2)

In relation to the previous post

why is it that after passing through the fires of judgment,
there needs to be a time of rest - before the new life

Note Jesus' body after the cross, resting in the grave

Note the 70 years after the burning of Israel - till the return

Note the subsiding of flood waters in Noah's time

Note the lag time between a 'seed dying' and the germination of a new plant

The next age is said to be the Age of Rest - the Sabbath age(s)
where there is no 'ordinary work'

or perhaps the theology is not quite right
as in the Sabbath is the time of restoration - a time of comfort
proceeded then by the time of New Life, New Age, New Activity
so Sabbath then becomes the underlying value of the New Creation?

We died with Him, so we also will rest with Him, then raised with Him, ascended with Him, seated with Him, judging with Him, and then - life eternal with Him, ruling with Him

More takers?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Church Membership

An extra from catechism class

what does church membership involve?
http://www.mediafire.com/?zznmltwxzwm

Friday, 20 November 2009

Trinitarian Church Dynamics

From "The Other Six Days - Paul Stevens"

A fully trinitarian approach is needed, since the identity and ministry of the laos are shaped by the God whose people we are. God has called out “a laos for himself” (Acts 15:14) or as the King James Version puts it, “a people for his name.” If the identity of the laos comes from the Trinity, the vocation of the laos also comes from the triune God. In this way both the being and the doing, both the identity and the vocation, of the laos will be considered.

Trinitarian Ministry

The ministry of the laos is not generated exclusively by the people, whether from duty or gratitude. All ministry is God’s ministry. God’s ministry continues through his people. This ministry begins not when we join the church to help do God’s work but when we join God (John 1:12) and have “fellowship . . . with the Father and with his Son” (1 John 1:3). Laos ministry is participation in the ingoing ministry of God (Father, Son and Spirit) and simultaneously participation in the outgoing (sending) ministry of God. “As you sent me into the world,” said Jesus, “I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18). On the first (the ingoing), God is “lover, the beloved and the love itself,” as J├╝rgen Moltmann puts it (p. 32). On the second, God is sender, sent and the sending.

_____________________

To this rich understanding of peoplehood and ministry each of the three persons of the Godhead contributes. The Father creates, providentially sustains and forms a covenantal framework for all existence. The Son incarnates, transfigures and redeems. The Spirit empowers and fills with God’s own presence. But each shares-coinheres interpenetrates, cooperates-in the others so that it is theologically inappropriate to stereotype the ministry of any one. But that is exactly what happens.

Christians tend to “play favorites” when it comes to describing peoplehood and ministry. For order, providence and sustaining the structures of society we appeal to the Father. The Son is associated with redemption and winning the lost. The Holy Spirit is the focus of those seeking renewal, empowering charisms and direct religious experience. Churches and denominations tend to form around one of the three: Father denominations emphasize reverent worship and stewardship. Son denominations stress discipleship and evangelism, thus furthering the work of the kingdom of God. Spirit denominations promote spiritual gifts and graces.

A rich and full doctrine of the Trinity avoids such stereotyping. God is more than the sum of the Three. God is not God apart from the way the Father, Son and Holy Spirit give and receive from each other what they essentially are. “One God”-the primary confession of Islam-is ironically the Christian’s deepest praise. We affirm that God is more One because God is Three. The laos too does not have a “mashed potato” unity, as is sometimes alleged, but a rich social unity in which each member becomes more himself or herself through experiencing an out-of-oneself (ek-static) community life. Unity is not the means to the end-a practical necessity to get the church’s work done. Unity is the end, the goal, the ministry itself (John 17:22; Ephes. 1:10; Ephes. 4:13). To be laos then is not merely to be a bouquet of Christians or a cluster of saints. To be laos means to be simultaneously communal and personal. In the long history of trinitarian reflection, this supreme idea of the personal and interpersonal within God forms the true basis for the identity and vocation of the God-imaging people.

Implications for Laypeople

The implications of this for peoplehood are substantial. Being laos means that members of Christ coinhere, interanimate and pour life into one another without coalescence or merger. The Greek church fathers spoke of this as pericho4re4sis, mutual indwelling within God as a model for mutuality in the people of God. It means belonging communally without being communistic or being a collective. Moreover, and pertinent to the clergy-lay dilemma, being a perichoretic people means being a community without hierarchy. The community of Father, Son and Spirit finds its earthly reflection “not in the autocracy of a single ruler but in the democratic community of free people, not in the lordship of man over the woman but in their equal mutuality, not in an ecclesiastical hierarchy but in a fellowship church” (Moltmann, p. viii). Such a community can have leadership and diversity without hierarchy; it can be a community without superiors and subordinates; it can be a church without laity or clergy-in the usual sense of these terms. Three conclusions may be drawn from this.

First, there is no such thing as an individual layperson. If, as I have proposed above, we live out the Christian life interdependently, the individual Christian is an oxymoron. Consistent with the Old Testament, the saints in Paul’s letters are really a unit. The saints are the church, which is the body of Christ. Believers are held together in what can be conceived as a corporate, inclusive personality. It is biblically inconceivable for a person to be a believer in Christ and not be a member of this community. John Wesley once observed that the Bible knows nothing of solitary religion. The believer’s identity is corporate as well as individual. In Christ we can say, “I am us!” Whereas the basic unit of the church is the individual member, for Paul the basic uniqueness of the individual arises from his or her membership in the church.

Second, there is no hierarchy of ministries. In his seminal work on the theology of the laity Hendrik Kraemer says, “All members of the ecclesia have in principle the same calling, responsibility and dignity, have their part in the apostolic and ministerial nature and calling of the church” (p. 160). Incarnating our loving submission to Christ’s lordship in every arena of life precludes saying that certain tasks are in themselves holy and others are sacred. Laos theology is concerned not only about the work of the ministry but also about the ministry of work. William Tyndale, the English Reformer, was considered heretical and executed for teaching, among other things, that “there is no work better than another to please God; to pour water, to wash dishes, to be a souter [cobbler], or an apostle, all are one, as touching the deed, to please God” (p. 98).

Third, supported Christian ministry is not the vocation of vocations but merely one way of responding to the single call that comes to all (Ephes. 4:1). Most expositions about ministry are magnetically attracted to the supreme place of the ordained professional as the minister-par-excellence. It is small wonder that laypersons aspiring to ministry attempt to become amateur clergypersons or paraclergy. There is some reason for this. Work in the church is strategic because the church is the prototype community and the outcropping of the kingdom of God, but work in the church is important only in view of what its members will be and do in society. Church leadership must be evaluated not in terms of its priestly character but by whether the saints are equipped for the work of the ministry seven days a week (Ephes. 4:11-12).

Passing through the fire

It was just pointed out to me that:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3:10

Does not give the image of total destruction
but rather of the entire universe passing through a refinery furnace

i.e. some things will be destroyed (the dross) - others will be refined

so assuming this will all happen like Christ on the cross,

His body, now riddled with sin
is passed through the fires of His Father's judgment
what is left however is a spiritual body - fully seen in Rev 1
the difference is that every part of Him is a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor 15)
as opposed to an animated piece of meat

So then... here's a question

Is it that something that was created in the first run - remains after passing through the fire?

Or is it that it is really something brand new?

Or is it something totally different all together
I have a feeling the phrase 'swallowed up' has something to do with it

(this topic is now brought up a lot by current theologians in a big way because of all this 'creation preservation' stuff)

Any takers?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Cat Class - the Church

Last session I did for the membership class
this one is on the Church

http://www.mediafire.com/?hly5zjcod5m

next week we get to talk about Bible-Presbyterian distinctives
lol... the joy...

Monday, 9 November 2009

How to build an ideal family for eternity

Strange question?

Think about it..

One of the Father's goals
to build a family with many children

problem - if I have more children... they will fight amongst each other
they will prove which one is better
they will try to earn my love by works
(or rather - try to 'buy my love')

solution..
do something that will nullify their works
then they will see that they are all equal
no son better than another

It is by grace you have been saved and this through faith, and this not of your own doing - it is the gift of God. Not through works IN CASE any man should boast
Eph 2:8-9

Method:
Ask Firstborn Son to do all the work

Condition:
Firstborn Son must not be proud either - otherwise He too will exalt Himself
then all will have inferiority complex

Solution:
Make Test for firstborn son - to prove to others He is not proud
In fact - show that He is the most humble of all men
That He will go 'lower' than anyone

Result:
One big happy family - for all eternity
Everyone the Same...

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Grace first, Grace Last

The gospel timeline is like this in Scripture
(especially reading Romans & Galatians)


-----Gospel-----|--Gospel+Law--|----Gospel------
------------------|-------------------|-------------------

So in the church it should be this:

-----Grace------|---Grace+Law---|-----Grace-------
------------------|-------------------|-------------------

Why then is law added?
"Because of sins"

When then is the law used?
1 Timothy 1:8-11 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.


Thus it is NOT - preach the law to convict of sin, then preach Grace
NO - PREACH GRACE, then preach the law to the disobedient if they are still unrepentant, then preach grace again!

The Glory of The Cross

A Line from the hymn "Alas! Did my Saviour Bleed"

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his (the sun) glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.