Prophecies were made to be broken. Why restoration might be the last word.


The most horrific of all Christian doctrines is the doctrine of the eternal judgement, the declaration that vast numbers of humankind will experience eternal punishment at the hands of their Creator. In its most extreme form it imagines a house of horrors in which people experience excruciating torments that never end and for which there is no hope of an end. In its milder forms it imagines those...

A Jesus I Can Follow #2. Echo of a New World


If you’re prone to bad dreams or have a penchant for horror movies, then you’ll relate to the Old Testament book of Daniel. It’s full of terrifying dreams, but rather than waking up at the climactic moment of terror, the dreams continue until they find a hopeful resolution. One of them in particular seems important for how Jesus framed his mission. The dream pictures four...

A Jesus I Can Follow


The last decade or so I have really enjoyed reading the works of “Jesus scholars”. They are part of a movement often described as “the quest for the historical Jesus.” The quest starts with the assumption that the Jesus pictured by the biblical writers and church tradition is quite different to the Jesus who walked the earth. So they try to peel away the layers of...

A Non-Violent Atonement


In an earlier post I challenged the notion that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. Since then, people who read the post have asked me what is an alternate understanding of how God puts us right with himself and how do Jesus death and resurrection figure into that. The best answer I have come across is in J Denny Weaver’s A Non-Violent Atonement, which I am currently half way...

When Mandela was a Terrorist and Justice Had Nothing to Do with Jesus. How I Came to See Jesus as a Champion of Justice. Jesus and Justice #1


When I was growing up Nelson Mandela was seen by many in my faith community as a terrorist who belonged in prison, the election of the Hawke government was declared by a key figure in my church to be God’s judgement on the nation, and justice had very little to do with Jesus. The Jesus I knew was the Son of God incarnated as a human being who came to earth to pay the penalty for my sins so...

Review: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time


What do you do when you can no longer give yourself to the Jesus of your childhood? That’s the question Marcus Borg, Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State Univerity poses in this short book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Borg was raised in an evangelical Lutheran church where he learned that Jesus was the divine Son of God who took human form to die on a...

How to Ensure Financial Success Doesn’t Turn Into Spiritual Failure


I recently listened to a talk by American businessman Alan Barnhardt in which he described his determination that his financial success not turn into spiritual failure. He had poured over the teachings of Jesus during his college years and saw that wealth was described as a spiritual health hazard. When he took over a modest family business his solution was to set an income cap and give away...

Why I Am Still a Follower of Jesus


Last year my eldest brother gave a speech at my father’s funeral. My other siblings and I had rhapsodised about Dad’s virtues. But my elder brother talked about Dad’s imperfections. He recognised that Dad was flawed like the rest of us. But the thing that impressed him about Dad was Dad’s determination to be a better man. ┬áHe was a good man, but he wanted to be more than a...

Which Jesus?


As I survey the Australian church it seems to me there are three portraits of Jesus commonly found. I call them the forgiving Jesus, the empowering Jesus, and the just Jesus. These portraits shape our values, our mission, our ethics, our piety, our worship and our engagement with the world around us. So the portraits matter. My contention is that when we tend toward one or the other of the three...


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