CategoryFaith

Justice That Heals

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There have been a number of ah-ha moments in my life, times at which I have seen myself and my world in a new light. One of those was to discover the place of justice in the Christian life. Echoing the prophet Micah, Jesus identified justice, mercy and faithfulness as the three central dimensions of godliness. Mercy and faithfulness had been ideological staples of my childhood faith, however...

Will Heaven Be Boring?

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I have a confession to make. I sometimes wonder whether heaven will be boring. Not a good thing if it lasts forever! I’ve made a couple of posts previously about “heaven” (here and here). In this post I aim to make a biblical case for why “heaven” will be eternally stupendous. In his wonderful book Surprised by Hope NT Wright points out that few Christians today have...

Sin as Brokenness

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I am reading Derek Flood’s Healing the Gospel and have been riveted by his discussion of sin. He suggests that for too long Christians have held a forensic understanding of sin  when what we need is a medical model. The forensic model sees us as sinners deserving of punishment and focuses on Jesus as the One who rescues us from the penalty of sin, where the medical model sees us as sinners...

Miranda Kerr and Bangladeshi Worker Deaths

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Reported in the news this week was the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh, killing at least 273 workers. Staff had been reluctant to enter the building after large cracks appeared in the walls, but were assured the building was safe and threatened with docking of their meagre pay should they refuse. Bangladesh seems a world away, but it’s a lot closer than we rhink. One of the...

Are They Few Who Will Be Saved? On the Nature of Judgement

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In a recent post I asked the question “Is the doctrine of hell defensible?” and highlighted conditional immortality and universalism as two alternatives to the notion that those who die without faith in Christ will be subject to an eternity of torment. So here’s my stab at evaluating these. The framing of any doctrine of judgement must be the biblical storyline of creation...

Is the Doctrine of Hell Blasphemous?

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When I was at theological college I was subjected to the necessary but torturous experience of learning New Testament Greek. The text we used was written by a scholar named John Wenham. A conservative Evangelical, Wenham wrote a highly influential defence of the Bible’s inspiration, among other things. Yet he also doubted the reality of hell. In his autobiography he wrote I believe that...

Enough of God Doing Extraordinary Things. My God Works in Very Ordinary Ways

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When I was pastoring I would regularly receive Christian junk mail inviting me to this conference or that event where God was going to do something “awesome”, “extraordinary” or “new”. This conference or event would be a gamechanger that would see my church and I enter a new phase in which mindblowing things would happen. I longed to receive a flyer that...

Which Churches Are Putting Bums on Seats?

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Look at the census data and you’ll believe the Catholic, Anglican, Uniting and Presbyterian churches are the largest in Australia. Lots of people identify with these churches. Look at popular thinking and you might believe that the Pentecostal juggernaut is sweeping all before it. But when it comes to bums on seats where do people go. The Christian Research Association has analysed the...

An Arc in the Sand. Reflecting on Easter Traditions #1

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If there is a universal symbol of Christianity today it is undoubtedly the cross. But in the first three hundred years of the church it was the fish. The fish symbol was particularly significant during outbreaks of persecution. Because it had been used by pagans it aroused little suspicion. Christians would mark the symbol on meeting places to indicate their presence and on tombs to mark the...

Why I’ve Signed Up to Micah Challenge’s Finish the Race Campaign

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It’s official. There are now more overweight people in the world than undernourished. According to the World Health Organisation, in 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. I am one of them. Ok, I prefer to think of it as pleasantly plump, but however I describe it, I find it disturbing that in a world with such plenty 868 million people don’t have enough to...