Rethinking church and mission – What is the local church’s role?

Stephen Kneale kicked off some thinking about the local church and mission with few blog posts recently.[1]

Eddie Arthur has followed up with a post looking at what Mission Agencies can and in his experience do contribute.[2]

The fascinating thing is that in the follow on conversation there hasn’t really been much disagreement from the following propositions. Continue reading

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Is Evolution about chance? (Part 2)

It was a chance meeting.  I just happened to be walking back up Rochester High Street and Crow Lane when our eyes met. By chance, she happened to be trying to visit our church’s bookshop and had just missed closing time. By chance, the lady cashing up saw us talking on the street outside and by chance she just happened to know Sarah’s friend.  They got talking and decided to match make. The rest is history. Continue reading

Is Evolution about chance? (Part 1)

When ordinary lay-people (as in non-scientific specialists and particularly non-evolutionary-science specialists) like you and me talk about evolution, we are likely to talk about chance.  So, when I first wrote about creation, I named one of the lies that we believe about Creation/the Universe as that: Continue reading

Creation, Mission and Worship

Because we live in a good world which a good and purposeful God has made, this helps us to understand a little bit more about why we are here and what God has made us for.

The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession of Faith asks the question

“What is the Chief end of Man?” and the correct response is “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

This answer is rooted in the story of Creation. If God is purposeful, then we have a purpose too and our purpose relates to him. Continue reading

Should we listen to/use Bethel music in worship?

Here’s a little follow up to my article on Bethel.  One of our young men asked me a couple of weeks ago about Bethel and music. You see, one of the reasons they have a high profile is because of the music they’ve produced.  They wanted to know if it was okay to buy, listen to, use the music in worship. Continue reading

How we relate to leaders

We’ve taken time in recent posts to show that leadership is not about hierarchy, inner circles, power or control. Leaders are not to Lord it over the church, nor to rely on their position or charisma to push things through. Church leadership should not be authoritarian.  Leaders and teachers are gifts to the church and so we should focus on being gifts rather than on status and titles (cf Ephesians 4:11). Continue reading

Momentum: What do Eric and Bill Johnson (Bethel) teach?

In previous articles I’ve talked about the challenges of interacting with specific people when we disagree. There is the risk that we personalise things that should not be personalised and that we also use famous names, to provide a theological kind of click-bait.

At the same time, elders have a responsibility to guard as well as to feed and so, no matter how reluctantly and cautiously, there are times when we need to step into the fray and to name names.  The challenge is that there are so many novel ideas and big personalities around that we cannot keep up with anything and everything.

With those things in mind, I decided to pick up a book by Eric and Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding California. I picked it up because it was being promoted, on prominent display in our local Christian Bookshop. Also, I’ve been aware of the fuss surrounding Bethel for a little while. There’s two sides to this. First of all, Bethel is extremely popular both in terms of its reputation as a “revival centre” and in the music that is coming out of it.  Secondly, a number of people have questioned the theology underpinning the church and whether or not its orthodox.  Of course, Christian leaders are there to be shot down, especially when amazing things are happening around them, so it is possible that they are being misunderstood or misrepresented. However, the popularity and prominence of Bethel means that this is something relevant to the life of our local church. It is important that our members are able to discern truth from error. Continue reading