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

Advertisements

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

Complementarianism – a family perspective

For most of my adult life, one of the most potentially contentious conversations in church life has been the question of men and women in church leadership.  Women have been allowed to preach in the Methodist Church and some other denominations for a long time, they have also served as ministers/pastors in those contexts.  However, it was only in the 1990s that the Church of England allowed women to be ordained into the clergy and very recently indeed that the bar was lifted on women bishops.

Generally speaking the view within independent evangelicalism has remained that eldership and public teaching roles should be restricted to men, though some churches have started to include female elders.  A lot more churches would include female deacons but there are still some who see this role as male only. Continue reading

A gift to the church – more on church leaders

Last Sunday I preached about the role of leaders in the church and I focused on Ephesians 4:11 which says:

“ Now, these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”

We saw that Continue reading

Why do some churches baptise babies?

In my article about children and baptism I commented that:

“… a few years back, there was a big fuss about something called “The Federal Vision.” It was strong among some Presbyterians and Anglicans. It was an attempt to recover a high view of baptism for paedo-baptist evangelicals. They wanted to say that baptism for babies was more than just getting the baby wet and more than a naming ceremony.”[1]

One respondent on twitter wanted to point out that the choice for paedo-baptist evangelicals was not a binary one between the Federal Vision position and the confused “wet dedication” position. He was right of course, there is a long tradition going back to the Reformers of what he called a “strong” view of baptism. The point I was making in that statement was not that other views/approaches didn’t exist (note the use of the word ‘recover’) but rather that the Federal Visionist debate arose partly out of a concern that paedo-baptists had lost their way a little. Certainly, my experience up until about 10 years ago was that Anglican Evangelicals I encountered were generally uncertain about why they baptised babies – on the back foot as it were.  Since then we have seen a more robust defence of the position among paedo-baptists -even a more, front foot, on the attack seeking to challenge the baptistic” position.   Continue reading