On Break

pausebreakI’m taking a week or two off. Need a break.

In the meantime, you might spend some time over at Wineskins.

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Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 1

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

So I’ve been trying to think through all this. What does it mean on the ground. What would things be like if we took Scot’s advice seriously?

The part of the book that strikes me as most clearly true — and that really struck me — is the idea that the point of Christianity is not to fix the world but to draw those in the world into the church. To repair the brokenness from which all humans suffer, we have to be part of a community shaped like a cross, filled with the Spirit, and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. This is grace. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 12:4-12 (“the body is one”)

spiritual giftsPaul gets into the meat of his argument in a classic Trinitarian passage —

(1Co 12:4-6 ESV) Now there are varieties of gifts,
but the same Spirit;  

5 and there are varieties of service,
but the same Lord;  

6 and there are varieties of activities,
but it is the same God

who empowers them all in everyone. 

The Spirit gives gifts. The Lord Jesus produces “service.” God empowers them all.

διακονία [diakonia], “service,” is essentially a profane concept. The word must be allowed to keep the general character of its significance. The essential point is precisely that everyday acts of service are now set on a par with the recognized, supernatural phenomena of the Spirit.

Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians: A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Hermeneia 67; ed. George W. MacRae; trans. James W. Leitch; Accordance electronic ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1975), 208. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (speaking in the Spirit of God)

spiritual giftsIn chapter 12, Paul continues to discuss the assembly — a subject that continues to the end of chapter 14. However, the focus now shifts from the Lord’s Supper to the exercise of spiritual gifts.

(1Co 12:1 ESV) Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.

Paul lays out his purpose clearly enough. He wants the congregation to know about spiritual gifts. Surely, the same is true today: that our churches should not be uninformed about spiritual gifts. Of course, we sometimes run from the topic because so many controversial questions arise when we discuss it. Continue reading

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Putting It All Together

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

This is going to be an unusually long post. I decided not to break it into pieces — and so I’ll skip the next day or two to give the readers time to read, reflect, comment, and discuss.

There is much more in the book that I will not cover. But I’ve covered what I consider the core theses.

So what is the problem that Scot wishes to solve? What’s the point of the book? Well, from my own perspective, I see it like this —

1. Among our younger ministers and members, I have noticed a definite tendency to emphasize good works — what we used to call “benevolence” — at the expense of evangelism. Teen ministers haul their kids halfway around the globe to paint houses and plant gardens, but spend not a single minute teaching their kids how to be evangelistic. Continue reading

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Kingdom Redemption

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

We skip a bit ahead, so we can talk about —

First, kingdom mission admits the primacy of evangelism but sees the locus of the social dimension to be first and foremost in the church as a witness to the world.

(p. 153). Now, many will not like this conclusion because it’s so, you know, obvious. No one gets published or honored for stating the obvious. And very nearly every pewsitter has this figured out already. It’s the intellectuals who sniff at mere evangelism and want to push another agenda first. Continue reading

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Progressive Church of Christ Blogs and Groups

I just purged this list of blogs and discussion groups. I deleted a dozen or so entries because the address is no longer active or the blog hasn’t had activity in a very long time — two or three years. Where an old blog address gave a new address for the blog, I made the correction.

If I deleted your blog or discussion group in error, please let me know and I’ll correct. If your blog or discussion group has changed addresses, please let me know and I’ll happily re-list you.

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Defining “Mission” in Kingdom Terms, Part 3

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

Seventh, kingdom mission as church mission means the kingdom citizen is compelled by love to “good deeds” or “doing good” in the public sector.

(p. 111).

To disconnect the biblical idea of kingdom from social activism and to claim that the location of God’s work in this world is not the state but the church does not entail withdrawal. It is, to use the words of someone else, “leaving without departing.” But the church is the church, and the world is the world. Distinguishing the two, even radically separating them, however, does not mean withdrawal. Instead, when the church is the church it is fully engaged in loving everyone as neighbors. As such, the church becomes the most lovingly, compassionately, justly, peacefully engaged segment in all the world.

(p. 111). And so, Scot argues, the good works we do must be good works from within the church — meaning local congregations. And this means, I’m sure, that our congregations need to change and change quite a lot. Continue reading

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Defining “Mission” in Kingdom Terms, Part 2

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

Fourth, kingdom mission as church mission means forming and indwelling a local church fellowship. The most political thing you and I as followers of Jesus can do, the most political thing we as kingdom citizens can do, the most political thing we as the church of King Jesus can do is to gather together in order to do things the church is called to do.

(p. 104). Scot now sounds very neo-Anabaptist, that is, like Stanley Hauerwas and John Howard Yoder. But there is more here than neo-Anabaptist theology. Continue reading

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Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Defining “Mission” in Kingdom Terms, Part 1

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

In chapter 7, Scot lays out 9 observations for the nature of the local church in terms of the kingdom of heaven.

First, kingdom mission means the local church is first and foremost a dwelling place for God. …

If the ultimate mission of God is to dwell among the people of God, then kingdom mission is to be the dwelling place of God in this world. Kingdom mission is about being the presence of God in this world.

(p. 100). Now, this should sound familiar to those who’ve read some of the earlier posts on John Walton’s Genesis 1 as Temple Text in the Context of Ancient Cosmology, such as this one from the Creation 2.0 series. Walton argues that Genesis 1 describes the dedication of the cosmos as a temple for God, a temple in which humanity serves as the images of God and in which God rests. Continue reading

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