Radical Reconciliation: Post at Wineskins

Baptism (1)I’ve written a post just up at Wineskins called “We Are Much More Saved,” discussing how certain our salvation post-baptism really is.

A sequel will appear shortly.

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The Future of the Churches of Christ: Direct Hit, Part 5 (Developing Resources; Bringing in a Consultant)

Book—Borden,-Direct-HitWe’re studying through Paul D. Borden’s Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field.

Developing Resources

The pastor must develop three teams to help him as change agent —

1. A prayer team to bathe the process in continuous prayer.

The pastor communicates regularly what Team One is learning about urgency and vision in order to provide information for prayers. At times the pastors may want to take the team on prayer walks or drives through the community to help them gain vision and see urgency for their prayers. The pastor constantly communicates to this team “big picture” ideas that relate to urgency, vision, mission, change, the community, and the purpose of the congregation (making more disciples for Jesus Christ).

(Kindle Locations 1065-1069). Continue reading

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The Future of the Churches of Christ: Direct Hit, Part 4 (Urgency)

Book—Borden,-Direct-HitWe’re studying through Paul D. Borden’s Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field.

Urgency

The missional vision of the church must be seen as urgent, or else the church will always find a different priority to pursue. And the need must be seen in terms of danger of damnation of our neighbors. It can’t be about our desire to grow and have a bigger church. It has to be about eternal fate of those outside the church.

And this requires a kind of preaching that many have become uncomfortable with. We’d far rather hear about how happy God is to forgive than the eternal fate of those without faith in Jesus. Continue reading

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The Future of the Churches of Christ: Direct Hit, Part 3 (Wisdom, Exegeting the Community)

Book—Borden,-Direct-HitWe’re studying through Paul D. Borden’s Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field.

Wisdom

Wise leaders guide but do not overrun sheep. They never ask more of their sheep than they are willing to do as leaders. However, they are also honest with those sheep that do not want to be missional. Such sheep are given the opportunity to participate in the core mandate (making disciples), but if they do not want to participate, they are not given voice or authority in how the mission will be accomplished.

(Kindle Locations 584-587).

We don’t need to run off those who don’t wish to participate in the church’s vision, but neither should we empower them to stand in the way. Continue reading

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The Future of the Churches of Christ: Direct Hit, Part 2 (Communications, Courage)

Book—Borden,-Direct-HitWe’re studying through Paul D. Borden’s Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field.

Communications

Borden recognizes how very important communications are to church change and growth. He sounds a little extreme, but I think he’s exactly right.

Every spoken word, every phone call, every e-mail, every verbal interaction (formal or informal) with people in the congregation reflects an overall communication strategy for change. If we lead change only through formal presentations or meetings, then we have unclear thinking about the nature of the task. Every venue, every day—no matter how seemingly insignificant—ought to be a specific tactic in our overall communication strategy. Leaders cannot afford to have throw away conversations. The skill is not found only in the words. The quality is found in the intonation, the body language, the eye contact, and more, when helping people see we are excited about a new vision.

(Kindle Locations 319-323). Continue reading

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Jesus and Paul on the Hermeneutics of Sexuality: Robert Gagnon

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The Future of the Churches of Christ: Direct Hit, Part 1 (Leadership, Barriers)

Book—Borden,-Direct-HitI’ve stumbled across a book by Paul D. Borden, Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field. Paul led the American Baptist Churches in the northwestern US to be revitalized and to grow.

Now, the American Baptists are considered mainline churches, in contrast to the Southern Baptists, who are generally thought of as evangelical. Moreover, the Southern Baptists have congregational autonomy, whereas the American Baptists are subject to the control of regional and national offices.

So you’d think that Southern Baptists would be doing better — but in the northwestern US — a notoriously difficult place for church plants and missions — it’s the other way around. What happened? Continue reading

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Jesus and Paul on the Hermeneutics of Sexuality: N. T. Wright weighs in

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Jesus and Paul on the Hermeneutics of Sexuality: Richard Beck, Part 5 (A Mock Debate)

the-bible-and-sexuality-blog-heading (1)Richard describes a mock debate put on during chapel at ACU. The idea is that you have two rostrums and two microphones, and the speaker is asked to argue both sides of a controversial issue — one side from one microphone and the other from the other mic. Excellent!

This sounds like law school training. I mean, you can’t fairly take on someone else’s argument if you don’t understand it well enough to argue the other side’s case. (And this is why I read Behold the Pattern multiple times before writing my books and posting here. I believe it essential to understand your opponent’s position as well as — if not better than — he.)

So Beck made two arguments, one on each side of the homosexual marriage issue. Here they are. Continue reading

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Jesus and Paul on the Hermeneutics of Sexuality: Richard Beck, Part 4 (Rowan Williams, again)

the-bible-and-sexuality-blog-heading (1)We’re taking up Richard Beck’s blog post Sexuality and the Christian Body, Part 2: Grace and Election.

A second major theme in Eugene Rogers’ book Sexuality and the Christian Body is his interaction with and elaboration upon Rowan Williams’ essay The Body’s Grace. If you’ve not read The Body’s Grace many consider it to be the most significant theological treatment of human sexuality in the 20th Century. You can decide that for yourself. Regardless, agree or not, The Body’s Grace is considered required reading for theology students taking up the subject of human sexuality.

We, of course, considered Williams’ essay earlier, and I’ll not repeat my criticisms of it here. Rather, I mourn the fact that this is considered “theology” at all, much less required reading for students of the Bible. Continue reading

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