For Better, for Worse

This past weekend I had the privilege of officiating at a wedding in a township church in South Africa.  The marriage ceremony took place as an addition to the Sunday morning service.

The vibrancy of the singing was contagious and the warmth of hospitality humbling.

In African culture there is no such thing as RSVP!  If you attend the wedding – and all are welcome – you join the feast afterwards. And there’s always enough food.

I reminded the wedding couple, and the church, that the Bible has a lot to say about marriage.

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What are the greater works Jesus promised we would do?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

Notice that Jesus’ promise applies to all Christians.  Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me.”

This promise is not just for the apostles, or missionaries, or pastors.

Whatever Jesus was referring to is normal Christianity.

Obviously, this becomes ludicrous if we think, like some people do, that Jesus promised that Christians would do the same, and even greater, miracles than him.

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Why the Prosperity Gospel is so poisonous

I’m sure you’ve heard the following:

“You are a King’s Kid as a Christian, you are royalty!  You shouldn’t settle for second best!”

 “God favour should overflow into your life as you walk in God’s anointing and enjoy health and financial prosperity!”

 “God hates poverty and illness, you should claim your victory!”

 “If you’re not walking in full victory of sin, illness and financial difficulty, you either lack faith or have unconfessed sin. Jesus came to give us abundant life!”

This is the Prosperity Gospel.  

The Prosperity Gospel (PG) is called so because it teaches that God desires all his people to be prosperous.  Physically prosperous.  Healthy and wealthy.

To put it simply, the PG is the belief that God grants health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith.

The PG movement (according to Kate Bowler1, an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke University) has its roots in the late 1800’s in American tradition of New Thought.  That is, that positive thoughts yield positive circumstances; and negative thoughts, negative circumstances.

The American New Thought movement took a Christian slant with a Pastor named EW Kenyon, who ministered in the US in the early 1900’s.

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The Rock and the gates of death

Matthew 16:15-18 is a very misunderstood passage in the Bible.

The Roman Catholic Church believes that the Rock on which Jesus builds his church was the Apostle Peter, who allegedly was the first Pope or Bishop of Rome.  Subsequently, all the Popes have been the spiritual descendants of Peter.

The true church is, therefore, all those who acknowledge the headship of the Pope and belong to the Roman Catholic structure.

In Roman Catholic doctrine, God’s grace flows from God through the Pope, through the Cardinals, through the Bishops, through the Priests, and then to the congregation via the sacraments.

To be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church is to endanger your immortal soul.

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The (unintentional) battle royal

A few days ago, I posted what I thought was an innocent status update on Facebook.  The update has created more heat and debate than all my other Facebook posts together.  I was even accused of racism.

I thought I should try to clarify my comments.

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WWJD is probably the wrong question to ask

You may remember the WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do”) bracelet phase.  The bracelets were a very well-intentioned movement to get Christians to think about their actions and responses.  How would Jesus react in any given situation?

Would Jesus get angry? Would Jesus be generous? Would Jesus pray for the sick?

Great questions to ask.

However, I think those bracelets got it a little wrong.

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The titanic struggle for church planting

I was greatly challenged at our Gospel DNA National Ministry Conference with Richard Coekin.

Richard emphasised many things, but mostly the need for church planting and church rejuvenation.

Richard compared the lack of church planting to the tragedy surrounding the Titanic’s sinking.

The luxury steamship RMS Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic after sideswiping an iceberg during its maiden voyage. Of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board, more than 1,500 lost their lives in the disaster.

Several factors made the tragedy so much worse than it could have been.

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