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Church

Improving the gospel?

Why did God send his Son into the world?  This basic question is controversial…again.

There is a movement within broader Conservative Evangelicalism in South Africa to be critical of the gospel “Eternal Salvation” that Conservative Evangelicalism has always cherished. This movement seeks to redefine the gospel to include a physical/political/ temporal liberation of the oppressed.

Conservative Evangelicalism is accused of misunderstanding the Great Commission or being overly committed to the Great Commission to the neglect of the Bible’s other imperatives.  The result being a disproportionate concern with the spiritual dimension of the gospel to the detriment of the real, present concerns of people, especially racism and unjust structures.

Proponents of this “improved” and “contextual” understanding of the gospel accuse Conservative Evangelicalism (and REACH-SA) of having an under-realized eschatology and therefore an insufficient understanding of the nature of the gospel as it relates to the this-worldly expectations of the Kingdom of God.

Proponents of this improved gospel or, at least, improved understanding of the gospel assert that Conservative Evangelicalism’s inadequate or narrow understanding of the Great Commission has led to inadequate social engagement and the inadvertent support of unjust structures, including Apartheid.  

Before we think about social engagement, we must first ask the question: does the gospel include a physical/ political/ temporal liberation for the powerless, the marginalized and the poor? 

Are we not simply seeing the re-packaging of Liberation Theology?

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Church

Women in ministry

How can we appropriately recognize women in ministry?

In most churches, including ours, women play a vital role in all kinds of ministries. We also have women in our staff team. How should we as a denomination (and a local church) appropriately recognize and acknowledge women in ministry, especially those leading ministries and in full-time ministry?

One suggestion is that we should set apart women in these ministries as deacons or deaconesses i.e. give women an officially recognized title, like their male counterparts.

There is of course debate as to whether or not women can hold the office of deacon or not.  Here is why I think women can:

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Church

What is the mission of the church (part 2)

In the previous installment, I argued that Jesus has tasked his church to take the verbal message of repentance and forgiveness of sins to the nations.

The central mission of the church, therefore, is to take God’s Word to God’s world.

The church’s chief task is to bear witness to Jesus, so that people may be saved from hell for heaven forever by repenting and believing the gospel.

We see this priority throughout the New Testament.

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Christian Worldview Church

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.

Categories
Church

The 3 big threats to the church

The church is every age faces great threats or challenges: external and internal**.  Not surprisingly, the challenges have not changed over the years.  Luke outlines these threats in his book in the Bible that describes the birth and growth of the early church – the book of Acts.